We left Mek’ele at about 8:00 in the morning. As we were driving through town, we saw a herd of camel crossing the street. It is very possible that they had just carried a load of salt to Mek’ele.
The total drive to Lalibela was about 290 km. I was able to take a few photos through the car window.
First we saw cattle with large horns. After I took the photo, I noticed the factory in the background.
A man who was selling a chicken was waving it at us. Perhaps he wanted us to buy it.
The streets were lined with cattle today and we passed several groups. Ayu did a fantastic job of maneuvering our Land Cruiser both around and through the middle of them.
We again enjoyed seeing the rock formations in the distance …
…and a couple of houses along the side of the road.
We were going to be leaving the Tigray region today and and driving back to the Amhara region through the Woldia Mountain. We noticed that the houses we are seeing are again made out of wood.
Very shortly the hills became much less rocky and were covered in some kind of green foliage.
Then it looked like a camel convention. These are just a few of the many camel along the road.
This woman was dressed very colorfully.
I took more random shots along the road.
We noticed that this camel was sitting down with his/her legs bent at the knee. Somehow this does not look comfortable.
Soon we were passing small herds of animals. Ayu told us that they were all being taken to the Saturday market and that not only will this market was very big because it was just before Christmas (January 7th in Ethiopia) but it was also an animal market.
I asked Ayu if we could go to the animal market. He turned the jeep around and kept asking people which street to take to get there. There were more Bajajs being driven around this small town than I had ever seen before. There must have been a hundred of them.
After driving down several streets, Ayu found the market. We had an absolute blast walking around right in the middle of all the cattle, sheep, etc. I think we were in the town of Alamata.
Some people were selling piles of branches.
I loved taking photos of the people …
… and they all seemed to enjoy having their photo taken.
I showed the photos that I took to each person or group of people. The boys really loved it. Sue took a photo of me showing the photos to a few of the men.
I saw one man carrying a rifle over his shoulder.
It was not easy maneuvering our bodies between the animals. At one point a large cow pushed right through where Jane I were standing and I spontaneously grabbed onto Jane’s hand as it bumped into me.
On man had a large log on a wagon.
A woman was carrying her baby on her back.
We sure enjoyed being at the market in the middle of everything, but we had to get going because we had a long drive ahead of us so back into the Land Cruiser.
Seeing the bajaj following this truck caught our eyes.
There were so many cattle blocking the road as we were driving.
Ayu said all of the cattle would be eaten at the Christmas celebration. It was really hard to believe how many cattle and sheep were going to be eaten in one day. They eat every part of the animals and often eat the meat raw. Ethiopians only eat meat on the holidays (Christmas, New Years, etc.). Families and communities eat together sharing the food. I learned that Ethiopian Christians actually fast for part of the day on 265 days if the year,. When they do eat on those days, they cannot eat any meat products. So basically they have a vegan diet except for the special feasts. Ayu was fasting.
We stopped for lunch. The waiter suggested goat-meat for lunch. The goat had just been slaughtered the previous day. It was pretty good but not the most tender meat we had ever eaten.
Ayu stopped to try to buy honey for us but they only had quart jars and we didn’t want that much.
This man is selling home-brewed beer. The orange cup in front of his house indicates that he has beer available.
The last part of the day was over 40 km on an extremely rough road. I don’t know how Ayu did it. We saw vehicles along the road that had been in accidents and some that were stuck waiting for a mechanic to come help fix the problem. It took several hours before we arrived in Lalibela. The whole drive took 9 hours except for our lunch break.
We checked into the Roha Hotel. I took a short walk before dinner. There were several shops along the road.. One is called the Obama shop and the another has Opera’s name on it.
The Roha Hotel is the first place that we are finding to be a bit disappointing. They do not put bottled water in our rooms. The reception people were not the friendliest.. We had been looking so forward to 3 nights in the same place and were disappointed that we were not in the Mountain View Hotel where Habtu tried to get reservations.. But the beds were firm (actually very, very firm) and the showers worked so we were fine. Somebody told me the Roha used to be a government run hotel. It was an interesting driving day.