We started on the southern part of our Ethiopian adventure. The traffic was again very crowded. It is hard to believe how Ayu can make a left hand turn on to a 4-lane street without any stop signs in either direction. He just inched his way out until the traffic had to stop. The cars going across the road didn’t have any choice unless they wanted to crash right into us.
We needed to buy more water for this journey. Ayu tried to go to the water factory but they were not selling water bottles there. Then he saw a delivery truck that was carrying bottles of water and he called out to them. About 5 minutes later they pulled off to the side of the road with us and Ayu bought 24 large bottles of water for us to use on the rest of the trip.
As we were leaving town we saw several teenagers moving between cars trying to sell things. Ayu said that many of these teens and young adults have moved to Addis from the south. In many tribes in the south the men have 3-4 wives and those wives have about 6 children each. So the older children move to Addis. They sell “stuff” and usually sleep outside. These young men tend to have no education or skills. If they can’t sell things, they become hopeless and are susceptible to becoming thieves and gangsters. The government is trying to help by offering training programs.
It took us a long time to get through the traffic to get out of Addis.
Our trip took us unto the Rift Valley. This is where Lucy was found. Ayu explained about the Gurage People. They have their own language. But then I read that there is no general agreement on how many languages or dialects there are, in particular within the West Gurage grouping. They consist of mainly Muslims and also Ethiopian Christians, and Protestants. They are known for grinding raw meat into tiny parts and mixing it with butter and sauces called kitto.
We passed many plants that look like banana trees but Ayu said that they are false banana trees (also called Enset plant). We will learn more about Kocho, which is a typical food made from the false banana trees.
We stopped at the site of the Tiya Stelae. There are 46 large, decorated Tiya megaliths, which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although the construction of such megaliths is an ancient tradition in Ethiopia, the Tiya stones are fairly ‘recent’, dating to sometime between the 10th and 15th centuries. Remarkably little is known about the Tiya stelae, beyond descriptions of their physical appearance. These large monuments likely had some cultural significance when erected, but their meaning remains unclear and very few efforts have been made towards understanding these magnificent monoliths. Our guide at the site told us about the sword symbols on the stelae. He said that it was a burial site for royalty. He distinguished between those that are stones for women and men. He also said that the bones of the people buried at this site indicate that they were buried sitting up.
Most of the ones we saw were in a group.
The guide gave us explanations of the symbols on the stelae. It was something about the swords signifying how many were killed by this person.
He said something about about a palm trees symbol.
The following stelae was for a man.
And this one was for a woman.
After stopping for lunch, we passed a tree that was filled with storks.
We are staying at the Sabana Lodge on Lake Langano in the Oromia region. The lake is brown in color but that is due to the richness of minerals. Jane, Sue and I walked down to the lake but we only waded up to our ankles.
The lodge has a spa and I took full advantage by using the hot tub (which wasn’t very hot), and also the sauna & steam room (which were delightful) before getting a wonderful 60 minute massage.
The area around the Serana Lodge are beautiful. We had lentil soup and pasta for dinner. There was actually ice-cream available for dessert and I took full advantage of it by ordering a chocolate/rum/nut sundae. Of course I took a photo of our sundaes.