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How much for that goat?

ETHIOPIA | Wednesday, 29 April 2009 | Views [1370]

huge market the day before easter-get your goat or sheep for breaking the fast!

huge market the day before easter-get your goat or sheep for breaking the fast!

Oh how I dislike the propeller stump jumper plans that some airlines use to fly short distances. That was the case flying from Gondar to Lalibella, plus it was windy on the way down so it made me and the huge group of French geris nervous. Thankfully we landed safely and after getting our luggage took one of the fixed price minibuses into town. Lalibella is small and sits on mountains of sorts so it is a picturesque drive up. Our tourist tout drove with us and said they would take us too as many places that we wanted until we found one we liked. We wanted to camp and had read that some places had camping. In actuality it was more like setting up a tent on the hotel grounds and using a common dirty toilet. We finaly settled on a place for 50 Bihr for one night, we were leaving the next afternoon to Aksum. The tout was not happy that we did not go to his hotel and as Jessica was off negotiating our tent price he asked me if I was Jewish, I was stunned but asked why and he replied that I was selfish because I did not want to pay his inflated room price at some other hotel he worked for. I asked him if he had ever been outside of Ethiopia, he said yes Kenya. I told him if he ever got outside of Africa to let me know how it goes. I was too stunned to say much else and when I told Jessica what happened she was livid and probably would have throttled the guy had he still been there. Not a good start. After we got settled in we met some other whiteys staying at the hotel and they told us the price to visit all the rock hewn churches that Lalibella was famous for had doubles. We were shocked but not surprised since that has happened many times on the trip. The price while high would be fine if you were staying mroe then a few days because your ticket lasts during your entire stay. We were leaving the next day so it did not seem feasible to spend the money. So we did what any good budget traveller does, we tried to see them for free!

We managed to see a few from the outside before being asked for our tickets and got some decent pics but not many. More importantly it was also market day, the day before Orthodox Easter and there were hundreds of people buying and selling goats and sheep for the end of the fast the next day. We walked to the market and waded through the sea of people and animals, Jess got some good pics before we returned to town and walked around more. That evening we had dinner of peanut butter and bread and talked to the other whiteys at the hotel. While we were talking I got my first case of the dreaded big D, no not Detroit but the one that comes out all wrong. In nearly 10 months of traveling I had not contracted anything like this so I guess my time was due. I started the Cipro drug as soon as I could that evening but still had a rough night sleeping in the tent.

The next morning was Easter and the town was pretty sleepy at first because many of the locals attend Easter celebrations late into the evening so they tend to rise late on Sunday. We got to walk around some of the other churches a little more before being asked for our tickets which we did not have. We also had talked to another guide we had met at the airport the day before who needed to return to the airport early in the morning but was going to try and return to our hotel so he could take us to the airport. For us he was the first person we had been in contact with working in the Ethiopian travel industry who was actually a genuine person not looking for extra money or trying to cheat us out of Bihr. After meeting people walking around the town who were obviously very satisfied having broke the fast that for some had lasted a month or more we packed up and headed to the airport for our flight to Aksum, our last stop in Ethiopia before heading back to Addis and then Egypt. I think we were both a little disappointed with Lalibella, some at the commericialization of the town and some at the response of different people we had met. Ultimately, it was a great joy to be there on Easter and experience it from an average Ethiopians' perspective. And special hello to Grandma Pallister who is visting Michigan this week. Thanks for reading the blog hope you enjoy all the adventures of Jess and Michael.

Tags: goats, lalibella, orthodox easter, rock hewn churches, sheep

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