To the mountains, and now a castle

My journey to the mountains took me through some towns where poverty is the rule. To call their dwellings “hovels” would be too generous. I did see some nice wildlife in the mountains, but I got sick and had to cut the hiking trek short. Today I’ll be visiting a large castle. It’s supposed to be spectacular.

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7 Responses to To the mountains, and now a castle

  1. BX says:

    ahhhh… Ethiopia ?

  2. Peter Johnson says:

    Definitely sounds like Ethiopia – extreme poverty in the villages, castles, volcano.

  3. jewamongyou says:

    BX and Peter got it right. I’m in Ethiopia. So far I’ve been to the Rift Valley/ Awasa, Danakil/ salt fields and Afar salt mining/ sulfur fields and Erta Ale vulcano, Axum, Tigray church on the cliff (terrifying), Simien highlands/ Gelata baboons and now I’m in Gondar. Next it’s Bahir Dar (source of the Blue Nile), then Lalibela, then Omo Valley and lastly Harar.
    I’ll have lots of stories, photos and videos to share upon my return.

  4. BX says:

    Nice work JAY, Ethiopia would be pretty fascinating and I’d like to go one day. I’ve read about the salt mining, talk about hard work. Are you seeing many Ethiopian “Jews” and if so, do they look more Jewish than the regular black natives?

  5. jewamongyou says:

    I’m told there are no Falashas left in Ethiopia, and I suspect that’s pretty close to the truth. As for appearance, plenty of regular Ethiopians, especially of the Amhara and Tigre tribes, look very Caucasian. I saw many highland people who strongly resemble Indians, some even with straight hair. Some even have dots on their foreheads, but these are native markings. A lot of Ethiopians sport tightly wavy hair, rather than normal African kinky hair. Hints of blonde are not that uncommon either. There are many beautiful women here, and I have not been shy about asking to take their photos, as I encounter them at hotels etc. So y’all can look forward to that.

  6. Nyk says:

    Is it safe over there? I really want to go there as well because of the very rich culture and history by African standards, as well as the natural beauty, but at least on paper the crime statistics don’t seem to be any more encouraging than those for the rest of Africa.
    Also, how “civilized” is the country in general? I’m referring to things we take for granted like clean toilets that are not simply holes in the ground, food that is safe to eat without getting sick, etc.

    • jewamongyou says:

      To those for whom safety is their number one concern, I say, “stay in a white, or Asian, area and don’t venture into Africa.” But the consensus is that Ethiopia is safer than the rest of black Africa. I have yet to be a victim of crime here (though I have been taken advantage of a couple of times) but my current driver (who is 100% Ethiopian) just had his cell phone stolen; it had all his photos on it and he cried like a baby over it.
      As for accommodations, they are often primitive. Some of the hotels are pretty nice though, like the one I’m staying in now. Obviously, it has an internet connection. Many hotels claim to have one, but in reality, it doesn’t work. You can’t take hot water for granted and you’ve got to stick to purified water. The first hotel I stayed in had no water at all. I’ve been shying away from fresh vegetables, because they’re washed with unpurified water. In some areas malaria, yellow fever and typhoid are endemic. Lots of bad things can happen to you in Ethiopia. 3 fellow tourists were injured in Danakil from falls and cuts (the vulcanic rocks are sharp). You’ve just got to be careful and hope for the best. Usually, if you’re in a crunch, the natives will do what they can to help you.

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