Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Crocodile and Hippopotamus Part...

After our morning Dorze Village visit, we took a little break for lunch at our hotel

which has a resident warthog, then off to Lake Chama for a boat ride. We were looking for crocodiles and hippopotamuses, and we found them!

The crocs, at least two dozen of them, sunning themselves on a spit of land, were incredible!

The largest was at least 20 feet long, and there were all sizes, down to babies.

They truly look like something out of a Japanese sci-fi movie...

Then the hippos, which were shyer...

There were several groups of them, sometimes 5 or 6 together.

What a great day!!!

Location:Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Dorze Village! Crocodiles! Hippopotamuses!

BIG day today! We set out this morning in our trusty 4x4's to climb about 3000 ft.

Our wonderful driver, Midi
The Dorze are a tribe who are known for their bee-hive shaped houses

which are a tribute to the elephants who used to call this area home. The houses are built with a bamboo foundation overlaid with "false banana" (banana trees which do not bear fruit). They are two-story to begin with, but over the years, as the termites
eat the foundation, the houses become shorter and shorter; the doors are recut so the opening remains accessible.

The Dorze are also known for their weaving, which is done by men,

spinning, done by the women


and VERY spicy hot dip and VERY potent distilled corn liquor.

Margy negotiating for woven scarves

and victorious!

Draped in leopard skins, the young men did a traditional dance for us

as did the young children

Beautiful place, friendly people!

Location:Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Monday, January 30, 2012

On the Road

Long and fascinating road trip today; the roads are getting progressively worse. We still see the flat-topped acacia trees and the eucalyptus, but now there are hectares of bananas, cotton, mangoes, the occasional papaya grove, and, as always, beautiful jacaranda trees in bloom.

We stopped at an Alaba tribe village; they are recognizable by the tall hats for men

And the beautiful houses, painted inside and out

Inside, there was a woman making injera, the Ethiopian bread

And more paintings and belongings hanging on the wall

Unfortunately, in the tribal areas the people demand 10 birr (about 60 cents) for each picture, so you have to think twice before taking a picture. The lovely young women who clustered around me, each holding a baby or two, were interested in my jewelry
and wanted me to give it to them!
Leaving the village we encountered camels...hundreds of them, being driven to market.

Babies, too!

In every little village, there were LONG (100 or more women) queues waiting to fill their plastic jerry cans with water from the communal water area

We stopped at a large Saturday market in Wolita, with lots of potatoes, cassava, chili peppers, shallots, ginger, garlic and mangoes

Unfortunately, the people (mainly young boys) were very aggressive, so we hightailed it out of there

After lunch we continued on, seeing large Saturday markets, common baboons and vevert monkeys by the road, lakes with crocodiles(!)and girls with mangoes to sell. We arrived at our hotel

which is charming in looks, but has no hot water and very little cold; we sought solace in a cold beer!

Location:Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Southward Bound

We left Addis Ababa yesterday morning, driving in "luxury" in 4-person Land Cruisers WITH AC, entering the Rift Valley and stopping en route at two lakes.

Cattle and sheep grazing and wonderful birds...
Marabou Storks

African Fish Eagles (which look like Bald Eagles)

Sacred Ibis

And boys who caught catfish and tilapia to sell to the restaurants...

The Marabou Storks are called "the ugliest birds in Africa"; they are 5 feet tall, have a wing span of 10 feet, and are very funny to watch

Also pelicans

And washing of horses

And bodies

We stayed at a "vacation lodge" on the edge of Lake Langana

And took off in our 4x4's early the next morning.

Location:Arba Minch, Ethiopia