Thursday, March 1, 2012


Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region, is just 45 minutes drive south of Wukro. The road is fairly new, which allows for quite high speeds, yet the non-motorized creatures who also make use of the road – not only the people walking along, also the donkeys, the camels, the cows and the sheep crossing, the children playing –, they are clearly not used to this. I don’t know how many accidents happen every day in this country, but it must be very many, and no doubt with fatal result for men as well as animals – as well as cars, hitting one of those long-horn bulls means total-loss.

(1, 2) regular road users, not necessarily fully aware of the motorized traffic that also uses the road

Mekele is three times nothing. Unattractive, dusty, nobody smiles, nobody says anything else but “give me”. Large numbers of able young men hanging around, no jobs. Two fairly well-dressed guys, obviously out shopping, bags in their hands, walk up to me and  say “ferenji, I am hungry”. We are also back again to this disturbing coincidence of unsavoury looking young men who keep exactly the same pace as I, some two meters behind me – and stop when I stop, continue when I continue; with an equally disturbing interest in my backpack (not in my pockets anymore, those have already been emptied).
 (3) one of the few people with a job in Mekele, it seems: the knife sharpener and his side-kick

(4) and the pride of Mekele, a real round-about!!
However, Mekele has the Aksum Hotel, a comfortable place with fast internet, satellite TV, BBC Worldnews, hot showers, a balcony and a real restaurant. No fasting here. They even had salad; so after the first lunch, I didn’t enjoy much of that restaurant anymore, but I appreciated the comfortable toilet seat!

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