This blog entry is for March 3, the second day of the Afar trek at Bilen Lodge, Awash, Ethiopia.
I chose a good camping site, which meant I asked to store my stash of yummy organic vegan cookies in the lodge kitchen to avoid animals in my tent – unfortunately, I forgot the yummy cookie stash when I left! I hope someone got to eat and enjoy them. The rest of the paying guests, with the possible except of some drivers, stayed in tukuls. Sunrise was stupendous.
After my second night of camping, I decided to hitch a ride back to Addis Ababa on March 4 with Richard, Gordon, and Lynda. I also met Richard’s Ethiopian driver Tamir about this time. He had come along for a vacation and wasn’t driving. Another driver was driving the 4WD vehicle they had rented. On the way out of Bilen Lodge, we visited the hot springs (my second time) and an Afar village.
On the drive back, we saw some animals that looked a bit like deer and some large insects that looked like locusts. Aside from the birds, camels, and crocodiles, I didn’t see many other animals, including the hyenas we heard screaming at night and the lions apparently wandering the region.
A railroad runs between Addis Ababa and Djibouti apparently once a day. We saw the desolate train: it had only four cars, seemingly bereft of both crew and cargo. I took pictures of the landscapes on the way back to Addis Ababa. We saw a car with an anti-gun symbol on it, so I asked the driver and passenger what it was about. They told me it signified that they had no guns on board and wanted no guns.
We stopped for lunch at the Safari Lodge, run by some of Richard’s friend. They had great food, a swimming pool, a crazy unfinished spacestation restaurant, and a pool table where Richard beat, but didn’t slaughter me at a game of pool. Near Addis, people on the street sold firewood bundles.
Richard was kind enough to let me crash at his place for a couple of days, so we said our goodbyes to Lynda, Gordon, and Tamir, and ended up eating scrumptious vegetarian lasagna at his place before we downed a drink or two over excellent conversation and went to bed.