We spend 3 days we went to visit Bale mountain national Park: the roof of Africa! 4100 m high! It was a long drive thru colorful but very poor villages, very similar to what we experienced in Kenya 8 years ago. Millions of little shops that sell veggies, fruits and all sorts of cellphone and other accessories. We stopped in Bishoftu for a mango juice in one of the stalls. This was more than a juice! It was a pureed mango, to eat with a spoon. But not very sweet. Not sure how hygienic the preparation was because it really affected my GI transit time.
Fruit vendors run to the bus stop to sell their fruits to bus travelers.
Dromedaries have priority
Many donkey and horse carts
The water merchant. Water is not piped to the house so water and firewood chores are big deals
The daughter of the park ranger
Beautiful little girls
3000 m and walking great distances to carry a big bundles of firewood: a hard life !
Thao took a bunch of pictures of a group of young girls all prettily dressed for Eid. They smile and posed then came to the car to chat with the driver. I thought they were asking money but no!!! They were asking for pens to write!! Asha gave the one she had but there were 5 girls. I felt so guilty that these little girls were asking for school supplies and here we, tourists, were just looking for wildlife pictures. I couldn't hold my tears! Ultimately this had great ending!! We drove to the next village and bought 5 pens and went back to the little girls. They were beaming and me too. What beautiful smile you can create with a pen!
A very fancy panel for a very modest hotel
Rira village on the edge of the Bale mountain plateau. Famous for its vegetable (kale) and wild bees honey.
The honey merchant. We had some for lunch (see below) and we bought some. The honey we bought had, however, been smoked too much and was not as tasty as the honey we had sampled.
Anything can be a container. ! I was impressed by how steady they were in pouring the honey !
No dripping all around !
Travelers take advantage of the short bus stop to buy vegetables.
They weave hives from bamboo. One end is closed and the other filled with straw so bees can enter. These are -of course- African bees which are very aggressive. The hives are placed very high in trees, requiring a dangerous climb to access them. Instead of getting the honey during the day when bees are gathering nectar, they do it at night!! A big no no in US!
Kale for sale
We ate the honey with a special soft flatbread called ambasha and kale. Little children came to see us. One little girl came and touched us. She was a handicapped kid with a mild form of cerebral palsy. The cook told her to leave us alone but she was pleasant and I took her on my knees for a series of "Sur le cheval de bon papa" riddles.
But at 4000m there is a quick limit to the number of times I can get her jump on my knees!!
Carrying water uphill, poor women !
The shoe cleaners ! Remarkably, this being a light duty work it is NOT done by women ! Probably because this part of Ethiopia is Muslim and such close contacts would not be allowed.
Checking if his shoes are really clean !