Sunday, October 28, 2007

Debre Birhan

Work: Things are moving along with finding out of print book dealers, finding local dealers, and more. There are several good Horn of Africa disertations available and trying to look into those as well. We are having another mtg. to discuss progress of the grant acqisitions this week. Thanks to all my colleagues in Tucson and SLC that have helped me!

Other: Continuing to enjoy hot water showers! Last weekend, a nice wildlife trip to Debre Birhan, about 3 hours north of here in the Shoa province. The views were all interesting, lots of herders with their cattle, lovely tukuls-local homes with the round thatched roofs, and farmland growing teff-local grain for making the injera bread and much more. About 20 of us signed up for this trip and after locating a hotel, we continued on for about 1.5 hours to Ankober, the ancient capital of Ethiopia. This whole area is cold and windy due to the higher altitudes. We stopped at a scenic viewpoint to take photos of the valley below. There were lots of terraced fields on the mountain slopes and we walked around cattle, donkeys here and there, horses, goats and sheep. Some hiked for another 3 hours in Ankober to see the remains of the palace and some hiked for awhile and then browsed the little suqs for peanuts, fabrics and local shopping bags. We had dinner at our Hotel Eva (owned by famous Ethiopian runner Gettiye)-some of us had lamb tibs (grilled lamb strips) and wine which was very nice. The area and rooms at night were very chilly-probably in the low 40-50s. Early the next morning, we left for Debre Sina. We were on a good road built by the Italians in the 1940s and dotted with bridges and a few tunnels as well. Along the way, we stopped at another outstanding viewpoint and saw gelada baboons and came across wool hats and oregano for sale! We purchased as much as we could and I also purchased a walking stick. A bit later, some of us walked down the road leading to town for about an hour. There, we stopped for more shopping-basketry, oranges, a new fruit that is like a crinkled looking melon (will try that later), small bananas, guava, fava beans, roasted barley called kollo- a local favorite, more oregano, local fabrics and more. We then continued on and found a picnic spot for lunch and stretched our legs. Once again, we arrived in Debre Birhan and visited the Trinity Church. This Ethiopian Orthodox Church is a bit unusual as it has two statues in the compound that were dressed in real clothes (perhaps due to the chilliness?). We took photos and then headed back to Addis Ababa and arrived around 6pm. Another wonderful wildlife trip.