Babile and on to Dire Dawa

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Africa » Ethiopia
January 26th 2010
Published: June 16th 2017
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Geo: 9.59306, 41.8661

Yesterday I left Harar for a side trip to Babile to visit an 'Important Camel Market', according to my guide book. Apparently no one passes this information on the the camels, there are only a half dozen here. Oh well, so I take a short tuk-tuk ride east to the 'Valley of Marvels', interesting, reminds me of Arizona, but not too Marvelous.
So my day trip turns into a two hour trip, I return to Harar and catch a mini bus for the 1 hour trip to Dire Dawa.

Oh yes, on the bus ride to Babile, it is packed, I mean CROWDED. Seated next to me are two young Muslim women, perhaps 18 - 20 years old. They are each carrying a hard cased, vintage 1960's Samsonite cosmetic case. One of the ladies opens her case, and pulls out her 'mirror'. The mirror is a jagged remnant, 5" x 8", from what was a larger plate glass mirror. Great to have seen!

The mini bus ride turns into a fun excursion. As usual it is packed, but everyone aboard is in a good mood. For whatever reason, all the passengers want to see my tatoo. The two year old girl sitting on her mothers lap next to me is particularly fascinated. Along the way, just east of Harar, we pick up two ladies with their loads of chat concealed under their flowing clothes. This is not done for concealment, rather to protect from the sun and heat. Fresh chat is the best chat! We pass a roadside check and two 'officials' confiscate some of the chat, the 'tax' has not been paid. My take is the 'officials' will be chewing the chat shortly. No one seems upset about what has just happened. Oh yes, and one of the ladies wants me to purchase a bag from her, she can't understand why I decline.

I arrive in Dire Dawa with no problems. I find the 'African Village' hotel, quite a nice place, I would highly reccomend. Dire Dawa is on the map because it was built by the French to be the main rail link to Dijuboti, giving this part of Ethiopia access to the Indian Ocean. With the present day tensions with Eritrea to the north, it now is the main sea port for goods coming by sea.

This morning a short trip to the local market was good. Along the way a camel owner, leading his three camels, 'runs' a red light on the asphalted street near the market. It was a great sight.

Tomorrow I'll leave for Awash, on to Adama, and then south to Dodola, the gateway to the Bale Mountains. This may be my last update to the blog for a couple of weeks. I probably will not have internet acces for a while.

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