40 – From Aksum to Mekele, Crushed Underneath My Backpack

Tue 5th Jan, Dallas Hotel, Mekele
Traveling by bus can be tiring. Traveling by bus from one 2100m town to another 2100m high town over 6 hours with your 60 litre Osprey luggage on your lap restricting your movement can be very tiring. Thank goodness the road was paved.
Reached Mekele at 12pm (why oh why do Ethiopian long distance buses set off at 6am and earlier?) and found a hotel near the bus station. Mekele is a larger town in the northeastern Tigray region (the girls here are prettier!) with nothing much to see, but it is a pleasant place to wander about. Slower pace for me than Gonder’s castles, the Simien Mountains’ baboons and Aksum’s tombs and stelae. I can finally relax and type decent entries here too. The last few days deserved much lengthier accounts and i feel guilty about slipshod work. So attached below will be backdated photos from Kassala back in Sudan (day 33), and Aksum (day 39).
We could leave the day after to Lalibela and still catch Leddet festival on the 6th and 7th but after some thought decided against it. The Norwegian girl we met in Aksum is flying to Lalibela and needed to reserve hotel rooms at 3 times the normal price. We need 2 more days by bus and will arrive at the tail end of the festival, with possibly no vacancies or exorbitant prices. Hence the decision was to stay two nights in Mekele and chill. I think we must be the only tourists in Ethiopia trying to avoid the festival on the 6th in Lalibela.
The Dallas Hotel was near the bus station. Rooms with shared bathrooms are 30 birr but there’s no running water (no i don’t get it either) or power sockets. I stayed in a room with bathroom (60 birr) that comes with a power outlet. Dinner was tibs, strips of meat with berbere sauce together with what tastes like wasabe. It was pretty good, especially since i got bread instead of injeera. But i really miss Sudanese food. And chicken rice. =/
Ok. The following pics are of me back in Day 33 scampering atop Toteel Mountain, and hanging out with the Kassala street vendor. Oh and the barber that shaved it all off…
The next set are yesterday’s photos Day 39 with shots of Aksumite ruins, stelae and my bread/tomato/yoghurt/egg dish.
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