61 – How much dust does a duststorm dust if a duststorm does storm dust?

Tue 26th Jan, Some local dump, Harar
Today we make the long journey from Hargeisa, Somaliland to Harar, Ethiopia. After the complimentary breakfast, we take the minibus from just behind the hotel to the Wajaale Station (1500 shillings) where transport to Wajaale could be found. What i thought would be buses turned out to the Toyota Mark II cars instead, and these charged 5.5 USD per pax to the border town of Wajaale. As usual, we waited for the vehicle to get full before going. The road was sealed, until we turned off onto the dirt track towards Wajaale halfway.
Here the terrain got interesting. We must have gone through this terrain at night when coming into Somaliland by 4WD. In the horizon, duststorm after duststorm loomed. We passed by a few up close. Around 2.5 hours later, we arrived at Wajaale. The main road here is still a sandy track. After doing the border necessities at both sides (the immigrations building is unmarked), we took a public bus to the next town Jijiga (20 birr, 2.5 hrs). The standard annoying Ethiopian asking for 10 birr for lifting your bag on top of the bus is back. =)
The road got better as we went west. And the scenery got greener as well.. I suspect it was rolling qat fields we passed through. I counted, along the way, there were 7 police or military checkpoints. The more thorough ones strip searched the passengers, one made me go on the bus roof to open my padlocked bag. The locals had to show their IDs. All these because of the proximity to the border.
From Jijiga, we took yet another bus, this time to Harar (23 birr, 2 hours), which meant we arrived in Harar only at around 8pm. Along the way we passed through the Valley of Marvels, so named because of the boulders standing on top of each other at impossible angles. I’m sure there is a story to this valley, but at that moment in the bus no one could tell us.
We reached Harar and found all the hotels to be full, due to some big meeting going on in the Oromia region. We were forced to stay in one of the local places, with no power point, water for shower etc (30 birr). But the beds were comfortable, so I had a good night’s sleep.
p/s im back in Ethiopia, so i’m posting from emails again since we cannot access the blog web page.

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