On Friday we went over to Mekelle again for the weekend. This time it was our first journey on an Ethiopian bus. We arrived at the bus station in Abi Adi and quickly found the bus to Mekelle, getting a seat at 1:30. Our conductor was very excited to see us on his bus and went through his whole English vocabulary with us and with the local passengers. The conductor writes out a ticket for every passenger, including their name in the details so everyone was asked, “what’s your name?” to much bemusement!
Unfortunately there is no bus timetable. The bus goes when it is full. Therefore we left Abi Adi at 4:00, two and a half hours later. The actual journey took three hours, so travelling in Ethiopia requires a little bit of patience. However you can enjoy some of the decor…
Once we got to Mekelle we had a nice time, visiting Martin and Alex. Other volunteers Mike and Tricia also turned up for a gathering on Saturday. We also had a look around the Martyrs Monument and Museum in Mekelle, which commemorates the civil war and victory against the Derg regime.
There was a large photo library and 2,500 seat conference centre / cinema, which was very modern and expensive looking!
There is a lot of construction in Mekelle, especially around that area. For example, here’s a sign for a new sports stadium…
The journey back on Sunday involved only 30 minutes waiting time. We sat at the back of the bus where our fellow passengers offered us toasted wheat, which they bought off of boys whenever the bus stopped. When we stopped for petrol we worked out one litre costs about 47 pence!!
Finally we saw a camel train going up the mountain road, numbering at least 50 animals. Here’s a picture through the back window.