Posted by: mmeazaw | January 3, 2011

The Journey to Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

By Dana Hearn

My journey to Bahir Dar, a small town crouched on the edge of Lake Tana, several hundred kilometers north of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, begins with a 4 A.M. wake-up knock on my hotel door.

Longing for an hour or two more to recover from last night’s rounds of Meta Beer and high-pitched music, I groggily wash and stuff my backpack.

Adana, a local guide, meets me outside and we catch a taxi to the central bus station. We join crowds of travelers waiting at the station gates and are sucked inside as the metal bars swing open and the chaos of ticket buying commences.

The scene is a blur of shouting and pushing bodies crating sacks and baskets and jugs and babies-all understanding the signs and systems surrounding us, as I stand unknowing and uncomprehending.

Though the only bus to Bahir Dar is full, Adana helps me to bribe my way onto another sold-out bus headed in the same direction, securing a promise from the driver that he will drop me off in Bahir Dar as we pass through.

My means of transport settled, I stand shivering in the cold morning air, wishing for the warming rays of sunrise.

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