This story is a collaboration between me and my brother.
All these photos were shot by my brother Tim (pelling.com) while we travelled together in December into January 2013. He sent me this batch and those under the title “Some People in Ethiopia”.The next images are of the road from Gonder to Aksum, including the stark and stunning Simien Mountains.
Not familiar with guardrails, this camel sadly took a tumble. There's no guardrails on the salt and silk routes on which these beasts normally and regularly trod.
In Aksum it's pretty much the same electrical systems you see throughout Africa–one of the many hardships for the people. I thought there would be more security for such a famous painting.
Ready to go–so to speak. Your writer waits for some material. While the photographer snoozes. Now back in action the team captures the famous and ancient stelae of Aksum as they do not move anywhere. Nor should they, since they are markers and memorials for people who thought they were so great that there should be a memorial to their greatness. So there are the markers. I have no idea, nor do I care who's great life is marked by the stelae. They do, however, provide a reason to travel to Aksum.
But there's action around the also famous Queen of Sheba's Bath. It's now really a resevoir, but when the Queen of Sheba was around a few thousand years ago, it was probably a pretty happening place. Don't forget that she went up to visit Solomon in Jerusalem when he still had a temple and the Ark of the Covenant. Later, the story goes, their son Menelik went to visit dad and when he left he took the Ark with him. Ethiopians are still adamant that they have the Ark stashed away in a small church in Aksum. But only selected priests are allowed to see it. Understandably. Menelik went on to form the kingdom of Aksum with it's headquarters in, well, Aksum. It lasted for some 3,000 years. Not much left, though, except those not-so-fast-moving stelae. And the Queen of Sheba's Bath.This guy ain't no Queen of Sheba, but he's goin for a bath anyways. And this woman was one of the most menacing folks Tim and I met in Ethiopia. As you can see she came at us so quickly Tim could hardly get her in focus. For reason(s) unknown she harassed us for being in that particular alleyway. Sometimes in Africa you just have no idea why things are happening as they are.
I really wish I could understand what this little donkey was thinking. One harsh reality is that it's tough being a human in Africa. But it's even more brutal being an animal, whether domestic or wild. This guy won the hat of the day award.
This is what is left of the Queen of Sheba's palace. But at least it's something, considering that it was a few thousand years ago (exact dates about her existence are vague, since that culture did not back up it's hardware with sufficient software). Even so, the anthropologists (those greatest of storytellers) say that this was the Queen of Sheba's throne room. Why not? At least it had a floor.
When you book hotels on line you don't always get what you thought you were going to get.
I have no idea about the powerful religion that captivates the Ethiopian spirit. But it is very clear that religion and spirituality are a big part of most people's lives. And there are these guys with unique outfits who apparently help in the process of understanding. Good on em I say.
And yet, even the holy man, as he leaves the church may harbor a doubt.Is it all true, or not?Could it be?Must be.
As I've said before, there's nothing easy about being an animal in Africa.
And these last images are from the famous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.