…to let you all know that I have been having an amazing time in Tigray. The scenery here is like a cross between the Land that Time Forgot and a magnificent spaghetti Western; all red escarpments and terraced fields with houses that you can barely see from a mountaintop because they blend so well into the landscape. Walking along the top of some cliffs it really feels as if you might see a pterodactyl soaring up on a thermal. We have also had some hair-raising and lung-bursting climbs to churches hewn into the cliff-faces, and have been on the receiving end of some very humbling hospitality from people who have shared the nearly-nothing they have. More on all of that, with photos, when I am back in Addis – for now, I don't have my laptop, Internet access is very hard to come by and usually dependent on hotel managers' goodwill, and my phone dropped out of my pocket in the taxi at Addis Airport on Wednesday morning. It has been nice, though, to be incommunicado for a while.
Just one amusing detail to share for now. I don't know if it is the short hair and gingerish beard, or maybe the cannonball head, or a scowl I have hitherto not detected, but everywhere I have been for the last several days, local children have interrupted their incessant requests for money by shouting out, "Rooney! Rooney! Rooney!" Richard, who is tall, skinny, and blond, gets something similar in Addis: there, he is followed with shouts of "Crouch!" Somehow I like the notion that the England strikers are wandering around in Ethiopia during the off-season.
Off to Mekelle tomorrow, Adigrat on Tuesday, and Axum on Wednesday, then back to Addis on Thursday morning. I hope you are all well. Look out for more towards the end of this week.