7 buses or minivans. pj 1061blowout shredding a tire in two. 22 hours bumping along dusty Ethiopian roads, some still under construction. pj 038 7 hours sitting in muddy  bus yards waiting for buses/vans to fill to bursting before setting out. pj 041 Scores of stops along the way to drop off and pick up passengers. pj 039  2 cases of the runs, probably from these fruit drinks. pj 100
In 1 particular hotel staying in a squalid room with metal bars, leaky toilet, no seat, no toilet paper, stained walls, insect filled ceiling light fixture, woven plastic pillow cases, raw and burnt umber blanket, similar towels and sheets but slightly more gray, no running water, no electricity. Outside sounds of metal doors, poorly tuned diesels, chat chewing truckers getting chatty, dogs, roosters and the occasional horn bill.

All this to get to the tribal region of southern Ethiopia. All to get to Jinka, a  market town a few dozen miles from South Sudan.
Meanwhile zoom lens crested tour package herds migrate the same routes in SUV caravans passing us in a dust cloud, pulling off at signs for five star resorts. All this makes for real theatre when the SUVs make tour stops. Tribal villagers do antics for 5 Bir per photo. We heard one villager put a puppy on her head and charged 10 Bir, 5 for her, 5 for the dog. For that reason we took no pictures of any tribe members except the ferengis. pj 001 We stuck to the weekly markets in the bigger towns. The same tribal dress, ritual scars, stretched ears and lips, but no zoom lens and antics. They bring cattle, grain, salt, incense, gas cans full of homemade hooch pj 002 and a huge variety of wood. Poles and sticks for construction, firewood, aromatic wood, sticks for toothbrushes. Our first minivan heading back north made its usual stop to pick up passengers along the road. But this time 4 tribe members rubbed noses with loved ones then squeezed in among the rest of us. I can’t imagine the same happening with zoom lens crested tour package SUV caravans.

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