Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 53 - The Gorge

Mark and I decided to get out of the city today and go see the countryside.  Our friend and driver with AWAA, David, came along and we headed to The Blue Nile Gorge about 2 hours outside of Addis Ababa.  This gorge holds a river that feeds into the Blue Nile eventually, and it is loaded with baboons, lush plants, and three waterfalls.

The trip up there was fast and so incredibly beautiful.  The highlands of Ethiopia are a remarkable sight.  We constantly took pictures as the scenery became more and more beautiful.  Zane slept about an hour of the two hour trip up there, and he didn't get car sick (a fear of mine)!  About 30 minutes from the gorge, we stopped at a woman's house (hut) and asked to come in to see how people in the country live.  She was very generous to let us come inside her home, meet her family, and tour her property.  Here are some pictures of the drive up, and our new friend from the country:

So, we taught Zane what the cow says on the trip up there because there are cows EVERYWHERE.  Unfortunately "Moo" became his new favorite word, and that was all he wanted to say for the rest of the trip.

When we finally got to the gorge, we drove back to a restaurant on the cliff (plateau) overlooking dense fog.  We couldn't see anything.  The entire canyon was veiled in an opaque, white cloud.  We continued on trusting that we would see something eventually.  We began to feel the spray of the falls before we could even see them.  It was hard to tell if it was rain or the force of the falls splashing the water back up on us.  Little by little, the fog dissipated and the most beautiful sight was unveiled.  We felt as though we were in National Geographic magazine.  The canyon was layered with lush plant life.  Aloe, mint, and cacti covered the rocky terrain.  1,000 ft. of water rushed with the force of angels wings, mighty yet peaceful.  We approached a 400 year old bridge, supposedly built by the Portuguese although that's debated, and crossed over the falls to the other side of the canyon.  From that side, we continued to climb higher to see the falls from different view points.  Suddenly, a large family of Galada Baboons hopped across our path and seemed to fall over the edge of the cliff.  Their agile bodies clung to the side of the canyon with amazing strength and balance.  We were amazed to be so close to something we've only seen in zoos in America.  There was nothing keeping us from approaching them, except their exceptional speed, and nothing kept them from approaching us.  It was thrilling in every way.

Zane was fully aware of his surroundings.  As an observant naturalist already, he pointed out other baboons hiding in the rocks, the water cutting into the valley, the flowers that grew from the mint plants, and many other sights.  He was enthralled.

We finished our outing with traditional food, tibs, shero, injera, and reluctantly approached the car to return to Addis.  Zane slept the entire way home (PERFECT!), and we silently soaked in the scenery once more.

Mark and I were so happy to have the experience of the country to share with Zane when he gets older.  We want him to know how beautiful his country is, and how incredible the people are.  Today was about more than getting out of town, it was about understanding what makes Ethiopia such a unique country and being able to share that with our son was an experience of a lifetime.


JustJess said...

Beautiful pictures and word imagery. Love it. Glad you guys had this time with your little man. Praying you get to share the beauty of the US scenery with him soon:)

janahsjourney.com said...

WOW! Your pictures are beautiful! What an awesome experience. You guys look so happy! :-)