Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region, is just 45 minutes drive south of Wukro. The road is fairly new, which allows for quite high speeds, yet the non-motorized creatures who also make use of the road – not only the people walking along, also the donkeys, the camels, the cows and the sheep crossing, the children playing –, they are clearly not used to this. I don’t know how many accidents happen every day in this country, but it must be very many, and no doubt with fatal result for men as well as animals – as well as cars: hitting one of those long-horn bulls means total-loss.
Mekele is three times nothing. Unattractive, dusty, nobody smiles, nobody says anything else but “give me”. Large numbers of able young men hanging around, no jobs. Two fairly well-dressed guys, obviously out shopping, bags in their hands, walk up to me and say “ferenji, I am hungry”. We are also back again to this disturbing coincidence of unsavoury looking young men who keep exactly the same pace as I, some two meters behind me – and stop when I stop, continue when I continue; with an equally disturbing interest in my backpack (not in my pockets anymore, those have already been emptied).
However, Mekele has the Aksum Hotel, a comfortable place with fast internet, satellite TV, BBC Worldnews, hot showers, a balcony and a real restaurant. No fasting here. They even had salad; so after the first lunch, I didn’t enjoy much of that restaurant anymore, but I appreciated the comfortable toilet seat!
next: the road to Kombolcha