A rare confessional blog post from me.
I don’t normally go in for those so make the most of it!
Maybe I’ve grown up in the five or six years since Ramly or perhaps it’s Ethiopia itself or even perhaps it’s because there’s a sliding scale towards ‘lecherous old perve’ that in my 20s wasn’t such an issue.
Lalibela is probably the last place on earth, Ethiopia where I expected to find myself in a ‘holiday romance’
It didn’t happen, I’ll just get that out there now!
It won’t happen either.
Despite the fact the local in question, 18 year old *not posting his name for obvious Ethiopian internet reasons* is currently lurking underneath my balcony.
I met him on my first morning walking around the town. I was being mobbed by Lalibelans all with the same spiel, “I am student! Buy me book!” (they produce a book which they then sell back to the vendor) and “Come to Coffee Ceremony!” (You pay for the entire town’s coffee consumption) etc *Not posting his name* started with the usual crap but being surprisingly intelligent realised early on he was wasting his time and there would be no birr changing hands.
He followed me for around two hours ‘wanting to practice his English’ and I began to warm to him.
Seems he was a labourer but is now a shoe shine boy in the town centre because it pays more. He’s from a tiny village 12 hours walk away (he pointed to a speck somewhere on the horizon) but there is no work there. He’s a student but wants to become a teacher to help Ethiopia progress because he’s sick of the crap infrastructure (you and me both mate, difference being I have two weeks left here, you have a lifetime) and he lives with his aunt and her family.
We’ve spent most of the last two days together. His aunt seemed a bit bemused at why he’s collecting Ferrangi but is quite friendly in that sort of good natured yet distantly sardonic way a lot of older African women here seem to have.
I suspected from the outset that *Not posting his name* was pushing his luck in terms of normal Ethiopian social convention…..(it’s not only illegal here with something like 97% of polled citizens advocating the death penalty but there are multiple reports of offenders being kicked to death in the street while the police stand around observing)
And this morning I was proved right when he tried to kiss me!
I pushed him away, politely.
I think I’ll spend my final two days in Lalibela lurking in my room. Alone.
5 or 6 years ago I wouldn’t have pushed him away.