I should never have trusted ‘Danny’
It all seemed a bit convenient.
One minute I’m chatting to Beany Hat (you my friend will suffer at some point...) the next Danny has appeared and with a short discussion in Amharic between him and Beany Scammer has the solution to my nightmare journey from Bahir Dar to Lalibela!
It seems ‘Danny’ has a minibus of tourists going every morning, avoiding the perilous change in Gashena that often leaves tourists stranded in a tiny village with few hotels at the mercy of whatever price the locals dream up. Also there’s a well known scam (a word that seems to be popping up a lot lately) whereby the hapless Ferrangi agrees to pay the fare from Gashena to Lalibela for the entire passenger load plus chickens.
‘Danny’s’ luxury minibus would avoid this possible scenario.
We wandered over to a gleaming van.
“You can have a front seat to take photos!”
All I had to do was pay him a 100 deposit and he’d pick me up outside Nati’s at 06:30 on Monday.
Not having the Amharic skills to demand the driving licence for said bus I accepted, even getting a receipt.
Next morning I dragged myself up and out of the compound gate.
A figure approached me, not Danny and no minibus.
“I am early! Come!” I followed the random to a bajaj. It seemed we’d have to change buses as the bridge was out, by amazing coincidence in none other than Gashena!
We hopped out of the bajaj at the bus station where a bus sat. A battered local bus with ‘Lalibela’ written on the window in Amharic.
It was almost full.
Random clearly hadn’t expected me to be this early as the bridge had miraculously repaired itself allowing the one public bus a day to Lalibela to run straight through.
Ten hours as oppose to five if the minibus had existed. Squashed into a corner getting ‘Ferrangi’ stared while chickens and toddlers dropped piles of dung on me from three directions.
I don’t mind roughing it but the annoying thing is the locals paid about 50p while I paid £20!
Beany Hat and Danny….your time will come boys…..