Loes and I spent Christmas morning, midnight to 2am Christmas morning to be exact, taking in the sights and sounds of one of the only permanent lava lakes in the world, Erta Ala, in the Danakil Depression. The lava churned below us as smoke and foul smells filled our noses. It was a long journey to get there. For four days we were with a tour group exploring sulfur lakes, narrow caves and expansive saltpans. We battled wind, food poisoning, back-breaking bumpy roads and a three and half hour hike in the dark to get there. The biggest hurdle was getting military permission due to its proximity to the Eritrean border. Some how our beloved tour company managed to mess up the paperwork and 8 of our fellow travelers were not allowed to make the trip to see Erta Ale. To be turned away after three days of travel and a considerable amount of money spent, it’s an understatement to say people were angry. I’m not sure what caused the biggest explosions, the lava, the tour company’s incompetence, or the bad food.
(Above: Waking up for day two of our trip. Slept under the stars, next to a donkey. And no, I’m not talking about Loes, you jerks)
(Above: Our Christmas lights show, courtesy of Erta Ale)
(Above: The “wind blown” hair style is all the rage here in Ethiopia)
(Above: Loes exploring the sulfur pits in the Danakil)
(Above: The stacked bricks on the left are salt. Large camel caravans can take up to a week to transport their goods to town)
(Above : Sending my love to every one of my friends and family at home and around the world. I miss you all very much. )