16 February 2014

what's the joedown?

It's been some time since I made some kind of public update about My Peace Corps Life. I suppose it's because I've been so incredibly busy living it, I haven't had much time to write (or even think) about it. Here's a quick rundown... 

05 February 2014

why do i climb the mountain?

Somewhere toward the beginning of my time in Ethiopia, I fell into a dream within a dream. During my Demystification trip to Wukro, a small town 45 minutes north of the Tigray regional capital, I shared a beer with my pre-departure mentor, RPCV Ben Morse. The beer was called Dashen. It has since held its own as my favorite (mass produced) beer in Ethiopia. I asked Ben the meaning and he told me it was a tribute to Ethiopia’s highest mountain, Ras Dashen. From that moment on, it was absorbed into my being: I must climb that mountain.

05 December 2013

crosses and crosswords - part II

Continued from crosses and crosswords - part I

[PRO TIP: If you just wanna look at a ton of cool pictures, click on any picture in this post and click through the slideshow. Most of the pics were taken by either Laura or I. They're cool friggin' pics.]

There are hardly words for the breathtaking beauty strewn about this area of Ethiopia. The town is known for its cluster of rock-hewn churches, reportedly built with the help of angels, but the surrounding landscape actually offers more interesting sightseeing options. We obliged our sense of historical and cultural significance by checking out the churches of Lalibela on day one, but used the next two days to get out and see more than the average visitor. Day two saw us renting an old, rugged Land Cruiser and necessary driver for perhaps the most scenic drive I’ve ever experienced, before reaching a remote village, some 40km outside of Lalibela. From there it was 12km of off-roading (what our guide called an “African massage”) in order to access a church made of marble and cedar wood, located in a cave in the middle of a mountain. And since we didn’t get quite enough spectacular from that experience, we set off on a hike to reach a rock hewn church situated atop a mountain overlooking Lalibela on day three. In both cases, we encountered only one other set of tourists, which afforded us lots of bragging as we closed off our time in the town with a night at a Torpedo, a popular tej house, in the company of fellow travelers from Canada (see: highfiveadventures.com), France, and Spain.

03 November 2013

crosses and crosswords - part I

For the fourth time in three months I passed through the obelisk-themed archway to Bole International Airport. As with the previous three efforts, I arrived more than an hour early; because of the first – my dad’s, wherein I encountered an unexpected hour-long wait to enter the airport – I arrived more than two hours early. Despite having discovered a super secret way to expedite arrival area entrance, I’ve learned all too well how quickly situations can complicate in the life of a foreigner abroad. This was one airport pick-up I would not allow to go sour. Laura had endured the long flight across the pond, so there was no excuse for me to be late for our first meeting since Christmas.