Sunday, February 10, 2008

St George's aka The Western Group

Western Group: This group consists just a single church - Bete Giyorgis (St. George’s), said to be the most finely executed and best preserved church. Separate from the others, it takes me a while to find, walking up and down the hill through the village.

The church sits carved down into the rock below the other groups, shaped as a cross from above.

It’s absolutely fantastic, and is cut so deep that I’m a bit wary of going close, there’s quite a drop!

On the other side, starts the path to get down to the entrance, effectively a narrow gorge cut into the rock leading down to a tunnel with some steps.

At the bottom I circle the church

Then head inside. The interior is somewhat gloomy, but I note St. George’s crosses on the ceiling:

Back out, I head up again

We’re done!!

The flies really are getting too much, this is worst place in Ethiopia. The chap who runs Heaven Guesthouse says they’re much worse in May and June! I shudder to think..!! Next door, I’m told internet is 1 birr a minute!! 60 birr an hour, or 3 pounds fifty! Too much!! Here’s a table of what you can expect to pay around the country:

Ethiopian Internet Prices Guide
Addis Ababa: 15 cents / minute *for broadband* (see Addis entries for description of where you can find this)
Bahir Dar: 20 cents / minute
Gonder: 25 cents / minute
Axum: 50 cents / minute
Lalibella 100 cents / minute (!)

Blocked sites:
Blogger (i.e. my site!)
Any sites critical of the government
Any sites connected with the opposition parties
(See Human Rights Watch post later)

Incidentally they also apparently jam international radio broadcasts including Voice of America.

Lunch is a somewhat tasteless but freshly-made minestrone soup at Roha Pastry. Here are a couple of amusing entries on the menu: Pane Kake, Hany and Musturd. Next I wander up to the churches again, but this time with no obligations, so (a) I don’t need to go inside and (b) I can just walk around as I please, a more refreshing approach to them really. I find some bits I missed last time, and end up having to take my backpack off as I squeeze through a “gorge” a foot wide.

Later I have dinner at Jerusalem Hotel across the road. As soon as I look at the menu I realise it’s overpriced but I’m hungry, so end up with a strange chicken curry dish with a Dashen beer (they’re out of St. George’s). At night, it rains, the first rain I’ve experienced in Ethiopia…

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