Meskel Day

One of the benefits of having your own guide, who happens to be a Deacon in the church, is that you get access to areas that the ordinary tourist does not.

So it was with my trip to Ethiopia. I'd been speaking to Jake Warga - who has produced an excellent podcast about Lalibela available on YouTube, and he recommended I get in touch with the guide he used.

So it was, that I ended up on the day of Meskel, situated around 2 feet away from the Lalibela cross, right in the heart of the celebrations, while all my newly found friends from my hotel stood on the periphery looking in towards the celebrations. I distinctly remember catching eye contact with them and exchanging a dialogue through our eyes which went sort of like this:

them: is that you Bruce? How did you manage to get down there into the heart of it all?

me: yep, it's me, I feel like I'm on display to everyone and the world here, but I can't help find it crazy that I've managed to find myself in such an amazing vantage point.

I'm not used to feeling smug. I'm not used to feeling I have the upper hand. It was a strange situation to be in. But it did allow me to make photographs of the men who were dressed like kings on Meskel day.