A couple of things I forgot to mention about Djibouti:

In these places it is quite common to see people chewing the leaves of a small branch: it’s the QAT, or KHAT, whose leaves have a mild allucinogen effect, a bit like coke leaves.
They may be bland, but by evening one risks to be a bit dizzy, to say the least, a bit like being drunk; the habit is very common among men, and not unseen among women as well.
A whole country of drug addicts??

Some think that some events of small-scale piracy by fishermen may be due to the effects of QAT, and this is not entirely impossible; for sure, those who a couple of years ago tried to rob a warship must have been on a big-time high!!

Caravans: here there are still caravans of dromedaries, we saw many of them along the road: they carry either salt (collected from the shores of lake Assal) or coal, and are bound for Ethiopia. A bag is worth 1000 Francs, about 6 dollars, and a camel carries 8, for a total worth of less than 50 dollars.

A different style of caravans on the A1, the road going from Djibouti to Addis Abeba: following the self-proclaimed Eritrean independence, Ethiopia has no longer any access to the sea (the real reason for the extended conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea) and Djibouti has become the main port for Ethiopia. Transport is mainly by road, and all sorts of trucks can be seen rolling along this poorly-kept road, often not even paved; you can see relatively modern trucks, but also old FIAT ones that were new back in the ’60’s!!

Accidents are not infrequent, and you see overturned containers (duly scavenged of all their contents), trucks being repaired in the middle of the road, and sometimes also vehicle remainders which have been reused as parts of huts along the road.
The top: a “tukul” closed by a cars doors!!

QAT AND CARAVANS…ultima modifica: 2009-03-07T07:58:20+01:00da shaula3_gian
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