Lalibela, The Holy Land.

At dinner, after we’d watched a bull that had just been slaughtered get butchered outside the restaurant where we were eating, we were told our meeting time for the next day would be at 6am in the lobby. Our flight to Lalibela was at 8am.

The next morning, jet-lagged from getting only two hours of sleep, I was one of the last to be in the lobby despite being 15 minutes early.  A little while later, we were at the airport, checked in, and waiting for our flight.

“Just so you guys know,” said Scott as we waited to board, “this flight will be stopping midway in Gondor. So we won’t be getting off the plane. It will continue on to Lalibela.”

The flight itself was expected to be about an hour in total. Soon we were on our way, with part of an empty plane. And after an hour, I looked out my window and could see green hills and mountains below me. As descended, I wondered why we weren’t visiting Gondor.

To our surprise, we found out it was Lalibela where we had just landed.

“They changed their plan right before we took off,” Scott explained.

No one scheduled on the flight had needed to stop in Gondor.

Twenty minutes later, the 17 of us (three Blue Morpho guides – my friends Malcolm, Loretta, and Scott – and 14 guests) were in a small bus and being driven to our hotel.

“Welcome to Lalibela, The Holy Land,” we were told by a local guide.

I looked out the window, in love with the landscape. So much green. Locals waved at us as we drove past. We raced small tuk-tuks up a mountain, with the tuk-tuk winning at one point.

heather-molina-tuk-tuk

At the top of the mountain, we got out to take in the view. There were women selling small crafts and children playing nearby who would ask for candy or chocolate.

I took in a view of the crafts, seeing variations of a cross, some carved animals, and some metal beaded necklaces – which I was tempted to buy.

“Pace yourself, Heather,” I said. “You’ll find plenty to buy later.”

My inner self knew how to speak to my conscious self.

I largely ignored the children. My take, after having traveled to several places, is that if you start an in-depth conversation with them after they’ve already asked you for something, they won’t leave you alone. It’s the same with adults.

Pretty much anyone who approaches me unsolicited, I ignore. Whether that’s in a foreign country, or in America.

We piled back onto the bus and were driven to the hotel. Our journey into the spiritual energy of Ethiopia would begin after lunch.