Trapped in Konso
Feb 13, 2005
Konso sucks. There is nothing to see and nothing to do in Konso. Tourists with private Landrovers zoomed into town, and then zoomed right back out again. A handful of American and Israeli backpackers, including myself, found ourselves trapped here, with no way out.
I spent a full day in Konso: sitting, sitting, and sitting some more. A truck would pass, and I'd rush over to ask if they were headed to Arba Minch. Every time they would answer "no", and I'd go sit down again.
Trapped with me, was a professional photographer named Chad Meacham. His website is here: http://www.charlesmeacha m.com. We hung out, talked shop, and compared cameras. I'll admit some lens envy; His biggest lens, a 70-200 f2.8, was about the size of my entire backpack. It's an amazing lens, but I can't see myself ever carrying anything like that.
Spending a couple of days with a pro was fantastic for me. In a very short time, I learned a lot about photography -- specifically, I learned a few things, which make a big difference. I had heard repeatedly photography is "all about light", but it wasn't until Konso, that started to sink in. I, like most people, use my wide-angle lens for landscapes - but they make the scene look very far away. A wide-angle lens can better be used to get in close and immerse the viewer in the scene. I also learned about the photography business, and getting the pictures "that matter" - but, that is not a topic that I can summarize in a few words right now.
Chad attended the Bob Marley festival I had heard about in Nairobi. Unfortunately, I had missed it -- but I didn't miss much. The concert was free and dedicated to African unity, but contrary to the concepts of "unity" and "free" $100 tickets were sold for a separate VIP section. Problems with the sound system meant that only the VIPs could hear the music clearly, and for some reason all of the announcing was done in English so the locals couldn't understand. Finally, Bob Marley's band, the Wailer's, were not even invited to the concert because of a royalty dispute with Rita and Ziggy Marley. The concert sounded like a huge disappointment for everyone involved.
Late in the afternoon, two German missionary girls showed up in town. They were part of the group that I met in Omorate, and again in Turmi. They invited me for dinner at the church. When I arrived, I amusingly discovered that was being set up. These two girls disappeared and left me alone with Melissa, the cute missionary who I met in Omorate, and she definitely seemed interested.
When dinner was ready, Melissa and I sat down with the other young missionaries and an old Norwegian woman who runs the church. As a guest, and on a pseudo-date with Melissa, I tried to be nice and avoid any controversial topics. I safely made it through dinner, but when dinner was finished, the old woman asked me "what my purpose in life was." "Hedonism" was the first thing that came to mind. I censured that before it came out of my mouth, but it was clear that she was not going to be happy with any answer that didn't include Jesus. A debate ensued.
In the end, I hurt the old lady's feelings. I don't think that I'm going to get anywhere with Melissa.
Hopefully, tomorrow, I will escape Konso.
The trip from Nairobi to Addis Ababa was interesting enough that I wrote it up as a daily log. If you'd like to read it from the beginning click here: [ Leaving Nairobi ]
Leave a comment! I'm much more inspired to write when I know people are reading.
I've always wondered what the best answer to the Purpose question is. Now I know it's "hedonism".
The pictures are awesome -- did you take them before or after you met the professional?
Believe it or not, I actually put a lot of thought into the question before coming up with the answer "hedonsim"
After. Getting the right light, makes a huge difference in photography.
Denise Young - May 31, 2005
You mom is a friend of mine. She told me about your website and your travels. Love your writing and your pics. Your journal reminds me of a book called "The Devil in a Cup", about this guy who retraced the journey of coffee from its beginnings to now. The book is filled with interesting and funny stories like yours.
My advice: stay away from missionaries, not worth the time. Good luck in your travels.
Thanks, and I added the book to my reading list.
> My advice: stay away from missionaries, not worth the time. Good luck in your travels.
Ordinarily, I might agree, but when trapped in a place like Konso there isn't much else to do.
- Jun 03, 2005
How about a pic of Melissa?
red+leaf+clover - Jun 04, 2005
You mean Melissa wasn't turned on by your diatribes against Christianity? Wow, that's a surprise.
No, she wasn't. :-)
I have this terrible problem that I'd rather tell the truth about my beliefs than lie to get laid.