We have a later start this morning, so we have a chance to watch the sun rise over the Rift Valley lakes over breakfast. We trek from our lodge up to the restaurant, and on the way we notice the stack of empty wine bottles alongside the entrance. The International "Aid" people must have had quite a jolly last night, as by a quick count there are over 100 empty wine bottles. Not any old cheap plonk bottles, but reaonable quality South African wine - which was on the menu last night at around $US35 per bottle.
I wonder if the irony is lost on these International "Aid" people that donors in western countries are committing themselves to 40-hour famines and other personal sacrifices to raise the money so that they can scoff down fine wine at around four times the price of an average restaurant meal in this country. I suspect not.
We finish our breakfast and watch the sun rise and then we are off for a short drive to nearby Lake Shomo for a boating trip. It is quite a wothwhile experience, and in the process we see plenty of pelicans, wading birds and crocodiles. We also make a short detour to see the hippopotamus, but they are rather shy this morning - popping up to take a breath and then diving again. Our guide is very patient and waits until everyone gets a decent photo or two before moving on.
Back on shore, we are off in the 4WD heading south for Konso. We arrive at lunch time and check into our lodge - once again it is impressive - and we put in a bag of laundry.
After lunch, we head off to visit the Konso village. It is the only jurisdiction in Ethiopia that has its own hereditary king, and we have a chance to meet with him and have a short chat. He is a civil engineer no less - and returned from Addis to take up the position on the death of his father a few years ago. It must be a tough gig.
Our guide is quite fluent in English, and we are able to chat with him extensively during the tour. He tells us that his great ambition in life is to have his own laptop, and he is saving up for one, as they are still fairly expensive in Ethiopia, and even more rare here in the south.
When he tells us this, we think of the International "Aid" people in Arba Minch the night before - the thing that struck me when we walked into the restaurant the night before was the dull blue glow of around 100 people hunched over their iPhones and Apple Macs - crowding out all the WiFi connections so that none of the fare-paying guests could get on the internet. We wonder if any of these "Aid" people have even the vaguest idea of how the rest of the country actually lives and the conditions they have to put up with. Somehow I doubt it.
After the tour of the village, we head back to our lodge to collect the laundry and have dinner. Our fears are allayed when we get the bag of laundry delivered - all up around 70 Birr (or around one tenth the cost of a bottle of fine South African wine).