What makes a man want to ignore beauty in beautiful things, in beautiful simplicities, in picturesque windings of a smooth country road?
What beauty is there in baby monkeys playing by the roadside as if assured that cyclists are harmless things that never could hurt them? Or a in butterfly flying in haphazard, playful zigzags by your side as if it was a way of offering you encouragement? Or of the effortlessly sashaying Ethiopian woman crossing the road while balancing an earthen vase on her head? (I would have said “a beautiful Ethiopian woman”, but why repeat myself?) Or of a couple sitting in a shade by the road and waving at you as you pass like you are a mutual friend?
Is there beauty to be found in a rainbow during the refreshing light rain that reduces your suffering on the baking tarmac later in the afternoon on a day like this?
There is no beauty in the scene with a barking puppy chasing a flimsy horse and drawing an equally shabby cart. Or of the light-skinned beauty on that cart smiling embarrassed at your having seeing her aboard such shameful means of transport?
And this is why you’d see no beauty in all this, my friend, if you knew you were going to sleep outside, hungry, miserable for lack of cash.
You see, when I arrived in Garbaa on the previous day, it was the beginning of a national three-day semi-religious festival. It meant that the banks were going to be closed for that duration and with the aforementioned absence of ATMs until I got to Addis, the only way to get cash, legally, was to withdraw it over the counter.
As I rode that morning, it was easier to entertain forebodings than it was to think of better days that the future would bring. It is days like this that makes one see the pointlessness of touring on a bicycle.
My broke ass was going to sleep in Dilla. Perhaps.