Brian and I went first to Bet Giorgis to tour the church and capture a picture of Brian's bike agin at the backdrop of the stone temple. We were stopped by an official who insisted that we must have a ticket to enter the premises. We were led by a tout to the ticket office where we learned that the fee was $50 U.S. per person. This is a steep form of spiritual materialism. Below, you can see the outline of the cross of St. George embedded in the earth.
We carried on to visit other sites and while I minded Brian's bike, a swarm of teenage boys surrounded me asking to use the bike. Alas, in these circumstances, allowing the locals to take an expensive bike for a spin could end in tragedy, so I held on to it and indulged their banter.
One fellow, Moggis, tagged along and eventually led us to the Blue Nile restaurant where we had a feast of shiro wat with an assortment of dishes. The cook took a long time and the wait was well worth it. The quality of the food was excellent and we were brought a bowl of water to wash our hands before and after the meal. The Blue Nile is a basic wood structure that overlooks a rough dirt road.
To walk on the road in Lalibela is to gain an appreciation of the mix of concerns for a society in transition. While some youth have outdated mobile phones and wear western jeans, there are beggars and herdsmen who share the path. Read the sign below. Overpopulation is a real issue for a growing country that is vulnerable to cyclical drought. Though the country develops quickly, one wonders if the quality of life will improve for the majority.