Camels, causeways, colour: first impressions of Dire Dawa
Half because I’m in the field right now so have NO TIME*, and half because perfectionism does not a productive life make, I decided to try something new: first impressions! In note form! First up under the pen: Dire Dawa. (I’m not sure it survives).
Camels stalk down the road beside bajajs. replicas of 7000-year-old cave paintings line the walls, and murals signed ‘handicap’. under one: a crumpled cloth, legs protruding. roundabout with a rail carriage mounted in the middle. dusty yellow façade – chemin de fer. colourful buildings, so many shades, but shade – street sellers, under stretched sheets in the sun – not so much. pink shawls against pink walls . wide tree-lined avenues. ‘china mettow’ – you came from china? do you have a doll? mid-afternoon desolate streets – everyone busy chewing chat. green turrets in the distance. houses climbing up to the scrubby hills that ring the town. syria. sudden alleyways, stripes of mountain view. everything scenic, all movement framed in front of fading pastel walls. red earth river bed, parched. people walking it, birds circling it, in front of the mountains. afternoon – a row of camels marching out of the city on what was once a river. like invisible cities: there are seas of water, and seas of sand.
* the astute/facebook-frequenters among you may have noted i’m actually back from the field. yeah, this post almost never saw the light of day. maybe it shouldn’t have? thoughts on a postcard…