I take a short flight out to Mekele to visit the hottest desert on earth! This is the only place on earth where no life can exist! It’s just soooooooooo hot!!!
I meet the other 15 tourists from different parts of the world.
No Internet Access
This country manually destroyed all internet connections and social media channels including Facebook, WhatsApp, Line, websites, etc. The only thing that works here is Wechat. I later discover that the Chinese government helped them build roads that shortened the volcano trips from six days to six hours.
Volcano: The Hottest Desert in the World
7 hours of overnight hiking, no shower and no toilet paper for the toilet for three days. This is the only place on earth where no life can exist!
Two of my peers in my jeep is from Spain and I talk to them in Spanish. Luis told me that every year that they (he and his girlfriend) do a 40-day trip. Next year they plan to visit Nepal and Bhutan.
The drive is so long, 8 hours to the base camp. It was 43 degrees Celsius. The camp is very ghetto, with a lot of flies. After dinner where we are bombarded by bugs, we resume hiking at 6:45 pm as soon as the sun went down.
The volcano last erupted in 1967 and the next prediction is 2025. The guide got burned by the burst rocks last month and didn’t heal for three months. The peak is 625 meters above the sea level and the depth is six kilometers. The Muslim ideology suggests that anyone making mistakes will be punished by being sent to hell (the mouth of Volcano).
People pee next to where we sleep. With all the sweat I smell like crap but thinking about a shower is too luxurious at this moment.
I sleep on the floor tonight with no protection. The wind is very strong up here and I have no comforter or bedding to cover myself. I keep taking vitamins and hoping that I won’t get sick from the extreme weather and eating food with flies! I am so exhausted that I fall asleep regardless of the awful conditions, next to the smelly camels.
At 4:30 am, the head wakes us up and tells us that it is time to go down the mountain. Going down is so tiring, my legs are sore and my shoes don’t function well. However, I still have to survive long enough to drag myself downhill.
This reminds me of nothing but the reality show “Amazing Race.” I haven’t brushed my teeth and washed my face for days. I cannot stand myself.
The Guesthouse & A Big Chinese family!
Thanks to the Chinese group, I am given toilet paper to go to the toilet for the first time in three days.
The “so-called” guesthouse involves just sleeping on the floor along with the bugs and the ants. We have to cover ourselves completely from head to toe. A Chinese lady wears socks, masks, eye mask, and covers herself in a sleeping bag like a Mummy. I am terrified of beg bugs!
Dallol – Colorful Stone
It’s 4 am again. I need to go on the road to the Dallol, another volcano; another masterpiece.
I am awake to see the sunrise again, just like I have every morning since I embarked upon this adventure.
Dallol borders Eritrea, and the Ethiopian government insists that all tourists be accompanied by three soldiers, for which we each pay $30 USD and a further $50 USD to obtain permission.
The drive to Dallol is an eye-opener. A long procession of camels is awesome to watch. Our car drives on the water for three hours with three soldiers through the salt mine. It is an unforgettable experience. In the summer, the temperature will rise to 49 degrees. In the winter, it is still super hot.
We hike for another 40 minutes through the rocky roads. Sometimes the most beautiful places can only be discovered after hard work. It is so colorful. The yellow is sulfur, red is iron, brown is copper, green is oxidized copper, etc. They are very toxic. Every day they attract thirty people from around the world to visit them. I am so lucky to be one of the 30 from around the world!
For more details of my journal, please refer to “My Book” section.