>Sunday/Monday, January 22/23. Simien Mountains.

>This morning, we got up early yet again! for an 8:00ish flight to Gondar…but our flight was delayed and we were a couple of hours late getting out of Axum!

From the airport in Gondar, we drove two or three hours to get to the town of Debark in time for lunch. When we emerged from our restaurant, we saw this wedding procession go around the square in front of us..

….with the groom in the lead car, proceeding to pick up the bride and ask her family for her hand (a wedding day formality, as the marriage was already planned for this day)….the family apparently acts surprised and upset to lose their daughter, but eventually agrees.

This wedding procession had at least 60 cars, all expensive cars, plus government and military cars, so our guide assumed that this was a wealthy man of stature who was getting married.

Then we were off to the Simien Mountain National Park. Along the way we encountered this local law man…

…and when we stopped to get his photo, my guide noticed this woman with an injera picnic basket which is very similar to one I had just bought!!, so he asked her to pose for me..

We continued up to our lodge, which was another 4-5 hour drive, so we arrived just in time to see the view of the mountains….

…as well as some of the gelada baboons that are native to this region. These are quite different baboons from the usual olive baboons that I’ve seen before. They are also called lion baboons due to their long hair…

They were also quite oblivious to our existence, as they continued to pick bugs off of each other while we watched…

We then quickly continued on to check into our lodge before 6:00 when you are not allowed to drive in the park. The lodge was fairly new and was made up of little round huts, similar to the huts we had seen along the way. We think this would have been a great experience to stay here, but the electricity went off shortly after we arrived, and did not come back on until we were about ready to leave the next morning, so it lost some of its appeal as we ate dinner in the dark, got ready for bed in the dark, got up in the morning in the dark, didn’t get to take a shower and ate a breakfast of toast and cheese.

Then we headed out to spend more time with the baboons….

This little one was catching a ride..

They stayed in family units of one male, with 3-4 females plus children.

When the male mounted one of the females, the other females made a racket, showing their jealousy. We also saw younger males try to take over another male’s family unit by fighting with the head of that family. When they lost the fight, they would walk away and sulk and wait for another day, another opportunity. Again, they were not bothered by our being in their space, and we were able to walk around and watch these family dynamics. After enjoying the show for about an hour, we headed back down the mountain towards Gondar.

So there is more to come of our adventures on Monday…

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Location:Simien Mountains National Park

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