Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Across Time and Seas and The Vicissitudes of Life.

This picture is one I set up and had a friend take of me while I was in Ethiopia in 1967. I developed it it at the base's special services shop which was a big mistake.  The "clean" water there had so many foreign elements that the film was scared and pitted in scores of places.  It was my last time to subject my film to that.  But I had 72 screwed up black and white negatives of two adventures that I had taken.


This one of the negatives smitten by dust and particles.  Now finally, 48 years later, I am able to clean off dust and grit and fix the cuts and scars with only 3 hours worth of digital work.
On this day four of us had hiked out to the edge of the Asmara Plateau, about 10 kilometers from our base.  This view looks out over the descending ranges that were between the city of Asmara and the port of Massawa about 90 k away on the shore of the Red Sea. We hiked down into the first valley below.  There we encountered, a pack of six (may have been 60) feral dogs, a troop of 30 or so baboons, and two guys making illegal charcoal (who melted away into the rocks somehow before we got there).  Ah youth, ah the stupidity of youth.  Our only weapons were our walking sticks and pocket knives.  The wilds of Ethiopia were generally safe, but we were in Eritrea, a province at war with the country.  The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) was fighting for independence from Addis Ababa's control. Today they have it. Most likely the ELF knew we were there and dismissed us as idiots. They didn't want to harm Americans, they wanted us to keep the bases in Asmara for their own future revenue.  Of course I knew nothing about all of this as I drug my 22 year old body up and down the rock crevasses 8000 feet above the sea.  Knowledge came latter, for example as we listen to bullets whiz by us while hiding in a ditch and the Ethiopian Air Force flying over us to provide air support to their troop fighting the ELF at a place called Matara where we were looking an archeological dig that wasn't being dug anymore.  That's an entire other story, and no I did not take pictures of the planes or the soldiers. I'm not entirely stupid, well now I'm not.

1 comment:

Jack Wardlow said...

Again, no one who knows you would say you are stupid. You were young and thought yourselves invincible, as we all did. You had probably, by this time, been through more life altering environments than many people have in a life time. Nice photo and I hope nice memories. I certainly like hearing them.