李明熙、Kimberlogic:埃塞俄比亞活火山探險記

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攀登 Erta Ale 活火山/李明熙

達納基勒窪地(Danakil Depression)火山之旅,是我們來埃塞俄比亞的重頭戲,不少當地旅行社都提供 3 天或 4 天團,老實的外國人會在網站付款,訂好行程。但在埃塞俄比亞甚麼都可以議價,所以我們到達默克萊(Mekelle)後,才到旅行社訂翌日出發的團,議價後的價錢比網站標價便宜一半以上。而 3 天和 4 天團看的都一樣,所以我們選擇了 3 天團,於清晨 5 時出發。

從聽見山羊的哀號到手中拿著的羊腿,整個過程不到兩小時。

我們參加的團有 8 名成員,除了我倆,其他人都是以色列人。導遊說,這個行程接待以色列人最多,其次是德國人和中國人。我們團的以色列人都是猶太教徒,他們不吃非教徒宰的牲口,所以晚餐時特別叫導遊向村民買了一頭山羊及新的屠刀。他們一人背著山羊唸經,另一人一刀宰掉山羊,還有一名村民協助去皮清理內臟,從聽見山羊的哀號到手中拿著的羊腿,整個過程不到兩小時,我們沒有特別的悲哀,反而覺得這是難得的非洲體驗。

我們在火山口過夜,日出前下山,同行的還有持槍護衛和駱駝。
駱駝會背著我們過夜用的地蓆和下山糧水。

要登上 613 米的爾塔阿雷活火山(Erta Ale),因為氣溫關係,必須待晚餐後才能摸黑 3 小時上山。我們會在火山口過夜,日出前下山,同行的還有持槍護衛和駱駝,背著我們過夜用的地蓆和下山糧水。

臨近火山口時刮起大風,大家都被火山塵包圍著,雖然戴上口罩,但我們還是不停咳嗽。走進火山口時,導遊千叮萬囑只能一個跟一個地走,因為腳下不少乾化熔岩是空心的,踏上去時會發出「咚咚」聲,而且很容易被踏破,若一踏空便有機會失足,掉進萬尺下的熔岩裡。

我們站在崖邊半小時,動也不動地欣賞流動的熔岩,聽著岩漿翻滾聲。即使要走進全世界最熱的地方,能這麼近距離的看到活火山,我們都認為有體能者絕對值得到此一遊。

Colorful Dallol Sulfur Hot Springs/Kimberlogic

The Danakil Depression is located in the Afar region of Ethiopia, which is in the Northeast on the border of Eritrea. The Afar region has many “claims to fame”—— the Lucy fossil was found here, it is one of the driest and lowest lying places on earth, and it holds the record for highest average temperature of an inhabited area.

The Afar region has many “claims to fame”—— the Lucy fossil was found here, it holds the record for highest average temperature of an inhabited area.

The depression was created when Africa and Asia moved apart. It lies at the junction of three tectonic plates which causes rifting and volcanic activity. During our three-day tour through this depression, we visited the Dallol Sulfur hot springs.

Since the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia from 1998 to 2000, relations have been tense, and in 2012, 5 tourists were killed. In order to visit Dallol, we had to be escorted by armed guards the entire time we drove and trekked. Luckily, we saw no signs of hostility or danger from people during our visit.

Dallol is one of the most remote places on Earth. If you search it on google maps, you may think your connection is lost because you will only see the name Dallol on the map —— no town, no roads and you have to zoom out many times before anything else appears on the map. Roads in this area are starting to be built, so the most important mode of transportation is still camel caravans.

The chemical reactions turned the landscape into a vivid colour palate.

We arrived at the Dallol Sulfur hot springs around noon and the sun was blazing hot. Not only the sun, but the breeze was uncomfortably hot. There was absolutely nothing around. After about 10 minutes of trekking, the ground turned from a reddish brown to a plethora of colours. It started subtly with muted hues mixed into the ground, but a few more minutes of trekking and the chemical reactions turned the landscape into a vivid colour palate.

Although the ground was hard when we started walking, it still didn’t look like it would hold our weight.

Although the ground was hard when we started walking, it still didn’t look like it would hold our weight, which made us a little nervous. Because of the volcanic activity in this area, the underground salt water mixes with all of the minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, and of course, sulfur and the chemical reaction creates these amazing colors. When we got close to the sulfur ponds, our guides warned us to be careful where we walked because the ground started to get soft and was surrounded by sulfuric acid.

We later found out that these wet environments are being researched to help understand how life on other planets and moons may be possible. Being at Dallol, we already felt like we were on a different planet because the landscape was something we had never seen before. After our trekking, we were brought to a work site where salt is mined. The people of this region spray salt water from the nearby lake onto the desert and when it dries, they dig it up and load it onto camels for the 2-week journey to the city of Mekelle, where they sell it in the market. It was hard enough for us to just be in the heat in this place, I can’t imagine how the salt workers are able to do their job every under these conditions. Seeing the landscape in this region and getting to interact with the locals has been one of my favourite travel experiences ever.

The people of this region spray salt water from the nearby lake onto the desert and when it dries, they dig it up and load it onto camels for the 2-week journey to the city of Mekelle, where they sell it in the market.

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李明熙、Kimberlogic 雜碎集

我們沒分東方或西方思想,只想以雜碎的遊歷去建立自己的世界觀和價值觀。We are neither eastern nor western mind. We just want to establish our worldview and values through traveling. 【李明熙】 曾用七個月時間從柏林踏單車回港,又不自量力參加蒙古越野單車賽。現從事影像製作、旅遊、教育等,自我催眠周身刀。著有「陌路回家」、「單車遊牧」及「良業遊民」。 【Kimberlogic】 An American who resides on the small island of Peng Chau, in Hong Kong, has a passion for traveling, partaking in local food and drink, different cultures and customs and watching people react to the world around them.

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