The ride started with a 10km steady descent on smooth roads with only the occasional donkey and cow. I exercised the head nod (in contrast to a wave or Salem) as a greeting and found that it conveyed the warmth and respect to the village elders and it was returned with the same feeling. Many smiling children all dressed up in school uniforms lined the roadsides as they walked from their villages to the larger towns and they greeted us with a Salem, Hi, or Good Morning. 19
After lunch, Carrie and I came across the most delightful young girl named Jinkaye, of grade 6 at the Usanka school in Debre Merkos. Like most of the children, as soon as she saw a rider, she ran from a little hut to the roadside and started jogging alongside us and chatting away in English. Normally kids know a couple expressions and they ask them randomly (where you go, what is your name, i love you, give pen, money-money-money). But she was different, she spoke in complete sentences, shared her biscuits with us, and then introduced us to her friends (who met us along the road once we stopped riding to chat with her). Carrie and I were both so touched by this young girl and her spirit.
To top off a great riding day is a great camp site! Under the great pine trees we created the space for a peaceful yoga session, then celebrated Adam’s stage win, and then chowed down on the most delicious meal of lentils, pasta, garbanzo/carrot salad, and papaya/tomato salad (and BBQ chicken for the meaties). We dined by the fire pit and then took our tea and sat under the pines and stars on a newly aquired bamboo bench (the Love Seat) to view the clouds by the full moon.