Ali Sabieh is a train town in Djibouti. The railroad to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, opened in the late 1880s, I believe. Ethiopia is landlocked and depends on neighbors for imports.
We visited the old train and train station and walked through town.
When we continued on our trip, where the standard highway meets the African desert road, our guide pointed out that Ali Sabieh has no petrol stations. We stopped at what appeared to be someone’s house and he filled our car with gas from jugs. They used a water bottle cut into a funnel and wrapped it with a scarf.
Meanwhile, I made a friend with a little girl in a green dress. She offered me a candy. I refused. She showed me the candy on her tongue as if I didn’t understand it was candy. Then she poked my arm.
I looked down. She had noticed my bat tattoo. She scurried away and returned with every kid in the neighborhood. I peeled up my sleeve and this horde of children poked and prodded my arm. The girl talked with Momo, our guide, but I don’t know what all the children said when they were chattering like crazy.
White lady. Head uncovered. Short hair. Strange bat on arm. I am indeed an oddity.
And then they left.