|Beetles in love|
Two giant beetles are going at it hammer and tongs, hanging from a rafter at Camp Day in an acrobatic embrace, the never-ending cycle of creation. We're in the forest of Day, some 5,000 feet above sea level, and these beetles are clearly exhibitionists. After the coupling a large cloudy bubble starts emerging from the arse of what I assume to be the female.
And the beetles aren't the only ones doing it, either. In the forest a large grey, red-arsed baboon seems to be infected with the randies as he pursues various female members of his troop. They gallop across the ground and are now swarming all over the branches of a tree on the brink of a ravine's abyss, chattering, barking away and swinging around like idiots. It looks and sounds just like an executive board meeting of your favourite company. A particularly loud bark resonates over the others; ah, the CEO has taken the floor.
|Forest of Day|
|Forest of Day|
Adam, meanwhile, has been looking morosely ahead ever since we started our descent down the precipitous dirt track across this twisted, corrugated land – he's out of qat. We too take five, then move on into the Goda massif across broad, shallow, bone-dry wadis. We twist upwards amid gaunt tiers of mountains, past little copses of bright yellow-trunked and branched acacias, and into the village of Randa, an administrative hill village in colonial times, where a spring of water keeps trees and plants green. Adam rushes off on his royal hunt of the qat. Moroseness now evaporating, he returns with his bunch, and we trundle back down to the coast, all cheek bulge, green teeth and idiot grin.
He has six front teeth missing in his upper jaw but he's a sprightly gent as he warms to his theme. The Afars, who inhabit much of Djibouti and parts of neighbouring Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia, are the direct descendants of Ramses II and the ancient Egyptians, he waxes. It was the French who brought the Issas (Somalis) into their colonial construct, the Afars accepted them, and now the Issas hold the ruling positions. What's more, the Saudis who are building a new port near Djibouti town, have found some black stuff shooting up and immediately cemented it over and moved the site because they know it's oil that will drain all their reserves.
|Camels taking five|
|Village mosque on way to Randa|