I have glimpsed the apocalypse. The overweight Magi, Al Gore foretold of it. And he has been vindicated. And forgiven for eating so many pies.
Here, Gaia is in rebellion. All bets are off. The ground has sunk below that of the seas. Night time temperatures flirt with the mid-thirties, by day they bash down the door at fifty. The earth is sin-black or virgin-white. And neither supports life. Volcanoes crackle and groan with restless magma. Sharp tendrils of serrated salt burst from the earths bowels. Lakes fizzle with sulphur or bubble with potassium. Geysers ejaculate concentrated acid teasingly. The air smells like Mother Nature has partaken of too much fermented injera and cut the cheese with cataclysmic force.
The people of these Badlands are a tough bunch. The men all wear skirts, but face no ridicule. This is likely because they have serrated teeth and carry semi-automatic weapons. They are quick on the draw to protect what is theirs – the only things hated more than each other are out-of-towners. The local chief – a man with a lava-red beard that rages around his face like an inferno – can offer protection. For a hefty fee. But in these lands currency is useless. The dollar, Yuan and, yes, even the Rand have all collapsed.
What is of value is salt. Eight kilogram blocks of solid salt, chiseled day and night off the earths baked surface by a new breed of human whose toughness is matched only by their resignation. Kilometer long caravans of camels stretch to the horizon, bearing this precious commodity.
Yes, I have glimpsed the apocalypse. It is a place called Danakil. Now kindly hand me that energy-saving lightbulb.