Addis Ababa

Thursday 21 November 2019

Back to Addis today. The capital.

My flight was at 9am and we were back in the city by 11am.

I’m staying in the Bole neighbourhood, which is right by the airport. I hadn’t eaten yet, so went for an early lunch at a nearby restaurant.

The streets around the hotel are full of fancy gated houses. Right next to a road full of shacks and homeless people. Quite a contrast.

I had another fasting plate. And here it was even bigger! I didn’t think that would even be possible! Again, super delicious. But far too much. I took the rest away for later!

At 1pm, I was picked up for a tour around the city.

Addis Ababa is Africa’s fourth-largest city. But it’s very drive-able. Big wide roads everywhere, a bit of traffic, but nothing crazy. Very organised!

Our first stop was at the National Museum. I’m not a big fan of museums. But I wanted to come here as they have bones of the first human – Lucy. These are estimated to be 3.2 million years old.

They also had lots of other preserved bones – large elephants and hippos. And other human relatives. Plus chairs and outfits of important people in the history of Ethiopia. A strange mix of items.

Then we drove up out of the city, to Entoto. This is a hill side covered in eucalyptus with great views over the city. It is now illegal to plant eucalyptus here. It has taken over the country and destroys the stability of the soil and rock. It was traditionally planted for firewood as it grows very quickly, and is used for construction of houses. But now isn’t quite so favoured.

Then to mercato. A market area of the city – street stalls and shops sprawled around everywhere. I wanted to get out and walk around, but the guide didn’t want to. He said it wasn’t safe for me to! You can buy everything here. Fruits and vegetables. Materials. Furniture. Mattresses. Clothes. Utensils. Literally everything. Apparently people will come here from all over the country to shop (mostly wholesale) and then take large trucks back to their villages.

During all the driving around the city we passed many things – a large mosque, many little neighbourhoods with different crafts – traditional clothing, plastic stuff, weaved baskets. The presidents house. The parliament building.

Then back to the hotel for a lazy evening.

Friday 22 November 2019

Another early morning, back to the airport for my 9am flight to Djibouti.

The airport wasn’t particularly great. I had money left to spend, but the shop selection was very poor. The lounge was a collection of tatty seats. And the airport felt more like a warehouse with a few benches shoved in. Most weird for such a large international hub.

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