Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Introduction to Addis Ababa

Traveling is always weird on the body. We landed quarter to 7 local time, 3 am MI time (if I remember correctly), and every one was fine. We didn't really hit jetlag land till about 3 pm. (The only reason I'm still up at 6:30 is I'm waiting for food to be served, then I'm straight off to bed!)

We went straight from the airport to the hotel, so I didn't get a long look at Addis, but enough to tell it's an interesting city.  It's the capital of Ethiopia, and yet I was surprised by the amount of English on the signs here.  While I know I'll need to learn the language, I'm relieved people here do know English.

There were a lot of interesting juxtapositions; nice adobe apartments and businesses are mixed evenly with half finished buildings with wood scaffolding, stalls and homes made of tin roofing, empty lots with kids watching goats.  While the trash isn't too bad, and the roads are new, the sidewalks could use a lot of work. Apparently, there are uncovered sewer entrances that sneak up on you.

Today was designated a light day, lunch (which was very similar to the Blue Nile if any of you want to experience what I'll be eating on a daily basis), and then more paperwork. But while you were waiting for lines to get your Ethiopia SIM card to shorten, you could partake in a coffee ceremony. It's something that is usually done daily, either at night or in the morning, and traditionally you drink three cups of coffee. I tried, I had half a cup, but I just couldn't take the taste of coffee.  Thankfully, it's usually served with snacks: popcorn (for reasons unknown) and dabo ዳቦ .  While that directly translates to bread, it's like a spiced sourdough? It's really hard to explain but really good.  Even better than injera እንጀራ , which is this spongy bread with a hint of lemon you eat with, kinda like you would naan for Indian food.

Lemon rice, injera, a roll, two types of khan (a chicken dish) and an interesting stir-fry of hard boiled eggs, steak, pineapple, and onions. Not to mention mangos and fried cabbage. The food here really agrees with me ^_^

What is slightly disappointing about today is that the sun sets about 6:30.  Every single day. That's the problem with being close to the equator.  And apparently Ethiopia has it's own time system; days start when the sun rises.  So, when the sun rises at 6am European time, Ethiopian time would pin it as midnight. And when the sun sets, that's noon.  This will take some getting used to, and ensures that I'll have plenty of down time in the evening cuz for safety we shouldn't be out really after dark.


Annalisa Crawford said...

Wow - already there are so many cultural differences.

Liwi said...

Glad you are feeling good and liking the food!

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