Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Plus Update Feb.2011 - Link to Pictures
SACRED FORESTS OF NORTHERN ETHIOPIA
The flight was great, good food and English movie. Again some delays in getting visa(just too many people, no other problems tho) for $20 US & 30 days...we exited airport at 11:30 to find Abraham(Enrico & Martas friend) was there to pick us up...he'd waited 4 hours not knowing for sure what plane or when we'd arrive. He took us to Lido Hotel where he'd made reservations for us ckg in at midnight! Don't know what we'd done if this had not been pre arr by Marta and Abraham...what great friends!!!
February 2011 Update Pictures by Kim & Rene During Visit With Abramam
Abraham took us around:
In Addis we went to Natl Museum...interesting displays of wooden tools(among lots of other ethnographic displays including the history and discoveries since of 'Lucy', the skeleton found by the Leakys), interesting because they are supposedly 'old' tools but they are exactly the kinds we observed being used today! The sights incl. applying for Djibouti visa(another $30 US) which will be ready tomor at 3.
Wash day here is just as colorful as W. Africa... the bushes and fences and trees all around water sources (wells, rivulets, or stagnant, muddy ponds) are decorated q/ the colorful fabrics they wear.
Met 2 Canadians from Ontario(Father & Son) in Hotel...the son gave father trip to Ethiopia for 60th b'day, it is where he(the father) grew up til he was 16 just 2 blocks form the Hotel. We asked what he noticed had changed the most...everyone has cell phone, sheer size & numbers of people(800000 to 6,7 million), & rural deforestation. Otherwise, conditions in rural areas are same, people very poor, living subsistance lives and having many children.
Another rural income producer I've seen along the way is gravel production...people sitting next to piles of rock, breaking them up and separating them into 2 or 3 piles according to size.
This am looking up at the construction site nxt door to hotel I noticed w/ surprise(they are putting up forms to pour cement for the 4th floor) 4-5 women working side by side with men moving cement blocks, etc.
Went to Ethiopia Air office to confirm reservations that we had made the day before for flights w/in county only to have them tell us that the guy yesterday made a mistake and instead of $800 US it is $1000 US for 4 people for 3 flights, hmmm!
We argued but even the supervisor backed it up so rather than make it a bone deal we walked off to discuss some more. Since overland to Bahir Dar and then on by minibus to Gonder was on good roads that part of our plan remained. But we heard that a 4wd was necessary to go further N. which would cost about $100/day + gas and O.N. for 2 to 3 extra days up to Axum via Lalibela(actually our route would chg and it might take up to 5 extra days). Not wanting to spend time in uncomfortable overland travel rather than seeing the sights we opted to pay the extra. After another hour plus waiting and the power going off as well, our turn came and the next guy said it would now cost us $1400 US!!!! This was getting ridiculous! We walked out and while heading to an internet & discussing our next move we passed a travel agency. Bon suggested we go in just to see what they might come up with. She told them only that the airline office was jammed w/ people(true), could they help us by taking our ticket order. Sure! And lo & behold w/in an hour we had our tickets at the $1000 revised price...flights from Gondar to Lalibela and Lalibela to Axum and Axum back to Addis.
Abraham picked us up and we visited several more sites(after pizza & stories of his being held by police) before ckg on minibus to Bahir Dar...will pick us up at Lido Hotel at 3 am!
Pouring rain both eve has been very welcome here...last nite we left internet to return to hotel and even tho it was just 10 blocks from where we stood flagging taxi, the driver said it would cost 20 bier ($2 US)! We knew this to be way over what locals or even tourists pay, Jake laughed and said no, no how about 15 bier. W/ out a smile the driver said"But it's raining!" We all burst out laughing incl the driver & 2 fellows standing near us...we went for 15 bier!
Bon stayed up for one of Africa Cup semis betw Ghana & Cameroon...Cameroon the underdog won.