It is my first time in Addis Ababa, and my first day on our (my wife and I) trip in Ethiopia. When I arrived, I was eight years back in time, I left Nairobi on 3rd of August 2018 and here I was 27th November 2010. I felt young, I felt God has been gracious to me with time. In November 2010 I was planning fo my first trip to South Africa which I took in January 2011…..and here I was again…..November 2010
“If I was stranded on a desert island & could only bring one thing. I would bring Dora, that b*tch has everything in her backpack”.
If you are a backpacker, you have probably came across this quote. I don’t think I can call myself a backpacker, but am willing to learn, so together with my wife and our backpacks we will be travelling to some of the most remote locations in Ethiopia.
Float on the blue nile in Bahir Dar, rule from the castle of Gondar and worship at the new Jerusalem in Lalibela. We will travel on budget, avoid luxury of star hotels, eat street food and try to meet fellow backpackers and make friends. After all this, we intend to come back home tired but alive and full of memories that will encourage us to plan our next trip.
Addis Ababa is an interesting city, its a combination of the old and the new. Tall skyscrapers live harmoniously with traditional mud houses. Traditional food like Injera as it found out can be served at the same place Pizza is being served. The Metro…just like a Cobra snake runs along the road populated by the blue Mini bus called Taxi.
Sometimes it is raining and sometimes it is sunny…..and thats just how Addis is. I asked a friend who has been here for a few months if she has adjusted, she said NO, you don’t adjust in Addis, you come stay and leave Addis the way it is.
Old cars run a longside the new. Its common to see the VW Beatle, well maintained without modification. The Beatle is a historic car for Ethiopia. In 2nd February 1974 (not Ethiopian Calendar) Addis streets were filled Beatles of Taxis drivers striking the high price of fuel. The last Emperor Heile Selassie was hustled away to a military barracks in a blue VW Beatle.
The Beatle might have died where it was born but here in Addis, its alive and kicking a**.
All instructions in the university are in English, but the language that rules here is Amharic. Its difficult to get your way around, but if you are a backpacker…..you always find a way.
Twice somebody has attempted to pick pocket me around Stadium, the first time shouting at the top of my voice I threw him a jab, the second time my wife lifted the tennis racket she was carrying…..the guy retreated really fast.
People love Ethiopia for the food, boy they can make some really nice food. You would believe from the way they make their pizza that they invented it. When it arrives its half chicken and half beef……just the way you ordered, with chilly at the centre. Interestingly, they love to eat Injera with their hands but when it comes to pizza…its folk and knife business.
Coffee is a big thing here and it comes in all form and choice. Whether you are having it in an uptown restaurant in Bole or a roadside makeshift spot in Yeka. You got to respect the coffee and the coffee tradition.
Enough with the food and culture, the sight seeing……
The first thing on my list was Lion of Judah Monument. Nobody new where it was and nobody was caring. We went to Addis Abeba Museum instead, it turned out to be great to learn the history on Addis once called Addis Abeba.
We have tried to learn as much history of this country that was never colonised as we possibly can, we have also made friends. Angel from Bulgaria whom together with his backpacking friend Liu from China are touring eight countries. A Chinese cyclist who has cycled from China and he is headed to South Africa.
A young guy from Senegal playing professional football here and a Kenyan working with the department of gender at the African Union….and yes, we have seen that building present the Chinese government gave Africa.
The Metro is a game changer for this city. It moves people in four different directions with two connections. Trust me, there are countries in Africa who will not have this in 2050, whether it is Ethiopian year or European year.
Technologically, Ethiopia is still in Kenya’s 2010, when we had only one mobile telco, with an option of 2G or 3G network and internet that was slower than the tortoise race. I am trying to make sure I publish this article today, tomorrow we are off to Bahir Dar and I am not sure what is ahead.
I have a lot to share, but this time I am running out of time. I have missed one cup of coffee already. I am not sure how long the internet is here for, we had a disconnection in the morning and when I asked at the reception what was the problem…..the lady answering in borrowed English just said “company problems”
My wife needs to edit this post before I publish and I am being reminded by yours truly…I need to set the alarm for tomorrow. Our bus is for 4:30am International time.
I will see you the other-side of Bahir Dar.