Addis Ababa Day 1
9 January 2010
Back in Africa after passing the holidays in Europe and the states- it took 45 hours to get back to Senegal from the west coast, then another eight hours to get to Addis. I am definitely enjoying the cooler weather in Africa! (and not the freezing cold in the states or Europe). I flew to Addis on Ethiopian and wasn't impressed- i had to beg for a headset, couldn't get a blanket, the stewardesses ignored us repeatedly, and the carpet was coming up in front of my seat.
However i have been impressed with Addis, starting with the airport- its the biggest & nicest i have seen in Africa so far. Roads are great and it's not hard to get around the city. The people seem nice and i haven't been mobbed by people trying to sell me junk as soon as i get out of the vehicle or a building. We wandered around the city and enjoyed the light Sunday traffic- we'll see how it is in the morning! One challenge has been the signs in Aramaic but fortunately the important signs (i hope) are also written n English.
We ate dinner at an Ethiopian cultural restaurant which featured a traditional Ethiopian meal where you ripped of pieces of a flat bread and used it to grab the pieces of meat arrayed on a large communal platter. While you ate with your hands a traditional 4 piece Ethiopian band played songs important to their culture while dancers performed a wedding dance, war dances, and a variety of other dances. The music was great and the dancers were impressive and at one point my redneck friend from Alaska was called up onto the stage to dance with the troupe. Surprisingly he did very well, to the amazement of the many locals that laughed themselves to tears.