11 January 2011
This morning we visited the African Union Headquarters and walked around the impressive complex. The PRC was in session and we could see the representatives from all over Africa that were sitting behind their desks and debating. Most of the people in the art filled corridors were speaking in french. My favorite piece was an intricately carved wooden bust of an African man that was about two feet tall, but unfortunately it was not labeled.
Adjacent to the African Union building the new headquarters are under construction, thanks to the Chinese. The building looks amazing even though it was only half way built. Banners in Chinese adorned the skyscraper tower that will easily be the tallest building in Ethiopia. At the foot of the tower is another large globe shaped building that will hold the new assembly chamber. I look forward to visiting again and touring the building when it is completed.
We also visited the Sun Market in Addis to pick up some snacks and found that most of the products were from France or China. Surprisingly they didn't have any milk in a box but had fresh milk in a bag. Outside the store we were swarmed by little kids selling kleenex and chewing gum who jammed their little hands into the door opening to stop us from closing it. Eventually we were able to get away without anyone getting hurt.
The worst part of driving in Addis is not the lack of traffic rules or signs at almost every intersection, but the people that walk up to your car when stopped in traffic and tap on your windows with their hands out asking for money. If you are stopped for five minutes they will stay there the whole time banging gradually louder on the car and calling out in Aramaic. I am surprised that nobody gets hurt with kids and people wandering around in heavy unorderly traffic.