After yesterday things are very real for Dawn and I. We can’t believe we are in Africa, but we are really enjoying Ethiopia and meeting Isaac was a life changing experience. Addis is crazy and charming all at the same time and the people are wonderful despite the poverty. It is hard to put the city into words, but we are very surprised by the amount of building underway and the efforts to keep the streets clean. One thing we have learned, and become more comfortable with, is the lack of ‘curb appeal’. The city is behind gated homes, restaurants, and store fronts, and there are high rises going up all over the city. I have counted at least 30 buildings going up in the city center and many are an effort of the government and land owner to provide housing and renew the city. However, the wooden scaffolding is mind bending when you consider some of the structures are 20-30 stories. If you look closely you will see a few guys working on this building.
Last night Dawn went to bed very early and I went out and sat on a patio with 100 Ethiopian men around two fires watching the premier soccer match of Chelsea vs. Liverpool on a projection TV under the stars. It was a once in a life time experience after meeting Isaac to walk the streets of Ethiopia alone through the neighbourhood of our hotel (I walked about 5 km) and spending the night on the patio watching the game. I saw some crazy things, but felt safe the entire time. Not to mention that Isaac’s team, Liverpool, won the match much to the delight of his countrymen (Eric, you would like the Ethiopian soccer fans).
Today Dawn was feeling a little better (she is continuing the antibiotics), and was well enough to shop! Afroland lodge arranged for Markus to be our driver/guide and off to the Merkato we went. Merkato is the largest open air market in Africa, covering several square miles, and is just organized chaos - but great fun with a guide.
From there we headed to the top coffee shop in the city, in coffee’s county of origin, the best macchiato ever! And Markus was great company.
With our renewed energy the three of us drove to the top of Entoto mountain to views of Addis and a visit to a 800 year old rock hewed church. Great day, but we where so tired it was Indian take out for dinner in the hotel.