Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 1, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

These are not good photos, but like in Rwanda, trying to snap a few while on the move. This corner was interesting because there were street vendors, small shops and bunches of people just sitting around waiting...for I know not what.

A typical apartment building atop drying outside and there was a small restaurant on the balcony of the first floor with all of the umbrellas open. The blue and white vehicle is one of the "sanctioned" cabs in the city...all regulated cabs are of this type.
I went to the National Museum which is in serious dis-repair. What was interesting was the huge amount of information on evolution of Homo Sapiens, with many excavated examples of fossils, early primates and, of course, examples of Australopithicus and Lucy information. Interestingly, early primates had only 300 cc of brain capacity and they show the difference between the male and female. Males had larger heads and supposedly, that translated into greater brain capacity. Who knows? There were also many examples of prior Rift Valley environments where these fossils came from. Many Ma ago (Ma could mean thousand or million, no one knew and the exhibits didn't say!) the Rift Valley, now nothing more than a desert, was a hearty jungle full of incredible plants and animals, now extinct.
For example, there used to live Hipparion, a small three toed horse which is no more. And there was an artist rendition of the Swatherium, a relative of the giraffe. It showed stripes on the legs, but a brown body and huge ears. Its teeth were similar to the giraffes and it ate leaves like the giraffe.
One of my favorite subjects. I had breakfast buffet which costs $20. a day here and is all one can get. Typical buffet with bacon, sausage, omelets made to order and then, there was Ethiopian bread and Fasting Fir Fir, is a vegetarian dish with a bit of kick to it. Yummy and you break off the bread and scoop the Fir Fir up and eat. Loved it and thought of Kenz and Logan in the Ethiopian restaurant in DC. Heard one American whining because his omelet was overcooked and I wanted to tell him to try the Fir Fir, but didn't. For dinner, I ate Zil Zil Tibs, again a dish with some spice and kick to it. Chopped up beef cooked in tomato, green pepper, onion and spices which is scooped up with the bread. Yummy.
I was supposed to go out this afternoon with Taboutu to see something but she came to get me late so we just had a cup of tea and she filled me in on the media landscape here. Am going to The Reporter to work for the next three days, starting tomorrow morning.
Oh, and I should mention that I asked the concierge to get me a cab to go to the National Museum. He called his buddy in the travel company housed inside the Hilton who came to get me. The boss man told me it would cost me 324 Birr. Now, while waiting to get my cash earlier from the ATM, I had met a young man working here and he told me it would cost at most 54 Birr each way. I got up and said I would call a real cab. Bye Bye. About ten seconds later, the man came running after me and told me he could take me there and back for 120 Birr. I agreed and then he wanted the money then. Told him I would pay him when the driver picked me up...not before. He just him. But irritating that folks look at me and think..."ah, old white woman, she is an easy mark." How wrong can they be??
World Cup has started and a huge party here in the hotel and the bar was about 10 people deep, not that I wanted to be there. They were, of course, all men and drunk!!

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