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“I hate everything”

By on May 25, 2011 in Ethiopia with No Comments


Great things about Addis Ababa:

  • Our hotel – The Wassamar Hotel
  • Habesha Restaurant

Bad things about Addis Ababa:

  • Everything else

Sentiment of the moment is, “I hate everything”.  My bag has now been lost for 4 days, soon to be 13 (at least) as we won’t have a permanent address in Rwanda.  We have had to show up every day at the Addis airport to get compensated $50 a day (3 days max.) and by now the staff at the security gate are turning away and politely coughing when I take off my shoes.  As it is, we’ve been sitting in the Emirates office for an hour and a half waiting for someone to help us.  Ide has fallen asleep on the surprisingly comfy chairs.  I don’t think we’re supposed to be in here as it is deserted and the door was semi-locked.  Funnily enough it was a little flimsy, so with a tad of wiggling, and a small bit of brute force we have broken in.  A security guard has just noticed us, but I am refusing to leave until I get every cent of my $50.

We came to Ethiopia for the food, and were not disappointed.  However, the rest of the city is just a dump.  We veered out of downtown to “the largest market in Africa”, the Mercato.  Think rows and rows of complete crap, boring stores.  Plain clothes, patent leather shoes (and not the thigh-high “lick-my-boots bitch” kind), patent leather handbags, baseball caps (which I had to buy, having lost my stylish dirty white one with the rest of my luggage).  The place has no flavor.  Sierra Leone was full of color with many of the woman wearing traditional bright patterns and the men with secondhand US t-shirts with inappropriate slogans (for example, “Bear seeks Cub” – those in SF may know what that means).  Here, everything is drab.  Either poorly fitting business suits or shades of gray shirts and jeans.  The only interesting dressers are the hookers, and even they don’t wear skirts, just super skin-tight knockoff jeans (seems like that would be kind of inconvenient for maximum thoroughfare, but what do I know?).  There is no constant screaming and arguing, very little honking (in comparison), and no collective goodwill when the power turns on.  We did see an old man get hit by a car, which was sad.

We spent forever walking around based on a useless map sold to us by a street vendor.  We searched for Haile Selassie’s* palace, which turned out to be a dreary looking museum with a few swords, a faded throne which looked closer to the 1970’s than the 1930’s, and a couple of monkey bones in display cases.  You would think that “Lucy” – a hominid discovered in 1974 in Ethiopia estimated to be around 3.2 million years old – would garner some major attention, but she (a replica) was unceremoniously dumped in a poorly lit basement in the museum with a few curling photocopies describing her history.  Incidentally, a new hominid, Ardi, was found in 1994, pushing back the earliest known hominid date to 4.4 million years ago.

Except for the wonderful staff in our hotel, many people are kind of a**holes here.  The adults are trying to pawn off their junk on you, and the kids are obnoxious little pickpockets who need a big smack in the head.  Yesterday Ide felt a little hand in his pocket and I felt one up my dress – YUCK!  Fortunately we were both carrying large cups of scalding hot coffee, which we splashed in their eyes and they dispersed quickly.  Okay, we didn’t really do that, but I thought about it.  Speaking of which, a beggar kid came up to the taxi window today and half his face was burned off.  He had a bulging red eyeball and a huge gaping hole where his mouth should have been – right out of Hollywood.  A nicer person would be sympathetic, but I mostly just felt revulsion.

If you like crap museums and old churches you’d have a grand time here.  I’m sure Mr Koroma would be in rapture. But thank god we’re off to Rwanda tomorrow – where I will be mountain climbing in a mini-skirt.

I reckon I should get some type of commission from PayPal as I have now worn Marion’s PayPal Top Customer hoodie every day from Sierra Leone to Ghana to Dubai to Ethiopia, and tomorrow to Rwanda.  I am spreading the joy of ‘fast, in the know, and on your side’ worldwide.

I’m now in the hotel lobby where a loud American lady is speaking into her cell phone so loudly that I can hear both sides of the conversation.  Phrases like “allocate our resources accordingly”, “skin in the game”, “raw product”, “vetting”, and “briefed them” are filtering over and giving me chills.

Must be time for bed.  Tomorrow, Rwanda.

*Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopian and African history. His internationalist views led to Ethiopia becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have proved seminal and enduring.  Haile Selassie is revered as the returned Messiah of the Bible, God incarnate, among the Rastafari movement.  Quote: Wikipedia

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