Friday, November 23, 2012

Back to Bora, Ethiopia Trip -- Day 8

Again, I woke first the morning of our first day in Addis, and took a seat on the small fenced porch of the Addis Guesthouse, editing one of my novels while I watched people walk by.  The sun was warm, and air chilly as I downed a couple of delicious coffees.. The experience was pleasant and I was left largely unmolested until a few of the other started to drift downstairs for breakfast.

After an unremarkable meal, we headed off to the Red Terror museum, a small museum which traced the history of Ethiopia from the end of Haile Selassie's reign through the end of Mengistu period of terror (1974-1991).  During that time, close to 2 million Ethiopians were killed for political reasons.  This happened during my time as a teen and adult, and yet I don't recall ever hearing a single word about it.  The era was tragic, and the museum depicts it in a respectful and moving way.  Man's capacity for cruelty to his fellow man is always shocking, but the lack of international attention to these terrible events causes all of us to share a tiny measure of the guilt. This kind of horror simply should not occur in the modern world without notice and intervention.

I believe we visited the Mercato next.  This is main market area of the city, and is always (at least as far as I can tell) crazy with people.  Our driver took us directly to a spice stall, and I bought a bag of coffee there, while some of the others in the group purchased spices for Ethiopian cooking (shiro, berbere).
Typical traffic in the Mercato

This guy was carrying a few mattresses just outside of the Mercato
Then it was off to a barista, where I bought another bag of coffee, and everyone else loaded up on coffee, too.
They roast and mill coffee right here at the shop
We ate lunch at an Italian restaurant which was quite good, although I cannot recall the name.

This is where things get a little fuzzy -- I think we went to St. Mary's Church on Entoto Mountain next.  The Church was one of the first built in the Addis Area, and is quite a ways up the mountain.  It is not particularly large, but the attached museum is very interesting, displaying clothing and furnishing from the time of Mendlik II and Haile Selassie.  We skirted the Church, and did not enter, but behind it was a "palace" used by Mendlik which is nicely preserved, although unfurnished.
St. Mary's Church on Entoto

A view of part of the Mendlik Palace on Entoto

A view of Addis from St. Mary's Church
We went back to the hotel for a siesta afterward, and then set out in search of a cake.  The cake was intended to be a gift at our next stop, the Dejene home.  This is the home of two of our guides (Dawit and Israel) their sisters (two of whom traveled with the medical team) as well as their parents.  The visit was wonderful and moving, with the family pulling back the furniture in the living room, and singing and dancing.  We all could feel the love and warmth of this family, and It made me reflect on how the modern world tended to pull people apart, making this level of family closeness much less common.

We then went to dinner at Yod Abyssinia, a cultural (touristy) restaurant.  This was a little like the refined, city version of what we experienced in Dhorze.  We were served Habasha food (local Ethiopian fare), and watched as dancers performed cultural dances from various regions of Ethiopia.
Food at Yod Abyssinia

Musicians at Yod Abyssinia
While a few of out team went out to dance at clubs, I next went to bed.  Tomorrow was going to be our final day in Ethiopia, and I was hoping for a few new experiences to be the icing on the cake.

I'm afraid I have to confess becoming a little mixed up as to what happened on which day during our two days in Addis Ababa.  My apologies to those who traveled with me -- I may have the order wrong on some of this, or I may forget some items altogether.  Post to correct me if you find an error....

Photos courtesy of Curt Good.

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