Addis Ababa (Abeba) (in Ahmaric means “new flower”) is at the 5th place on a list of National Capital ordered by altitude (2355m)
Addis Ababa – Really hard to explain the feelings we had about that city. When we were reaching the city, we needed to watch out for plenty of potholes on the road (Sometimes perfectly covered by a puddle as it was raining most of the time) and also other drivers. Traffic was a little bit chaotic, but still nothing in comparison to Cairo.
On the outskirts of the city, it was really noisy and dusty, but when we getting closer to the city centre, Addis looked more like a modern African business centre. Ethiopian capital is an odd blend of past and present. There is plenty of Old Imperial statues and emblems alongside hammer and sickle posters of the former Marxist regime; lost of austere Italian Fascist building and luxurious old hotels. On the other hand, there is plenty of night clubs, modern bars and restaurants, which serve both national and cosmopolitan cuisine (Many bars and restaurants still host traditional shows of music and dance, plus organise coffee ceremony). On the streets you can see priests in robes, homeless people sleeping on the streets and Africans dressed in modern suits, young Ethiopian women wearing fashionable cloths and shepherds with the herds of goats or sheeps, dressed not very well, but holding awesome cell phones. In general – If I have to use one word to describe Addis I would say: different. Addis also seems to be friendly city and remarkably safe in comparison to some of African capitals
Ankober Guest House and Wutma restaurant – where to stay and eat at PIASSA district
In Addis we spent more than a week. We were camping at the parking of ANKOBER Guest House. We were charged 100 birrs/night
Ankober Guest House
Address: Piassa Muniyem street, Addis Ababa
Tel: 011 111 2350
Teddy (the Manager) and one of the front desk girls – Helen were very friendly, talkative and helpful. We also could use bathroom and take hot shower, wherever we asked for it. We didn’t stay in any of the rooms, but we saw them; they were simple, but very clean. Moreover, as a curiosity in every room you could find a free condom (!). It seems that Ethiopians have been raising awareness about HIV and other sexual diseases and now they promote safe sex.
In front of Ankober Guest House, there is a place called Wutma Hotel and Restaurant. We have never seen how the rooms look like, but we definitely recommend to everybody Wutma restaurant! If you want to try excellent, national Ethiopian food without spending a fortune – go there. Charlie loved the most a meal called WUTMA SPECIAL (basically ingera with ingera plus meat ad lots of veggies – massive portion). They also serve different kinds of pasta (Spinachi was my favourite)
Furthermore, Mahatma restaurant offers awesome machismos for 5 Birrs (0,25 USD) and amazing tea for 4 Birrs (0,20 USD)
Moreover, if you need free WI-FI, Wutma would be the place, where you might catch some reception..if you are lucky:)
Internet in Ethiopia
Generally, the internet in Ethiopia is available in bigger cities, but connection is mainly really bad…fast connections… What is fast connection?!? (Pretty much rare and exclusive thing). I also noticed that plenty of businesses in Ethiopia have lots of business cards, but I couldn’t find any company websites on them- that I guess confirms that the internet in that country is not very ideal.
Wutma Restaurant is also a special place to us as we met for a second time, amazing traveller Beck, who is also very interested in African politics and affair (I haven’t mentioned that before, but we met for the first time in Gondar at Belegez Pension, and to be honest we have never expected to meet again in different place during our travels). Basically Wutma was our place of meetings, chatting and spending time in an awesome atmosphere.
Ethiopians suffers as their Prime Mister is announced to dead
Before we went to Ethiopia we had found out that Ethiopian Prime Minister died…His death caused lots of chaos not only in the country but also in Ethiopian Embassies all over the World…For example getting visa was almost imposible as everybody was in mourning. The Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was a very signifant figure in Ethiopian Politics and History. He was a rebel leader of Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and chairman of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Those groups were fighting against Colonel Mengistu and the Derg, the junta which lead Ethiopia under iron fist from 1974 to 1991. After Ethiopian Civil War in 1991, Zenawi became the president of the transitional government of Ethiopia, and from 1995 to 2012 he was the Prime Minister. Meles Zenawi to Ethiopia was who, Nelson Mandela was to South Africa and Lech Walesa to Poland…(Sort of ikon of liberation of the country).
We didn’t attend the funeral of Ethiopian Prime Minister in Addis, but Beck did and I got her permission to uplod some of her photos on our blog. Moreover I am adding some of her posts connected with funeral ceremony from her blog (more seriously good photos included)
”For two months the people of Ethiopia have had no idea whether their Prime Minister was dead or alive and there were several false alarms suggesting that he died sometime during this period.” Interested?? Read more here
Ethiopian’s Prime Minister is announced to dead
“Zenawi’s coffin rested in royal Palace and was visited by an estimated 2 million Ethiopians in the days leading up to the funeral.”
Photos from Prime Minister memorial Service
‘Red Terror’ Martyrs Memorial Museum
Regarding the Prime Minister and the Derg – We visited Museum, which revels the horrors of life under Mengistu’s Derg regime. It was opened in 2010, many guides don’t have info about it, but it is worthy to visit. Walls of photos and names of just little percentage of the estimated half of million killed people under the Derg, cabinets filled with human remains, skulls and other bones with a photo of the victim – those are thing you will see there and which get you emotional
Pharmacies and getting heath advice…Ethiopian style…
In Addis, unfortunately we got bitten by some little insects/bugs as our arms and legs were covered by red, very itchy pustules. We went to 3 different pharmacies to get some help, but we got 3 various diagnosis…In first chemist we were advised that red spots were after bugs and we got antibacterial soap…In the second chemist we got a lotion from India against some serious skin diseases, but the guy wasn’t really sure what was it and he also said that that might have been side effect after doxycycline (pills we were taking against malaria). In the third pharmacy we only got a lotion, which gives relief after mosquito bites…Hmmm hard times.. but we think that the lady from the first pharmacy was the closest to the truth as soap was helpful and when we left Addis, pimples started vanishing.
Addis – plenty of garages and car shops with mostly Chinese parts…
Addis was the place where Charlie decided to buy at least, two new, more off road-ish tyres.One of the worst part of roads in Africa was still ahead of us. All of our tyres were already chewed and almost without traction. Charlie was driving around those garages and car shops for long time. There was lots of used ones and their condition were similar to ours or worse, and also most of the new tyres, which Charlie saw, were Chinese and we didn’t really want to buy them as we didn’t know how long they would last for. Finally.. Charlie found what he was looking for and we bought two brand new tyres (Yokohama) for 5400 Birrs (300 USD)...It was a good decision, as we could feel the different in traction immediately – much, much better (Plus because these tyres were slightly bigger than previous ones, the back of our Rusty was a little bit higher)
The place we got our brand new Japanese tyres:
MELAK Trading P.L.C (Tire, Battery Importer and Distributor)
General Manager: Idris Ahmed
Kera phone: +251 11 466 2502/00
Rusty 2 Africa Ads
Due to safety reasons we didn’t put any colourful stickers or ads on our van. We didn’t want to be visible in Syria or Egypt…We thought that white van was the best idea as it should have been perceived as ordinary car. Nevertheless, we really wanted to put some stickers on Rusty, to make it more personal and fancy. Totally by accident we found poster of the company INFINITY, which prints business cards. We visited them and they said that they not only print posters, stickers and ext.., but also design logos and similar stuff for their customers. We asked how much few big stickers to cover half of our van would cost and the manager after seeing our car said that it would be around 20USD!!! No, I didn’t make a mistake – for all stickers we had on Rusty we paid only 20 USD!!! We were told that designing and putting them on the van should take 1 or 2 days…Well it took around a week really, but it was awesome to spend some time in that Ad Agency and create our logo with those nice people. We had lots of fun!!!