A weekend in Addis Abeba
It was a few weeks ago since I was in Ethiopia now but the impressions of that little trip are still strong. I have not prioritized sitting infront of my computer after work or when traveling the last couple of weeks and the blog posts are not writing themselves but now, finally I am getting my impressions to print. So now to the big question, how was it to travel to Ethiopia? My ultimate goal for this weekend was to see a bit of the real Africa and to participate in the cultural event and Africas largest running event, the Great Ethiopian run.
Where to stay?
I decided to go for an international hotel chain since I wanted to get some kind of standard where I live. My experience with Africa is limited and I did at least wanted to have a safe place so I checked in at the Hilton hotel. The room was quite outdated and no less than three times during my two days there the power went out. But the pool area was awesome. It was around 25 degrees warm and sunny during my whole stay so I spent most of the time at the pool. Many expats were enjoying the hotel amenities during the weekend. I got a few recommendations about local restaurants but I didn’t went to any. I know you can be sick from eating at the hotel also but it did at least felt more safe. The food was very expensive though. 20EUR for a burger and 7EUR for a coke. And the service was maniana style.
Addis outside of the hotelzone
It was poor. The infrastructure was less developed that I ever could imagine. Not many skyscrapers or even high buildings and a few that was partially built made up the skyline of Addis. At an elevation of over 2000 meters above sea level Addis is located so the air was pretty thin compared to Stockholm. You could really notice that Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Of the 189 countries in the world, Ethiopia is ranked 173 in terms of development and that you could notice. The infrastructure wasn’t there. Addis Ababa park was one of the sights I wanted to see but it was more looking like an area that someone has left well protected 10 years ago without putting any love into at all. There was a fence around but impossible to get into for a stroll.
I was not feeling afraid walking around outside. During the race I talked to a lady working at the French embassy in Addis and she had moved there a year ago from Kenya and she said she felt so much safer in Addis compared to Nairobi where violence was out there all the time. Here in Addis she could go out herself for dinner without taking any transport.
Coke anyone? this was one of just a few street vendors I saw. In a bit richer countries trading on the streets is obvious but here it wasn’t. I guess because the majority of people can’t afford buying goods spontaneously.
Here was the street in best condition in the whole city, Menelik II Avenue, from those I saw. Addis is not that big and during the run we covered 10K which was in quite a poor standard with holes.
In this area also the UN office was located and by judging from the signs outside the headquarter and also from all security checks at the airport and when going into a hotel violence must exist in the city.
Here is a glimpse from another street I walked by when I was out doing some sightseeing by foot. It was a pretty interesting city to see, like nothing I have ever experienced before and I did feel so alive and happy for what we have at home when being here. It is just lottery where you get born and when walking the streets in Addis I think being a Swede is the highest price you can get. Going to places like these makes me appreciate things at home much, much more.
At this picture you can see some apartments that I found in the more upscale neighborhood of Addis. I could imagine that expats were living there.
The trip to the capital of Ethiopia was as you can see very exciting. I have never seen the real Africa before this and that will be a travel goal for 2020, to make one trip to a new developing country in Africa. Gambia is a bit tempting after the stories I read at Resamedvetet’s blog. Never stop exploring, right?
Questions on Addis?
/ Pernilla the globetrotter