Friday, March 29, 2013

Rick's Ramblings - Day 3 - Fri, 3/29/2013

We went the entire day without any internet.  All of Addis Ababa was without internet today.  It just came back up this evening.  So I’m thankful that we have some connection with everyone back home again.   

Breakfast with Joel
We did have an incredible day.  We all woke up between 4a-5a and were wide awake.  So we took our time getting ready for the day.  We went up for a great continental breakfast here at that hotel.  Our guide Joel joined us and we had a great time getting acquainted more.  He even taught us a few words in Aramaic.

After breakfast we exchanged our single bed room for one with two beds.  We’re now on the fourth floor and the stairs are wearing us all out.  :)  This higher altitude and the heat I think is having it’s toll.  But I’m sure it’ll get easier as the week continues.  They do have an elevator but it’s only big enough for about two adults comfortably.  Any more than that and it’s a group hug.

After getting settled into our new room we decided on going around town and visiting some of the markets and shops.  There are shops everywhere you look here.  Joel took us to the more reputable ones that he shops at.  

Connie Making a Scarf
Our first stop was the Former Women's Fuelwood Carriers Association.  They make beautiful scarves.  Connie got to sit down at one of the looms and learn how to make a scarf.  She worked it quite well.  We tried to get Emily to try but she was too shy at the time.  However, Emily did insist on going over and seeing the kids in the school.  They were kindergarteners and were working on counting to 60 in both English and Aramaic.  Emily would've loved to stay and do school and play with them.  We were fortunate enough to be able to go into the classroom and sit there for several minutes as observers.

While walking from shop to shop we were approached by more than 20 different street vendors who didn’t have shops there.  They aren’t suppose to be there and the police would scare them away with sticks.  Sometimes they’d use the stick lightly to get their attention and show that they meant business.  We’re so thankful for our guide Joel.  He really helped us negotiate and get some great deals on items.  Negotiating is expected and is a lot of fun, for the first few hours.  :)

Buying Some Fruit
Emily and Joel became fast friends today and they played a lot.  He’s great with kids and said that there are several children Emily’s age in his home.  His entire family lives in the same house (Parents & 8 Children, plus spouses and their children).  He says that he loves being a part of a big family and loves all of his nieces and nephews.

We stopped for a late lunch at Lucy’s (next to the Ethiopian National Museum) and had an amazing chicken and artichoke pizza.  Joel ordered injera (spongy sourdough flatbread), qocho (made from a fake banana plant, tastes similar to flattened bread) and kitfo (a spicy minced beef) and shared it all with us.  The kitfo was spicy but very good and he showed me how to dip it in the berbere (spicy chili powder) which added a nice touch.  Emily loved the Injera as well, but wasn’t so keen on the kitfo that was with it.  We all enjoyed one their traditional St George beers that Ethiopia is famous for.  It was very smooth and I actually enjoyed the taste.  I’m not a beer drinker and usually don’t enjoy it.  But this was very pleasant and I’d drink it again with a meal.  Emily and I also shared a strawberry milkshake that was amazing.  Excellent food at Lucy’s and I’d highly recommend it.

Chicken Avacado Pizza
After lunch we went to a travel agency that was recommended to us for purchasing tickets to Dire Dawa.  The only dates they had available were the two days prior to court.  So we’re not going to be able to make it out to baby sisters birth town.  We really wanted to make it there but it’s too close to court and we can’t risk missing court.  So we will be back someday to make a trip to Dire Dawa and enjoy this amazing culture again.

Mall in Bolle
After that we went back out to find some dresses for the girls.  We went to a mall in the section of town called Bolle.  There was a section of the mall that was packed with dresses and shirts.  There were probably at least 20 vendors in this pit that was long and narrow.  There was room for about 1.5 people to walk side by side.  The women kept saying “Mister, mister” as they’d show me shirts or dresses for Connie.  It was hard to find what you really liked and even harder to turn down what you didn’t.  They were all very persistent.  Emily slept through the entire experience on pop pop’s lap at the edge of the store.  She was very tired after all the running around and over stimulation in the markets.

We finally headed home after the mall and we are all exhausted.  Pop pop, Connie and Emily passed out right away.  I wanted to but I knew you’d all be excited for an update and to hear from us.  I took a ton of photos today and below are a few of them.  At some point I’ll post more.  I took a few video clips today too that I’m hoping to edit and add soon as well.  So stay tuned for those.

Addis View Hotel

Drying Red Chili Peppers

Emily making friends everywhere we go

Connie trying on one of several dresses

Larry, Moe & Curley

Livestock run free on the streets and everywhere

Emily Fitting in 

Eucalyptus scaffolding used during construction

Emily watching a lady spin thread

Its been a long day
Pop Pop and Emily in their new African threads