*** Day 6: Saturday, April 12, 2014
This morning I went down to breakfast and quickly heard the distinct echo of a chorus of American voices. There is a rather large tour group at my hotel filled with giddy teenagers from the States. It’s good for them that they are seeing Ethiopia at such a young age.
I’m all set to travel south of Addis tomorrow to the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region. I was in the Amhara region on Wednesday and Thursday. Addis is the capital of the Oromia region.
I have a driver with a Land Cruiser (you can’t drive long distances in Africa without one) all set to pick me up in the morning and then I’m off with a local “fixer” who is working with me to make sure I get around OK and who will help me when people can’t understand my English, or in general don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m simplifying his role a lot in jest. He is an important part of making this planning trip easier and will travel with me all week as I venture south and even more south.
The weather in Addis, by the way, has been quite pleasant. It hasn’t been hot at all; in fact, it’s been very mild, and the sun has been shining every day. With an altitude of 7500 feet the weather is perpetually nice here. In a word it’s been beautiful! I am a little sad that the June trip will take place at the beginning of the rainy season and beautiful, sunny days will be more scarce. At least it will be the beginning of the rainy season and not during the drenching height of it.
This evening I went out and took a few photos since it is my last night in Addis until I get back next week. I also enjoyed a quick macchiato before I headed up to write. And, of course, I took the obligatory coffee shot because the coffee here is, not surprisingly, phenomenal!
You might not have known that coffee originated in Ethiopia. Many of the locals have told me I need to go to the birthplace of coffee to see it. Maybe next time.
Since it’s the Easter season, many (most!) Ethiopians have been fasting. They are supposed to fast for 55 days before Easter. That means they can’t eat meat or dairy. If you’re a vegetarian, be sure to visit Ethiopia during this time as you can find some of the best vegetarian food around.
Tonight (it’s about 11:20 pm as I write this) I am taking advantage of the amount of sleep I will get. Tomorrow is Hosanna and the travel company where I hired the driver told me to get a late start in the day because a lot of people will be going to church in the morning. A late start? Twist my arm.
More tomorrow from a new city in the south of Ethiopia!