11 January 2011

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

While I never imagined myself traveling to Ethiopia, I found it to be a very fascinating place. My trip was occasioned by my need to renew my visa. Kenya Immigration requires one to leave East Africa and then re-enter Kenya. So... I chose Ethiopia as my destination and decided to make the most of it.

Ethiopia is one of only two countries in Africa that was not colonized by a European country. It is one of the few African countries with it's own alphabet and they also use their own time system and a unique calendar. The 2nd most populous country on the continent, Ethiopia is believed to be one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists.

Its religious history is quite interesting - with a blend of Judaism, Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, and Islam. Ethiopian tradition states that a temple in Axum (in the northern part of the country) is the current location of the lost Ark of the Covenant. They further believe that the Queen of Sheba hailed from their land and that she and King Solomon had a child together.

Haile Sallasie is their revered former emperor, ruling from 1930-1974. He was an heir to a dynasty that traced its origin to the 13th century - and before that - all the way back to King Solomon.

I hope you will enjoy a sampling of the photos I took during my 4-day stay.

Addis Ababa has many beggars on its streets - far more than I see in Nairobi. These two guys were the lucky recipients of all my coins on my last day there. They were quite obviously thrilled with the gesture!

Structures near a church on Entoto Mountain

One of many Orthodox Churches that I saw

A man prays at the church

This young guy was selling hand-made caps; behind us is Addis Ababa

A deliciously thick, layered fresh fruit smoothie. From the top down - strawberry, mango, guava, and avocado. Yummy!

Addis has coffee shops all over the place. However, since I'm not a fan of coffee, I was thrilled to make the discovery of peanut "tea" - thick and filling! It simply consists of crushed peanuts and boiled water.

I'm told that no trip to Addis is complete without a visit to one of the many restaurants serving injera (their staple food) and with traditional dancers and music. I went to two different ones and thoroughly enjoyed myself! The fellow above was one of the musicians at Habesha.

Dancers at Yod Abyssinia

Washing my hands before eating

This is injera, Ethiopia's staple food

Holy Trinity is the highest ranking Orthodox cathedral in Addis Ababa and is the 2nd most important place of worship in all of Ethiopia. This gentleman has just finished his prayers.

Women arriving to pray at Holy Trinity

Statue of Halie Sallasie outside the cathedral

Behind the maroon curtains is the Holy of Holies

Men praying; the women are in a different area

Many shops had a row of mannequins with humorous poses like this

An art exhibit of Amharic characters at the National Museum

A sign written in Amharic; many Ethiopians do not speak English

A young man with his trained monkey

Washa Michael is a church carved from rock in the 4th century

I'm standing next to the baptistry

Our tour guide(s), Larry and Bernadette (an American couple), and Zerhiun 

School kids on their way home

At 7,700 feet in elevation (1,700 feet higher than where I live in Nairobi), I found Addis Ababa to be rather chilly in the evenings. I bought this wrap to help me stay warm. In this photo, I'm at Yod Abyssinia Restaurant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd already commented on this? Maybe just in an email?

I love the purple school uniforms and that smoothie looks DIVINE!

(oh I know, I commented on the Facebook pictures!!)