Welcome to Ethiopia

Ethiopia is immediately striking as a country unique. It welcomes us with its distinct people, language, sights, smells, tastes, and sounds. We arrive in Addis Ababa (አዲስ አበባ in Amharic) on 30 April 2012 (22 August 2004 according to the Ethiopian calendar) at 09:45am (03:45 in the morning Ethiopian time). We are greeted at the airport by a parking lot full of blue Communist-era cars whose drivers bargain energetically with us to bring us to our guesthouse. Our first lunch is cappuccino and mille-feuille. We are baffled by the dinner menu which lists mysterious-sounding items such as “fir-fir”, “kai-wat”, “fasting benyaneytu”, “fish coutelet”, and “spiggtti”; only to find that there is only one dish available – injera with a ridiculous quantity of roast lamb – and no vegetables whatsoever, as Ethiopians are happily gorging themselves on meat after fasting for 55 days during Ethiopian Orthodox Lent.

taxis in Meskel Square

Churchill Avenue viewed from the south, leading to downtown Addis Ababa

Hmm… what to order?

Amongst our welcoming party is this man, whose music is sure to accompany us throughout Ethiopia (sometimes non-stop) over the next few weeks.

Ethiopia’s man of the hour: Teddy Afro