It was a pretty unremarkable 7 hours back to London. The food was better in that it was edible and there were two full meals. Cast your mind back (or scroll down if you prefer) what seems like 100 years ago to the pic of three sad looking meatballs in a gloopy red sauce. Definitely not a good introduction to Ethiopian cuisine. This time around I was treated to a delicious fish in butter sauce, crackers, bread roll (with good butter!) awful chocolate mousse thing (why do Gate Gourmet insist on serving those?) cranberry snack bar thing and a beef steak with mash and the obligatory soggy carrots.
The flight passed pretty quickly with Mrs Doubtfire, a docu on food in New Delhi, half a boring Australian film about an Indian kid who gets adopted (true story apparently) and roughly ten minutes of the Garfield Movie (ten minutes of my life completely shattered)
So will I be back?
But right now I'm looking forward to a pizza that comes with CHEESE and doesn't appear alongside a platter of injera.
It always amuses me watching people go through airport security.
Addis Ababa Bole Airport has lots of security.
Generally manned by staff who don’t quite know why they have to sit in front of a screen showing the outline of Ferrangi shoes but someone somewhere has ordered it so it must be done.
The electricity went down as it often does passing through my fifth full scan before Departures, so instead of simply waiting or opening the gate, the geniuses of Ethiopian aviation decided to manually push each item through the machine while intently studying a blank screen.
But yes, the security and in particular the giant arch thing you are required to step through at airports worldwide.
I say ‘step’, I’ve noticed a wide variation on ways to get through these things, not just in Africa but around the globe:
It’s been a week since I last posted.
I haven’t actually done very much!
I’ve been relaxing in a gorgeous apartment opposite Lamberet Bus Station, applying for jobs back home and eating surprisingly authentic Spaghetti Carbonara in the café on the floor below.
Today I head back over to Kera for my last two nights.
Atelfugne, where my journey began about a century ago and where it will end.
I could quite easily turn this into a long running blog of UK employment timewasters (I’ve had three this week alone) but I won’t. I have landed an assessment day at McDonalds Headquarters in September though which I’m looking forward to.
I definitely have mixed feelings about leaving Addis Ababa.
While it definitely isn’t the easiest place to live (I’m writing this offline as the electricity has gone down again, no breakfast carbonara for me) it has ‘something’
A strangely stoic gritty charm.
I can’t think of many countries other than Ethiopia where I’ve simultaneously wanted to bludgeon the entire population into the bodywork of what’s left of their little blue Ladas yet have their babies.
Ethiopians (and Addis Ababans in particular) are a total contradiction.
Waitresses will stand and watch for 45 minutes as you patiently wait for a menu yet will then insist on spooning sugar into your coffee.
People on the street will glare suspiciously until the ice is broken and then instantly become a friend for life.
Taxi drivers will refuse to move for less than ten times the local price and then give you 100 birr back at the end of the journey.
Addis itself is as grubby as any other major city in Sub Saharan Africa yet at the same time the citizens go out of their way to be neat and tidy.
When I think back to my first morning, arriving at Bole Airport following a long overnight flight and driving through the slums, my first reaction was “What the hell am I getting into?!”
My cabbie warned me about Kera as we dodged beggars in the road hidden under hoods and he gave me an early Amharic lesson.
Now 100 years on I more or less recreated the journey but from Lemberet. It was a long ride through the craziest of African urban traffic. My driver tapped what was left of his car and sang along to Teddy Afro. I gave him directions in Amharic, obviously an impossibility on my arrival.
Arriving back at Atelefugne I was greeted by name and shoulder bumped.
My stomach is feeling a bit delicate so it was nearly a case of projectile vomit shoulder bumping.
I know what it was. I stupidly ordered the eggs after a particularly lengthy power-cut.
I’m not going to let a potentially deadly stomach infection stop me though.
Today’s plan is a return to Sishu Burger/Embwa Creamery followed tomorrow by a sunset photo trip to the old train station in Legahar.
If only I could get rid of the omnipresent scent of rotten eggs in my wake.
Dinner tonight is some dry biscuits and a bottle of coke.
I was definitely Ferrangi priced in the little shack that passes for a shop for this feast.
Every restaurant in the town is closed owing to the water outage.
The shit is building up around town and the next toddler to bounce up to me, jamming his sticky little hand in mine is going to get minced.
It’s a cholera outbreak just waiting to happen. The internet has also been down for most of the last two days and has just gone again.
Surprisingly the electricity has been quite stable for a change.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. Just as I reach the puking phlegm stage of a cold.
My toilet bowl is full of vomit and has been since this morning.
Apparently the villagers contacted whatever department deals with water and they promised to send someone out this afternoon.
It’s now 19:37 and the evening monsoon storm is about to roll in.
As if anything is going to get fixed in that!
I think my next voyage will be Switzerland.
Probably Dignitas if the last three days are anything to go by.
At least the Dignitas clinic has water and probably working Wifi.
Some Germans have arrived and are complaining loudly.
There’s not a lot the hotel receptionist can do although he did work miracles on my cold.
A concoction of tea, some mystery local herbs, garlic and something he assured me is unique to Ethiopia, ‘honey’.
It meant I progressed quickly to the nasty final green vomit stage-and then the water went.