I was pleased to manage to get out of Addis this morning, a little bit at least. Shimeles, one of the DFID drivers, picked me up at 9am and we drove north past Arat Kilo and Siddist Kilo through Shiro Meda – where there are countless stalls selling textiles – up into the hills of Entoto.
The roads were thronged with people – everyone going to church. We had a walk up in the hills, looking at views of Addis, and then drove on through Entoto to the main road that goes north to the Blue Nile bridge. Amazing landscapes – wide expansive plains and then big mountains. Shacks by the side of the road. People herding goats and cows towards Addis. Mules or donkeys fully loaded with wood. Oh, and women loaded up with eucalyptus wood to sell in Addis for a dollar per big bundle, which must take nearly a whole day to collect and transport to Addis. The area north of Addis is in the region of Oromia. In contrast to Amharic, Oromofia uses the Roman/Latin alphabet, so hotels are hooteles or something like that. I tried to find out how come Oromofia uses that alphabet whereas Amharic doesn’t, but drew a bit of a blank. However, it seems that the switch from Ge’ez – the script that Amharic continues to use – to the Roman/Latin alphabet was made quite recently.
Then we drove back to Addis taking the road that ends up at Piazza and did a tour of Mercato, Old Airport area, back towards the Bole road – past the abbatoir (which did not have me reconsidering my non-meat-eating ways) – and up to Meskel square. We then went back to Shiro Meda for a bit of perusing of the stalls and visited a project for women who have had enough of carrying fuelwood to addis and would rather weave. Notable that men don’t carry huge piles of sticks to Addis under a scorching sun for $1 per day. Only women. And mules. Bloomin’ mules, out-competing the men from lucrative work. More photos here.
Oh, we did pass the monster doves up near siddist kilo. I was going to take a photo, but apparently it’s where the ethiopian pope – pope-equivalent – lives and people don’t much like you taking photos of his monster doves.