Saturday, January 22, 2011

Astounding Addis Ababa

After my first full day in Africa, my senses are whimpering for respite.

I’m not sure whether it’s the thick pollution; the crowds of unwashed humanity (such a change after the sterility of Bahrain); the overwhelming number of crippled, mangled, diseased and leprous people begging on the streets; or the sheer noise and, colour and volume of the population, but I’m ready to fall deeply into unconsciousness and shut it all out for a while.

I’m a little drink, I mean, drunk, on honey wine too, which doesn’t help. Known as tej, honey wine tastes like spoiled, fermented orange juice – with an aftertaste of ant. Mmmm. Ant.

I gratefully downed the full 500 mL I was poured at dinner at Yod Abyssinian, a loud and noisy restaurant where you can eat your fill of injera, the local food, while watching traditional Ethiopian tribal dancing – which is quite something to behold. The place was packed full of local people, except for the faranji – foreigners – in suits, who I presume work for one of the many NGOs who are headquartered here in Addis Ababa. I saw my first UN vehicle today, and check out this US aid sack being used as a rubbish bin.
But back to dinner: this is the kind of woven table made out of local grass that injera is served on, and here is a photo of the injera I had for dinner.

It took a while to get the technique of eating with my fingers (right hand only, NEVER use your left hand as that is reserved for less ahem, wholesome activities), but I managed to drop something on myself only once. I am absolutely stuffed …. I think what I really need is to lie down on the bed and moan a little. The honey wine had to find its way into the tiny gaps left in my stomach after I plugged the entire organ with goat meat, cabbage, and red bean chiro. Sooooo yummy – but now I hurt a bit. I haven’t been this full in ages.

There is much more to report, but I am about to head into deepest darkest Africa, where I’m told there may be internet ... and there may not be. I don't even know if these photos are going to upload properly, so I'll count myself lucky if I can connect at all.
So this may be my last post for a while, but rest assured – I am taking notes; and I will re-establish the lines of communication as soon as technology allows.


willywagtail said...

Deepest, darest Africa is such a funny way to describe a hot continent. Enjoy your time there. Will see from you at the other end. Cherrie

Isabella Golightly said...

Looks like the internet did to your webpage what the red bean chiro did to your tummy! Amazing pictures, as always! Also, today's word verification is 'behog'. Which is what you did at dinner!!!