ETHIOPIA: FIELD NOTES

The sights and sounds
  1. The Airport
    Organized chaos. Don't be in a rush to get your visa or luggage. But, do move with a sense of urgency when you're up next, if that makes any sense. Once out of the airport, there will be a litany of ppl ready to help you out (i.e. load your luggage or taxi you to your next destination) for a few dollars. Choose wisely.
  2. The Roads
    Traffic rules, be damned. It's best to get a local driver. I know, I know. You like adventure. But, do you want to live to tell about it? Then, leave the driving to the experts. Their ability to weave in and out of lanes, while saying hi to their friend in another car and not hitting a few pedestrians who use the road like a side walk is IMPRESSIVE; and to best view this is from the back seat of their car.
  3. Accommodations
    Let me tell you one thing . . . the house that I'm staying in is definitely one to write home about. Three stories, walk in closet, four or five bedrooms, beautiful living room and dining room, one modern kitchen and one traditional kitchens, jacuzzi tub, beautiful stand alone showers, etc. It looks like they transplanted a home from California and placed it right in the heart of Addis. This is the Africa they don't show you.
  4. The Sounds
    Although we're in the capital city, there are sounds that you hear that harken back to Ethiopia's cultural and pastoral history. For example, after my midday nap turned night time sleep ( don't judge me. it's been a long couple of days of traveling), I was awakened by the sounds of a church service being conducted a little ways down the street: singing and prayer. Since it was in the middle of the night, I assumed it had to do with the fact that Ethiopian Christmas is today.
  5. The Sounds: Pt 2
    Other finds that I experienced were that of dogs barking; because that's what they do at ungodly hours for no reason. Then, there was the cock crowing because nothing says that this a rural community like a cock crowing in the morning. And, lastly the sounds of a lamb or goat bleating. This one is a little bittersweet because after today, you probably won't be hearing them again. Bon Apetit.
  6. The Sounds Pt. 3
    In the neighborhood that I'm staying in, I am within walking distance of a traditional Ethiopian church. Which means that about 4'o'clock each morning ( an educated guess because I'm usually asleep), the church bells ring. A soft and deep gong type of sound that rouses the neighborhood from its slumber. It's something to get used to.
  7. The Meat
    It's a carnivore's dream.
  8. Incense and Buna
    The smell that can't be described but will be missed. Smoky, fragrant, and a part of everyday life.
  9. The Countryside
    Let's play count the donkeys. Farmers markets.
  10. Now, the horn section
    On one unusually rainy day a symphony of car horns can be heard in these Addis streets. Many, many, many car horns . . . all announcing their arrival into your lane, around a turnabout, across the light, etc.