Well I am sorry that it has been so long since my last post, but I am here in Ghana and am feeling more and more at home everyday that I am in Accra. The university is located within the Legon district of Accra. Here you can find a variety of restaurants and bars, as well as markets and centres for trade. Being in the capital definitely has its perks in terms of its size and the many opportunities one finds themselves having.
My last post was while I was still in Addis Ababa and I promised that I would share more of that part of my trip. Although Addis now feels like it was a few weeks ago, I will now bring you up to speed form where I left off.
After an incredible sleep in into the afternoon and a refreshing workout at the hotel gym, I was ready to make the most of my second full day in Addis Ababa. The day before, while walking to Medhane Alem Cathedral, Fasil recommended that I check out the Addis Marcato- the largest street market in all of Africa and the centre of trade for the Eastern part of the continent. And so that was the primary part of today’s plan. So, after my workout I began to make arrangements to secure transportation to and from the market, from someone who was somewhat familiar with the environment. My host, PK, warned me that he would likely charge more than fair and so I would have to barter. In countries like Ethiopia, cab meters do not exist. Rather, you discuss a price with the driver beforehand, agree upon it, and make the payment after the service has been rendered in full. So my adventure started with finding a middle ground, with a price that would work for both of us. On the way to the Marcato I could not get over both the size of Addis but also the population. Addis Ababa and Ethiopia for that matter are not large, but Addis is home to 8 million people and Ethiopia just over 30. There were literally people everywhere! Then I got to the market, and felt as though I hadn’t seen anything yet. Picture 3 by 2 city blocks of tents, huts, roadside shops, and venders all trying to sell you anything you could imagine needing or wanting. This market was home to everything from furniture, construction supplies and machetes, to all the spices, incenses and linens you can imagine. Between the exotic smells and beautiful tapestry’s, and the kids looking for change on behalf of their parents, it really was an experience like none I have had. I have never seen such big bags of spices and coffee beans, nor how much a person can carry with the strength of their head alone. It was just a sight. I was able to buy something for my mom, dad, Avery, and Taylor. Even got myself an Orthodox styled cross made of silver, to wear when I am in Ghana. Now all I need to find is a chain.
After being able to experience the chaos of the Addis Marcato, and see sights like the headquarters for the African Union, the parliament buildings of the Ethiopian government and the Prime Minister’s quarters, I was ready to make my way back to the hotel. Lucky for me, it was during prime traffic time in Ethiopia. I am slowly getting this impression that the traffic in the GTA is not as bad as we think. Anyways, once I got back to the hotel I grabbed a beer and continued to hangout with my new Ethiopian friends who worked for the hotel. I then, as per the suggestion of my high school friend Michael Ganotaki (who’s family is Ethiopian), went to the Chicken Hut for dinner. I would categorize it as an African version of Burger King in many ways, although the menu was primarily chicken as the name suggests. Then I made my way back to the hotel, where I wrote the last segment of this entry. As I was finishing up the last entry, I got a message from PK asking me to join him and his friend that evening at a club in town. Although I was planning on going to bed, I figured I would not be in Addis Ababa again anytime soon so I gladly accepted his offer. He gave me 15 minutes to get ready and came to pick me up. Once we got to the club he introduced me to his 4 friends; a Canadian, American, and two Ethiopians… sounds like the start to a bad joke I know, but I promise it is not. We then spent the night dancing, drinking and having some hookah, as is their custom. It was such a great time! It was also quite the fancy establishment. The bouncers all wore two piece suits, while the patrons wore collard shirts or dresses. They generally played modern Ethiopian music, while people socialized and enjoyed the finer things in life. We ended the night by having the best street food I have actually ever had- it was so delicious. The hospitality and welcome which I received throughout my time in Ethiopia was heartwarming, and I look forward to showing the same courtesy when my new friends pay me a visit.
With that, I took a RIDE (Ethiopian uber) back to the hotel and went to bed… knowing my alarm went off in an hour and forty-five minutes. Having a short sleep before a long day was so worth it for the memories I made! Until next time take care and God bless.