Day 14 – Last day in Ethiopia

I had a nice sleep and woke up at a leisurely pace for one of the first times on the trip. After taking a much needed shower (you have no idea how dusty it was this time of year), I joined Mesele and Mercy in the kitchen for a breakfast of scrambled eggs and a traditional Ethiopian dish of bread bits soaked in spices and oil and lightly fried. We also had Mercy’s special cinnamon tea, made with a masala straight from the Addis spice market.

Then, I tagged along with Mesele for the rest of the day for a mix of work and play. First, we ran a few errands and visited Mesele’s office again at Red Fox, while I enjoyed a cappuccino and surfed the net, breaking a sweat on social media.

At his Red Fox officeon Facebook and email

Afterwards we visited my relatives – my Uncle Girma’s sister Alam Tshai, and son, and daughter, Nina (my cousins). They served us delicious injera and wot, and then fresh fruit, as we chatted about my experience in Ethiopia, news from the family back in the US, and small bits of personal details from our lives. I feel so blessed and lucky to have such a welcoming family half-way around the world. I dropped off some of the honey that I brought from Lalibela, knowing that it would go to great use with them.

My cousins and me in Addis My cousins and me in Addis

The next task was to go to the market, located in the city center. Mesele explained that the Addis market is the largest open-air market/souk in Africa, even larger than Cairo’s Khan al-Khalili. It’s mind-blowing to think that anything would be larger than the Khan.

Yes, there we were, in a labyrinthine maze of tunnels and passage ways that curved and veered throughout the downtown, with hundreds of nooks and crannies leading to one shopping adventure after another. You want it? You can buy it here. Everything. Seriously.

I particularly liked the spice market because it smelled the best. Ethiopians consume not only spices, but also incense for their coffee ceremonies. Here is a shot of the incense rack at a small shop that we bought some cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and dried, sweetened raisins from.

The spice market in Addis

 

Mesele also took me to a stall selling the traditional coffee cups and the boiling pot – the jebena – and surprised me with them as a gift. Pictures to come later of me donning the traditional costume they bought me as I carefully pour coffee for my friends and family in the US.

Then, it was time to eat again (as if I hadn’t already eaten twice in the span of 4 hours). This time I’d be trying one of the local delicacies, raw meat (beef). We met at a local restaurant for white wine mixed with beer (yum, and refreshing!) and a heaping plate of chunks of raw meat. In case you’re wondering whether it’s safe to eat, read this article. It’s not recommended, yet plenty of Ethiopians eat huge quantities of it regularly (weekly) and don’t get sick. When in Rome.

Raw meat!I also got to meet a few more of Mesele’s friends – Peter and Kifle. We watched football on TV, ate, drank, laughed, and even talked about some of the more philosophical issues in life, including relationships.

New friendsThis was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, which Mesele said he did frequently.

We made a few small stops on the way home, including at a small habesha shop where we found some more coffee cups that Mesele bought for me, and bags of coffee from Tomoca, a local coffeehouse and grower.

We went home briefly so I could re-pack all the treasured gifts (many in my carry-on), and then moved onward to the guest house to say goodbye to Mercy, and also play some farewell ping pong.

We said our goodbyes and with much sadness drove to the airport for the final time for probably a year, at least. With promises of returning soon, and an expedition to the south, I said a tearful farewell to Mesele at the Bole International Airport, and went my separate way.

It’s the story of my life. Visit an exotic place, stay just long enough to leave a part of myself, yet somehow go away fuller than when I started, overflowing with the friendship, beauty, and humanity of our world.

 

 

therestlessroad

About therestlessroad

The tar in the street starts to melt from the heat
And the sweats runnin’ down from my hair
I walked 20 miles and I’m dragging my feet
And I’ll walk 20 more I don’t care
And I’ll wander this world, wander this world
Wander this world, wander this world all alone
I’m like a ghost some people can’t see
Others drive by and stare
A shadow that drifts by the side of the road
It’s like I’m not even there
And I’ll wander this world, wander this world
Wander this world, wander this world all alone
Well I’ve never been part of the game
The life that I live is my own
All that I know is that I was born
To wander this world all alone, all alone
Some people are born with their lives all laid out
And all their success is assured
Some people work hard all their lives for nothin’
They take it and don’t say a word
They don’t say a word
Sometimes it’s like I don’t even exist
Even God has lost track of my soul
Why else would he leave me out here like this
To wander this world all alone
And I’ll wander this world, wander this world
Wander this world, wander this world all alone
–Jonny Lang, “Wander This World”

3 thoughts on “Day 14 – Last day in Ethiopia

  1. JJ1

    Wonderful experience I wished I could have.

  2. I can smell the spice market from Toronto… Thanks for sharing.

    • therestlessroad

      🙂 Have you ever been?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>