Q: Hello, what's your name?
Q: Where are you from?
A: Jacksonville, FL
Q: What city & country do you currently call home?
A: Tokyo, Japan
Q: Where did you go during this trip?
A: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Q: What time of year did you make this trip?
A: Spring 2018
Q: How long were you there?
A: About a week
Q: Was the length of time you stayed in this location about right?
A: Yes, it was about right.
Q: Was this your 1st trip to this country?
Q: What made you choose Ethiopia?
A: We went to visit friends who recently moved to Ethiopia.
Q: Which airline did you fly to Ethiopia? How was the flight?
A: We Flew Emirates. Standard Emirates flight... Once you fly Emirates you'll look at most other airlines with a side eye. LOL!
Q: What were your thoughts upon landing in Addis Ababa?
A: I was actually quite impressed with the landscape as we made our approach. From the sky the city looked a lot bigger than I imagined. Once we deplaned the airport was definitley starting to show it's age. The duty free was about the size of a corner store and featured typical duty free products. The customs and baggage claim process went smoothly. Our friend arranged a car to chauffeur us around for the duration of the trip. Our driver, Yosuf met up as we exited the airport and walked us to a blue and white 1981 Toyota Camry wagon. That was our chariot for the duration of the trip! The car was old but it was reliable!
Q: Where did you stay?
A: We stayed at a friends house on a small compound.
Q: Do you have any recommendations or comments regarding your accommodations?
A: Yes, her house was cozy with a beautiful yard! However, I didn't expect to be welcomed to a compound! The security and staff were welcoming and friendly! Never thought about a compound in Addis!
Q: Were you able to use your home SIM card for voice & data?
A: Not Sure I bought a sim with Ethio Telecom once I exited the airport.
Q: Was getting a SIM card an easy process?
A: Yes but it's a process that takes about 2.5 hours and then the service is pretty spotty during the entire trip.
Q: Any tips on setting up communication services in this country?
A: Make sure to register your cellphone with the ministry before leaving the airport because it's a real hassle finding a place to handle it once you exit.
Experience the Destination
Q: Were you able to communicate in English?
A: Yes, it was widely spoken
Q: What specifically made this trip memorable?
A: Meeting up with friends, meeting new people, hanging out with our driver, the shopping, the food and coffee! Man, the memories!
Q: What most surprised you about this city, country, or experience?
A: Addis Ababa was a lot bigger than I imagined it would be! It was also strangely impoverished. You would literally see a nice villa compound sitting next to a 3 sided shack made of various sheets of metal. The dynamic was a little weird. The Italian influence in the food and architecture kind of blew me away as well!
Q: Tell us about the people...
A: Everyone I encountered during our time in Addis Ababa was warm and friendly.
Q: What element of the culture were you able to observe or experience?
A: We just so happened to be in Ethiopia during a fasting holiday. The holiday lasted for the duration of our trip. Fasting constituted just eating vegetables and forgoing meat. We didn't observe any rituals or festivals that went along with the fasting but it was a topic of conversation.
Q: What is the sporting culture like in this country?
A: We got caught up in the let out of a football game (soccer) and it was light weight madness! As with most football loving societies they are fanatics about their local teams! The people in Addis were no different.
Q: What did you think about the food?
A: Ethiopian food is delicious! It's heavily plant based but from a pallet perspective it's familiar!
Q: Is there something unique from this country's cuisine that you'd recommend?
A: I'd suggest Ingera bread, Chiro, Gomen, Lamb Tibbs (dry) or to make it easy just get a Veg plate with a side of dry lamb tibbs. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu of a local restaurant!
Q: Can you recommend a couple of good local Restaurants?
A: [I] ...Can't recall the name of the restaurant but it was a show house on Seychelles Street near Karl square. They do live performances nightly! If you're in Addis Ababa and start to talk to someone about the food, just give them my rough description and they'll point you right to it!
Q: Tell us about the shopping? Did you discover any unique clothing, shoes, accessories or brands during this trip?
A: I didn't find any specific brands but the leather in Addis Ababa is nicely made and reasonably priced! You can get a leather duffle for less than you'd pay for a wallet in the US. Some of the best leather shops are located at the stadium!
Living the DREAM!
Q: What activities did you take part in while you were in Ethiopia?
A: At the time of our visit to Ethiopia, there was a state of emergency due to the recent resignation of their prime minister. This prevented us from venturing too far outside the city limits. However we did visit the Museum, the markets and a few local sites.
Q: Tell us about the sights...
A: We visited the National Museum of Ethiopia which houses the remains of Lucy (the oldest human ancestor). Lucy was a lot shorter than I expected! The museum was being lightly renovated during our visit but it featured some interesting artifacts that gave a glimpse into the history of Ethiopia over the years. We also saw The Lion of Judah of Emperor Haile Selassie which is in a park in downtown Addis Ababa.
Q: Is there anything you wish you would have done but didn’t get a chance to?
A: Yes, I would have like to seen the Lalibelas. They are medieval churches that were carved out of rock. I would have also like to have seen a bit more of the country side surrounding Addis Ababa. Maybe next time!
Q: Would you like to give props to any travel companies, tours, or excursion organizers?
A: Just our driver Yosuf!
Q: How's the night life?
A: Night life in Addis is pretty live! We went out 2x while we were there. The first night we went to a club called Jolly. The 2nd night we bar hopped with our driver in the same area. There is a spot called Flirt Lounge, Fusion Bistro and the Beer Garden. However, you can easily wander that area and find the good time you're looking for.
Give us your recommendations!
Q: How well did your home currency spend while you were on this trip?
A: Very well!
Q: Give us your top tips or suggestions for someone planning to make a trip to this country.
A: Let's see... You have to try the coffee, the local cuisine, taste the Tej (locally made alcohol), pay a visit to see Lucy, and check out the markets. DePnitely book a driver prior to arriving and be prepared for a bumpy ride! Ethiopia is in the process of doing some much needed infrastructure work so, many of the roads are filled with potholes.
Q: Parting thoughts about this trip...
A: Ethiopia was a great experience! I loved the people, the culture, the coffee and would definitely go back! However, this is not a "Luxury" trip! Although Addis Ababa has nice areas poverty is never far away. One observation that I do have about Ethiopia is that the people seem to be happy regardless of their circumstances. I saw way more smiles on faces than any other expression! Kinda makes you think that if people can be happy living in conditions worse than yours then why can't you.
Q: Would you make a return trip to this destination?
A: Yes, Definitely!
Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us and we look forward to hearing about your future journeys! Until next time safe travels!
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