Today, I got a little street magic in the works. But, before we get to that, I’m going to hit the streets of Addis Ababa.
Addis Ababa is fastly developing, and kind of like China in the 2000’s, is a city of contrasts. It’s by no mean luxurious, but I could be walking past some new shops and restaurants one moment, and it could all change a few steps away. For example, to get to a hotel where I can access decent Internet, I can follow one of several routes. The main route cuts through the local market and heads onto Bole Road, a relatively new thoroughfare with fast moving traffic. Alternatively, I can take a shortcut through a dusty goat market to hit Bole Road.
The main route cuts through the local market and heads onto Bole Road, a relatively new thoroughfare with fast moving traffic. Alternatively, I can take a shortcut through a dusty goat market to hit Bole Road. Or, the shortest route is through a parallel back road along an old rail line, passing through LOTS of construction, some slums, and of course, dumped garbage.
Regardless, at one point I have to cross a major road, which can be quite harrowing. Crossing a road is not like, say many parts of Southeast Asia, where you thread yourself through relatively slower traffic jams. Here, you have to somewhat suicidally walk into traffic and force cars to stop for you to cross. Tip: If it’s your first time, just follow the locals. I typically follow experienced locals using them as “shields”, and I have absolutely no shame in doing so.
Next, I having lunch for two at the incredibly low price of less than $2. I don’t know the names of all the curries and stews known as wat right now, but I definitely will be able to name them all pretty soon.
Needless to say, the vegetarian dish, beyaynetu, is as healthy and as delicious as it looks. Tip: make sure you pronounce that second ‘y’ clearly if you’re ordering it, otherwise I often found that Ethiopians didn’t understand what I was saying.
After that top up, I have to take a break from the heat with a stop at a chip shop, and it’s the first time I’m going to break out some street magic during my travels. I start with one fellow sharing a table with me, and soon draw in a small crowd. I’m not comfortable with so many people watching me, but hey, the theme of my vlog is to face my fears and I have to suck it up.
Since my proficiency with Amharic, Ethiopia’s national language, is still basic, I’ll be starting with tricks that require fewer words. This is something that’s dear to me. If I’m travelling, I’ll really make an effort to learn a good part of the language first. It really helps. If my language proficiency isn’t so great, I’ll pad my communication with other skills – magic, dance, art, sports … you name it, I’ll try it.