63 –Reuniting with the New Flower
Thu 28th Jan, Taitu Hotel, Addis Ababa
The flower mentioned here is Addis Ababa, or “new flower” in Amharic. Just like back in Khartoum, returning to Addis is like meeting an old friend. A comforting familiar location, the same hotel, somewhere you know you can clean up. And best of all, a killer location in the lounge to watch Egypt-Algeria in the semis later.
Arrived in Addis at 5am, somewhere in the middle of the Merkato market apparently (it is dark). The other passengers leave, but driver tells me to sleep a couple of hours in the van, because i will probably get mugged if i travel through the market in the night.
I woke up and made my way to the hotel. This time round, I am a pro at getting around, since i am familiar with the city. I take the minibus from the Merkato to the Piazza (1 birr) easily, since i now know the bus with the bus conductor shouting the destination “Arat Kilo” is the bus that bypasses the Piazza. Next i checked in at the hotel, paid 108 birr (14 birr more than last time) and got a nicer room upstairs with a better mattress. The plan today was to get my onward tickets south to Moyale, the border to Kenya, to stock up on everyday stuff, and to get some proper sleep later in the afternoon.
Ok, after a shower (i was full of grime and dirt), I went out to the railway station down south along Churchill Ave. It was still a cool morning, so the walk helped to warm up my muscles. The Selam bus station, which sells tickets for the more comfortable and pricier Selam bus, is located near to the train station (turn left and follow the road and there’s the Selam sign). Unfortunately the only destinations they cover are Gonder and Bahir Dar to the north, and Harar, Dire Dawa and Jimma to the east. I would have to take the normal bus to Moyale. Two days of travel on those buses again. Sigh. No matter. Now i need to make my way to the Merkato again. Took a minibus back from the train station to the Piazza (1 birr) then the Piazza to Merkato (1.70 birr). From the Merkato, had to walk to the end of the market where the main bus station was. Bad news, the guys there said the tickets are sold the next morning at 530am at the counter. Come back then. The
company with buses to Moyale is “3A Tsegaye Kassahun”, with its own booth (No.6) near the bus station entrance.
That’s that for bus hunting then.. Next is replenishment, both groceries and myself, for i didn’t have dinner yesterday. The best place i know for this is the Bole Road area with its upmarket supermarkets. So i pick up another minibus from Merkato to Bole Road (3.50 birr). I don’t know whether i’ve just gotten used to the city, or i’m becoming more confident. I seem to be able to get these minibuses way easier than back then.
I drop off at the New York Supermarket and bought instant noodles, toothpaste, teabags, more eggs and the dailies before having a decent tuna sandwich in the cafe next door, topped with black forest cake and mango juice. The price of lunch is a grand 50 birr. Took yet another minibus from Bole Rd back to the Piazza where the hotel is (2.50 birr).
That’s enough of walking around then. It’s 2pm, i will stay in the room, type this out and take a nap. Later this evening, i’ll go down to the net cafe (no this one doesn’t have wifi unlike Hargeisa’s posh Oriental Hotel in Somaliland).
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