Monday, November 11, 2013

Paul's Country Review: Ethiopia

Ethiopia was a decent place, from the little we saw. We unfortunately could not get all of the flights we wanted and there was no way that I was going to get into a microbus with all of our luggage for a 4-5 hour drive. I mean it took us about 2 hours to get to the airport in Addis Ababa from our hotel 10 minutes away (as advertised). Traffic is always horrendous. Combine that with Ethiopians having no concept of time as you've already read in Christine's earlier post and 4-5 hours might have been 4-5 days!

The capital Addis Ababa wasn't anything special, but they are now starting to pave their roads (which adds to the traffic). In a stroke of genius they decided to pave THE main road, which is the only paved road by completely shutting it down (mega traffic!). Forget about paving the goat paths that are the streets of the capital of the country, let's repave the road that every inhabitant of the city uses and watch the whole place come to a grinding halt! To Ethiopia's credit, they are the only African nation to not be colonized by another country. 

We flew to Lalibela and began our tour of the monolithic churches. It is a very impressive sight and to see the chisel marks that carved these churches out of the mountains hundreds of years ago is a testament to the strength of their faith. It was interesting to be able to see the craftsmanship up close. To walk around these churches, through narrow-cut alleys, tunnels and archways and going into these churches that are stilled used for services today was a unique experience.

This was the original entrance way to one of the churches, now used for rain runoff

You can see the chisel marks on the walls - it's a tiiight fit

Hand carved, medium relief

Amazing views - thanks for all the photos Christine!

Aside from all of these churches there wasn't much else to do and locals thought it was strange that we were staying there that long. We didn't bother to explain the problem with the flights and we figured it would be better to stay in Lalibela a couple of extra days than spend more time in Addis Ababa. The countryside is absolutely beautiful and the locals make a fermented honey wine that we got to try (not bad), so all-in-all a pretty good time in Ethiopia.

Traffic is horrendous here


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