as many of you know, for the past few weeks our family has been in addis ababa, ethiopia. this friday, we finally got around to touring the city! our guide, gashaw, was awesome and showed us some really cool places.
the first place we visited was called merkato. it is a huge open air market, and the largest market in africa! it’s super busy and pretty chaotic but there’s something beautiful about it.
there are separate sections in the market. the first one we walked through was full of spices and grains: chilis, black and white cumin, turmeric, onion, chickpeas, popcorn, coffee, lentils, barley, and peanuts. those things along with the smell of livestock, incense, and car exhaust was a lot to take in. there were many different smells, sounds, and colors. it was so lively and stimulating.
the second part of the market we walked through was the recycling section, where mainly the men worked. there was an area with lots of recycled plastic items and an area where people were working on used scraps of metal to reuse them.
the third part we explored was where the women were working and we some little kids were hanging around. they were making something called kocho! gashaw explained to us that there is a plant here that looks like a banana tree but grows no fruit, so they call it the false banana tree. they scrape out the trunk of the tree, cut up the fibers very small, dig a pit and line it with false banana leaves, add yeast and let it ferment for at least a month. after that it looks somewhat like cheese. it is then made into a flatbread and served with a raw meat dish called kitfo.
after the chaos of merkato, gashaw took us to chill out with some coffee at tomoca. it’s pretty popular here now and has a few locations, but tamoca was actually the very first coffee shop in addis. we got piping hot macchiatos and shared a few soft pastries. they were delicious!
after tomoca, we went up mount entoto for some views of the city. on the drive up, there were some interesting carvings on the side of the road.
a part of the way up to the lookout, we stopped to get out and see the beautiful hills. as we were taking pictures, pretty soon we realized we had gathered a crowd! a bunch of little kids that lived nearby saw the “ferengi” (or “foreigner” in amharic) and came to check us out. they followed us back to the car and then mom started playing peek-a-boo with a few of them. it was so fun watching them interact, the kids were so sweet.
after a few more minutes in the car, we finally got to the lookout. there were beautiful views of the city and giant fluffy clouds. it was so peaceful and just gorgeous. birds were chirping and breathing in the mountain air was so refreshing.
it was a great end to a great day.
peace out world. thanks for reading!
– maile 🙂