Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 2

Today was a much better day and I am happy to report - NO FEVER! About 2 hours after breakfast it finally broke while we were out running around and I feel wonderful! So we finally actually got to leave the room. We hired a driver Abraham, he was very nice and stayed with us the entire time. It is definitely an experience to drive around over here, we wouldn't be able to do it if we wanted to. There are not street lights, stop signs or anything. It is kind of like just beep your horn and go! Cars go pretty much where ever they want to go. People just walk in front of the cars without looking and the cars don't really stop for people, they just beep the horn! We saw our first glimpse of how severe the poverty is in this country. There were shacks on the side of the road that were literally just 3 metal walls and a metal roof. People sitting and living on the side of the streets everywhere. We did have 2 young children knock on the window of our car as we were driving asking us to buy gum. They could not have been more than 6 or 7 if that. There are dogs everywhere just walking around (and yes they are still fighting and barking all night long) and random donkeys and goats on the streets. We did see one man waiting for a ride or something with a lamb hogtied. We were not really sure if the lamb was still alive, I am guessing not. Our first stop was the National Museum. We had a personal guide for all the exhibits in the museum, which included skeletons and skulls that were over 4 million years old. Also lots of artifacts for alters for different religions in the BC times, as well as lots of Ethiopian history through paintings, royal thrones, wardrobes and weapons. Mark enjoyed it very much. The paintings were so interesting. Ethiopian artists have a way of distinguishing themselves based on the eyes of the characters they are painting. In the religious paintings if a face is only seen from the side showing 1 eye this person was considered a bad guy (something I learned from the tour today). An example was the painting of the last supper where Judas was shown with his head turned and only one eye visible. Our next stop was the Lion Zoo. This was kind of different. You could actually walk up to the cages the lions were in and be about a foot from the lion. If you wanted to you could reach your hand in and touch them. No one was doing this! We took pictures of Mark with his head down by them. One of the pictures the outside fence was not there. He wanted to pet it, I did not think that was a good idea! There were also baboons here. Some of the men around the cage were making noises at them and the baboons were going crazy and screaming back, opening its mouth showing all its teeth, then it would charge at the fence. It was funny only because we were a little further away this time. After the Lion Zoo was the Addis Ababa Ethiopian Studies Museum on the campus of Addis Ababa University. The museum used to be a royal palace. It contained many historical artifacts from past emperors and rulers of Ethiopia as well as traditional musical instruments. Mark bought a traditional ethiopian instrument that is similar to a banjo and a drum. Next stop was lunch at the Blue Top. Excellent food! We had little pieces of bread with salsa/tomato stuff. Mark had a pepper steak that he loved and I had spaghetti. Much better spaghetti than the night before. It was a very nice day, we enjoyed learning more about the country and meeting the people. They are very proud of their country and loved to teach us about it. Everyone is so nice and friendly and more than willing to help. More adventures tomorrow!

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