New Meets Old in Ethiopia

It was a pretty decent 4 lane boulevard lined in the middle with lovely flowering shrubs, and punctuated with roundabout intersections every so often.  But along with the vehicle traffic were pedestrians either crossing the highway, or walking down the street between the cars and trucks – and the occasional cart being pushed or pulled.  Shari snapped this picture with her camera strap wound about her wrist, because our driver warned us about thieves who reach inside open car windows.  

Our time in Ethiopia was very short; we had exited Kenya because our VISA was expiring and by leaving the country and returning we would get a new VISA.  So we took advantage of our “VISA run” to do some sightseeing in Ethiopia.

The capital of Addis Abba was busy and bustling with many high rise buildings, churches, mosques, hotels, a few malls, modern stores, and many small house shops.  So as you walk by you can also check out the merchandise.  Some “shops” were little more than bamboo stand with your items on display by the sidewalk, or a blanket in front of you on the sidewalk, or a wheelbarrow that you can move from place to place.




We toured several museums and were surprised when traveling outside the capital city that many of the people were living in homes like those in the museums – wood frames with “concrete walls” made of fresh cow dung, straw, and mud, and thatched roofs.  A few people had modernized their homes with a sheet metal roof, or even a bright color of paint.  The palace of Emperor Menelik (late 1800’s) was made this same way, and is still in remarkable condition.


The main roads outside Addis Ababa were actually quite good highways. Traveling north of  the capital we quickly entered farmland.  Farmers had just harvested wheat which they put into sheaves and winnowed the grain by hand.  We did see one tractor pulling a small hay baler.


Travelling west was a super highway, and a toll road.  The toll road had very specific instructions about which lane to use.  Left hand was Overtaking Lane – maximum 120 km per hour, minimum 80 km per hour; center lane Passenger Car, 100 km max and 80 km min,  and the right lane was the Truck Lane with 80 km max and 60 km min.  We saw lots of high rises under construction, plus numerous factories – often with Chinese names.

No people walking or crossing on this road, and no cattle on the roadway.  The New was meeting the Old.


Stayed tuned for more stories and pictures from Ethiopia.  

Photo credits: Bud and Shari


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