Jan 252012

The whole purpose of this trip had been to visit a close friend who was working in the region…since we seem to always be his only visitors on these sorts of trips. Somehow, I’m not sure he believed we’d show up in Djibouti…but after Kuwait he also shouldn’t have been surprised! After a great night of showing us around, we had a relatively early morning ahead of us. But first, a shot from the beginning of the last night in Djibouti:

Up relatively early, checking out of the “luxurious” Sheraton Djibouti (after another breakfast with the German military, of course) and off to the airport!  We had initially bought a one-way ticked on Kenyan Airways to Addis Ababa, but then when we had trouble getting into Yemen and had to move things around, found a great Djibouti-Juba fare on Ethiopian that was cheaper than Addis-Juba alone….so, booked.  We couldn’t find anyone capable at the airport to refund our Kenyan ticket, however, so ended up eating a bit of a penalty later on.  No big deal.

Stamped out of Djibouti with no issues, and onto the gate area, which featured smoking and all.  No 100ml liquids rule here, so the Diet Cokes we’d taken from the Sheraton’s generous minibar were consumed beyond what passed for security, and it was time to fly.  When I booked, I hadn’t paid much attention, but seems our Djibouti to Addis flight had a short stop in Dire Dawa, where we sat on the plane as it filled up.  When we boarded, we not only got blankets (take note New United) but also welcome-aboard mimosas!  Impressive!

…and we’re off!  Plane-shaped crackers and all!

Ethiopian Flight 327
Djibouti to Dire Dawa to Addis Ababa
Depart 11:00, Arrive 11:50 and Depart 12:20, Arrive 13:35
Boeing 737-700, Registration ET-ALK, Manufactured 2003
Seat 2L

There’s not much to say about this flight. We got one beverage (precisely) each, and it was maybe 25% full out of Djibouti, but 100% full for the domestic segment. Arrival was completely painless, and the Sheraton Addis driver was waiting for us. One thing of note – the flight arrived at domestic arrivals, and we could easily have just walked into Ethiopia with everyone else. Only after asking someone where passport control was, were we bussed (with two other people) to the international terminal to buy visas on arrival, etc. Not very well run!

Arrival at the Sheraton Addis was amusing. Seems it was Christmas Even on the Ethiopian Calendar, and the hotel was in full festive mode. The staff were mildly efficient, but things were done and we got a junior suite as a platinum upgrade, so no complaints at all.

We confirmed with the hotel concierge, and were off in a hotel car to the Ethnological Museum.  Of course, the concierge hadn’t bothered to actually check if it was open…he was just sure…and of course it wasn’t when we got there.  Boo!  The driver at least agreed to drive us on to the local cathedral instead so we could see that along with the final resting place of Haile Salassie and his wife.  Was cool to get to see at least a little history, since this was only a transit stop.  I’m very excited to come back to Ethiopia and travel around for a much longer trip!

The hotel was just under a mile from the church, so we decided to walk back.  I’m glad we did, or we never would have learned about the Laughter School!

We finished off the dinner at what Trip Advisor recommended as the number one traditional/local restaurant in Addis.  Of course, we were convinced it would be packed with tourists and be hokey, but in the end it was 95% locals.  Maybe because it was Christmas Eve, I’m not sure, but the place was packed with people sitting inches apart and enjoying the food and show.  We chatted a lot with the group next to us, who guided us through things to order and it was honestly the best meal we had the whole trip in my opinion.  A fantastic experience that lasted several hours, and really felt like a part of local culture!  I’ll leave the rest to the photos and videos:

Of course, no dinner is complete without entertaining dancing!

Yod Abysina Fertility Dance

White Boy gets DOWN at Yod Abysina

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