Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014


Posted by Hippo Bean at 1:59 PM
"Hi, I'm Lucy (or Dinknesh in Ethiopian language). I'm almost 3.2 million years old, but am walking fully upright."

The final highlight of the trip was of course to see Lucy, the oldest Australopithecus Afarensis, at the National Museum at Addis. But first we had lunch at the 'Lucy Restaurant' adjacent to the museum. menu included Lucy salad and Lucy pasta. The cover of the menu had a nice clear image of Lucy's skeleton.

Men were padded down and searched at the museum gates. There was no female security guard, so the women werent searched at all!

I thought Lucy's skeleton was more complete and was a bit disappointed to find it wasnt as whole as the bushman. I like the way the museum listed all the fossil periods from Chororapithecus Absyssinicus to Australopithecus Afarensis, from Homo Habilis to Homo Erectus to Homo Sapiens, and indicated each fossil in the period it was in. It also included maps of where all the fossils were found in Ethiopia. Very educational and nicely done. The first floor was dedicated to archaeological and paleoanthropological collections which included fossilized remains from early hominids, such as Lucy, and medieval earthenware, pots, bowls, statues, and baskets, dated in Aksumite and Gonder periods. The basement displayed royal regalia and crowns. The top floor showed paintings from traditional to contemporary such as Tekle's. Afewerk Tekle's 'african heritage' was one of the most beautiful paintings I've seen . The museum façade had a mural that mimicked the background of the 'african heritage' and the foreground shows all the major pieces from the museum. Really loved this mural. Needless to say, the museum was a photograph heaven. I really liked this museum. Not overwhelming, only displayed the cream of the crop.

Up on the Entoto hill, we had a grand view of the capital city. big sprawl in the haze but not a particular point stood out. we visited St george church which had a painting of emperor selassie talking in the UN (why was this in the church) and adjacent small museum displaying the beautiful treasures of the church. The entrance to the church was littered with people pestering you to buy their cheap souvenir, and the scene of Jesus tearing down the market stalls at the temple ground came to mind. drove through the famous mercato. I dont know why they take you to these places. completely chaotic, loud and over crowded. Plus the dust. i'm not a big fan of bazaars or openair markets like these. Dust, people, chaos, and not very safe. Finally we went to tomoca to purchase the deliciously aromatic ethiopia coffee. Then graciously, we stopped briefly for a last minute souvenir shopping and I've purchased another cup and saucer with ethiopian religious paintings on the rims, but this time, an eastern cup with no handle, and one more small cup made of cow horn.

Hate having to leave the comfy Avanti Blue Nile hotel, with its attentive service, great buffets, (although breakfast this morning was another communication snafu as the staff wasnt told we were to leave early for our morning flight to Addis, and so breakfast wasnt ready at 6am), nice modern rooms and view of the lake. Although this hotel had no character, the modern amenities, specially the hot water and AC in the room, was very very welcome after 2 weeks of very basic hotels, intermittent water/electricity, constant heat and mosquitoes.

our last dinner, a la compliment of Jacaranda, was at a local restaurant that offered traditional music and dance. I've quite enjoyed the african music, with the begena and the masenko, the ethiopian string instruments, drums, singers and dancers. They performed the different traditional music and from different parts of the country. The head twisting dance of the south was scary to watch. The gonder shoulder flexing which we've already saw in Gonder, was spectacular. We sat on typical ethiopian chairs with a low round table, designed specially for sharing injara. it was a nice evening and a memorable way to end the trip.

My journey home was a thing to endure. a long queue to get through the metal detector to get in to the airport. another long queue to check in. fortunately no queue at the customs. then another super long queue to get to the gates. then again another long queue at the gate to have the boarding pass checked. after this, a long 45 minutes wait for boarding. The plane was completely full and there was no vacant seats at the gate, so I had to stand up the whole 45 minutes. The Virgin Atlantic flight home seemed long and I kept thinking how nice and comfortable my journey home was on my last trip, compared to this one.

i'm not sure if I liked Ethiopia. The rock hewn churches in Lalibela, the castles in Gonder, the adwa mountains, the boat ride on lake tana, the Gheralta Lodge, the Simiens Lodge, the Avanti Blue Nile and Roha hotels, the coffee, were all wonderful and I've enjoyed them. but then there were other sites and hotels that I didnt care about. I could barely put up with the heat, the dust, the mosquitoes and flies, the ever present pestering children, the sight of poverty and the over religious everything, and after a few days, I simply had enough of them. but i'm glad I've experienced and endured it all. The country is rich in history and the people are beautiful. ethiopia, another country in Hippo's repertoire.

Addis Ababa photos:

addis ababa


Tomasso on 5/17/2014 12:28 AM said...

I thought you were afraid of monkeys!

Interesting bit of trivia: Lucy discoverer Donald Johansen was a client of Amelia's in the 1980s.

Profile on 5/18/2014 3:29 PM said...

not afraid, just dont like em. but what do monkeys have to do with Lucy?


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