My flight to Ethiopia is in a few hours and I don’t feel ready. Somehow when I travel overland the transition is easier. When I fly I feel like I’m just thrown in the middle of things and have to quickly figure everything out. I printed my Oanda cheat sheet so I know that the official interbank rate is 8.55 bir to the dollar. But I don’t know how to pronounce bir or if there’s an ATM at the airport. I’m not worried though, it will all work itself out in a few days.
I should have no problem buying a visa on arrival with US dollars and the embassy here told me I wouldn’t need proof of an onward ticket (because I don’t have one!). I always think it’s funny when third world countries ask for proof of onward ticket. It’s not like many people are trying to illegally immigrate to Ethiopia.
There is internet in Addis, but I’m not sure how connected the rest of the country is. I thought I’d have more time to finish up posting on Egypt (with it’s free, fast wifi) before I left but I spent my time on things like e-filing my 2006 federal taxes and transfering money to cover my 2006 IRA contribution before the deadlines hit—not so fun for you guys.
My hostel has also been distracting, with the drama between one long-term guest who likes to watch the news (usually in Arabic) all day while the staff wants to listen to music. When I left two weeks ago they were having a fun time about their differences but it’s grown ugly with each of them complaining about the other to me. I find that a smile does wonders and they always let me watch Prison Break when it’s on.
The other woman in my room is staying for a few months to study Arabic and it was nice to come home to a friendly face. The cleaning woman has also become a good friend and seems to like me a lot. When she gives me breakfast (two rolls, jam, one boiled egg and tea) she gives my shoulder a little squeeze before leaving with a smile. This morning she peeled my egg for me, so we’re best friends now. I had to say good bye when she left work today and she told me (through a translator) that I’d be missed and then shook my hand and gave me two kisses on my cheeks. I will miss my dysfunctional Cairo family.