Day 12: Dancing in Ethiopia

Day 12: Tuesday, 28 April 2020 – Adidas Abba, Ethiopia (8.9806° N, 38.7578° E) (126 Covid-19 cases & 3 deaths in Ethiopia as of today)

Our 2020 memory tour of the world is half over today (Yea/Boo)…but if you see the glass as still half full, as I do, that means we still have another half to finish….in another parlance: we have rounded the turn and are heading for the back nine and signalling the clubhouse to get ready for us…we’re coming home.

By now, during our actual around the world events, all the teams are in their grooves, and type of in-the-moment travel rapture has taken place; a place that allows them to move about our exotic destinations with confidence and grace. Everyone is usually happy to be traveling at their own levels for such an extended time, knowing that there is more to come.

We had tried to get to Ethiopia a couple of times prior to actually arriving there in Addis Ababa 2018, but it just never worked out: airline schedules, troubling Islamists, Somalian refugee issues, a leadership vacuum for a few years piled on bubbling ethnic tensions. Mostly petty geopolitical concerns, but enough to keep us away. So finally in 2018 we arrived, and frankly, our travelers didn’t know what to expect and questions mushroomed: Running water? Refugees with bowls and flies? Famine? Terrorism? How bad is the squalor? Do they have restaurants, and hotels to our liking? But what they found upon arrival in Addis was stereotype-shattering and comforting. They found themselves amidst a peaceful and thriving developing city undergoing a serious facelift of sorts (Seems all the construction cranes from China have migrated here!) with: a modern high-rise filled central business district, a shiny new subway, clusters of huge apartment projects, historic statues and parks, busy malls, vibrant coffee shops and cafes, five-star hotels and a vital cultural scene…a city with a youthful and lusty edge. I remember watching the travelers whiplash looking left and right out the windows during our short drive from the modern airport to our comfortable hotel. And after 10 days on the road traveling…yeah, they were eager to deal with Ethiopia. Another new destination to experience. And they did…we had a great few days. And most wanted to come back to see more of it too…
Todays memory comes from Betty & Jim again, yes they get two, of team NOLA Second Line and takes places during that 2018 stop:

“We have many wonderful memories of Ethiopia. First and foremost was the most fabulous cultural show we have ever seen. This was not a performance by a repertory company doing all the numbers. We arrived at Yod Abyssinia around 6:45pm. The show started c. 7pm. Song, dance, percussion from various locales in Ethiopia each performed by a company native to the respective area. The one exception was the only participant who made a guest appearance from the USA! We enjoyed this evening with Kim and Gilles Gagnon. Due to our jet lag we reluctantly left c. 9:30. (The show would continue until midnight). Our table was front row center. It was a magical evening full of top quality entertainment. The next day we spent several hours touring the major sites in and around Addis Ababa. On the way back to town we photographed this woman carrying the branches on her back. Ethiopia was an incredible experience. There certainly is glamour and a fascinating culture between the real life grit of living there eking out an existence. We would return in a heartbeat.”

Onward…tomorrow we head to the banks of the Southern Mediterranean Sea, to an old-school Middle East stop in Tunisia.

Stay safe and well. Till tomorrow…

Please send any memories you want us to post to ringmaster (at) globalscavengerhunt (dot) com