Back in Addis for a Terrific Dinner at Serenade

Trip Start Oct 11, 2012
Trip End Nov 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Ghion Hotel Addis Ababa
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
Tamoca Coffee Shop

Flag of Ethiopia  , Ādīs Ābeba,
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oh, oh, now I am sneezing again.

Obama has won!!!!   My notes on the computer don't seem to mention this major event of the day.  I woke up early and went out to check the TV news.  I saw that Obama was ahead 230 to 203, but then they listed the states that each candidate was expected to win and there was a sizable list for Romney, but MSNTV was predicting an Obama win when I went into breakfast.  Gerri came along shortly and quoted better numbers for Obama.  Yay!  Gerri was in the Irish Peace Corps in the US in the 70's and has a huge US connection so she has been following the election closely.  By the time we left the hotel, an Obama victory seemed certain but Romney had not conceded yet.  It seems that everyone in this tour group prefers Obama to Romney - some very strongly!

It seemed to take a long time to drive out of Lalibela to the Lalibela airport - longer than I remember coming in.  We had to go through the usual security things.  I can't remember so much now.  I looked at some of the gift shops hoping to find a football shirt but didn't see any.  My notes here didn't mention that I was able to watch and hear the Obama acceptance speech in the airport lobby before going off to the "gate."   Even though I am not a flag-waving patriot, I was emotionally affected by his speech ... and maybe more just by his victory since the election was supposedly so close and, for me, Romney would have been a disaster because of his various positions on the environment, women's rights, and his favoring of the wealthy over the rest of us.

We moved out to the door to await the plane and had the same problem with other tourists just barging in front of us when we were standing in line.  One lady didn't understand our objection to her standing in front of us; she commented that she had been sitting there all the time.  Yes, exactly.  But we got over it.  The plane stopped in Gondar and a lot of people got off and then new people got on and we were to stay in our assigned seats - which had all been free seating.  Oh, well.
We had a new bus with Solomon as our driver to go to the Ghion.  After we got our room assignments, the group broke up and different people did different things.  I went with Sian, Nadine and John who were going to get coffee at the coffee shop.  Kibrom had told Sian or Nadine that it was a 15 minute walk and that it was near the Post Office and the shopping area that he recommended.  It took us 45 minutes and I was really dragging since it was uphill, hot and I had on my leggings and was dying of thirst.  I managed to get some water but I don't think that made me any faster on my feet at that point.  Once we got to the coffee shop, we had some lovely macchiatos - did John try to have tea?  Nadine and Sian had a long chat with the manager who gave them brochures and I got some too.

After that we walked back along the streets to the hotel and looked at the shops for the different things that appealed to us:  John and I looked at some book shops for bird and plant identification guides, Sian was looking for a pastry shop and I was looking for shirts and jewelry.  We stopped at a few shops and all bought some souvenirs.  Sian and Nadine had located a pastry shop - next to a pizza place - perhaps evidence of the Italian influence in Ethiopia - but it was all out of pastries.  At one point we just happened upon a different pastry shop that had all sorts of delights - baklava, napoleon-like cakes - of which I had a huge piece of some sort of coconut cream layered phyllo dough.  We were quite sated then.

For dinner we (my roommate Sian and I) were joining Nadine and John, Kate and Dan, Sarah and Jacinta, and Aga for dinner at a place called Serenade.  Nadine and John found it in their guidebook and organized the excursion:  they made reservations at the restaurant and reserved a 9-passenger van to take us there and back.  When we set off, I think we were already late because the van was late.  Then we drove around and the van driver kept asking for directions - we seemed not to be in an area conducive to nice restaurants.  Jacinta saw a sign, we followed that and the next and finally located the restaurant.  When we went in, it looked quite classy and it had a very trendy menu - it was very hard to choose.  I had a vegetable sushi starter with spinach ravioli main course.  Some of us shared some red wine and others had glasses of white wine.  I didn't plan on a dessert but the thought of cardamon-saffron ice cream was irresistible so I had some.  It was very, very nice.

The entire dinner was exceptional - for anywhere - and especially given our experience of food here so far.  Although I cannot complain about food here in Ethiopia - all our meals have been good - the food fresh and well prepared, even though a lot of it has been Western.  I think I am just not as fond of some of the foods that appear most often here.  I would try more Ethiopian food but the amount of injera is staggering and I don't want to have to leave half of my food.  So here at Serenade, all was wonderful....we had the usual problem of calculating our portion of the final bill but it was a bargain by our standards for sure!

It was much quicker back.  The van driver wanted more money because he had to wait - although he had agreed to waiting himself.  There always seems to be a scheme.  It tends to make us tourists angry rather than appreciate the service we do get, I think.  In any case, we were probably all ready for bed rather than an argument.

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