Sep 03, 2011
Where I stayed
The very first day in Ethiopia was quite eventful! I arrived at 7:00am walking out of the airport into a jungle of taxis. I began asking how much they were to the center. The first quote I received was 300 brr ( $18 USd ) I finally got them down to 180 brr which I knew was closer to the right price but still a little high. I told the driver to take me to Baro Hotel which was full so I walked next door to Ankober Hotel which cost $20 USd. It is a decent place with private rooms and bathrooms. I checked around the next day and found out that Wutma Hotel across the street was half the price also with private room and bathroom. They didn't have a room for me then but I was able to get one today and it is going to be a lot better for the budget which was completely destroyed the first day by my new "friends". I was walking around town when I was approached by Abel and T I. They seemed like they were ok guys and didn't mean any harm. They asked if I would like to join them for a coffee and I said sure why not. We stopped at a small street side coffee shop and they paid for it and made everything seem legit. They then explained to me how on this day it was a national holiday and they wanted to invite me to eat some traditional food and try Chat which is a leaf that you put in your cheek and chew like tobacco. I chewed enough Chat to satisfy a giraffe! It is suppose to relax you and make you more chatty. I finally started to feel something after a couple of hours and tons of it. They kept ordering more and more along with coffee, tea, coke and food. I knew the bill had to be climbing quite a bit but I never asked what the cost of anything was because they "invited" me and I felt it would be rude to ask the cost. They finally decide it was time for the bill and time to go to another place. The bill came and was obviously handed to me and it was ridiculous! 2,900 brr ( $170.00 USd ) I was pissed!! I know there is no possible way it cost that much and they made a deal with the restaurant to get a cut but I had no way to prove it. I took all the money I had in my wallet and it was not even close to being enough and they were not going to help with it by any means. Abel left his cellular phone as collateral while they took me to an ATM to withdraw more money. I withdrew just a little more than what was owed and we returned to the place to clear the bill. In the photos below T I is the one with the yellow T-shirt with dreadlocks and Abel is the one with short prickly dreadlocks. This is a warning to other travelers. All in all it was a great experience and I don't regret learning the lesson I learned. Other than that Ethiopia has been great so far and I have met many honest and very nice people. I am looking forward to traveling to the northern part of Ethiopia and seeing what the rest of the country has to offer.