Addis Ababa

Trip Start Apr 09, 2008
1
4
18
Trip End Apr 24, 2008


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Friday, April 11, 2008

11 April - Addis Ababa's airport seems a cross between a Heathrow and Jomo Kenyatta. Our baggage was already circling on the conveyor after we passed through customs where we first had to awaken each official as they slept wound in blankets near their stations. As we step outside and view the city skyline at 3AM, it has the look and feel of an abandoned Nairobi, save for a single begging young woman and her baby. We taxied with Ephrim to the Axum Hotel, passing through empty streets that belied the business that would pounce on them at daybreak. From nowhere lights, people and action filled the route as we passed through a local nightclub scene replete with fresh-faced teen girls plying an unfortunate trade. Then back into the void and on to the hotel. Exhausted from a single hour of sleep, we tumbled into bed for another four before we rose at 8AM, had breakfast, did messaging in the business center, made final preparations with the manager for tomorrow's meeting hall and food, then rendezvousd with our new driver, Tom.

We spent four hours touring lively Addis Ababa, lunching near the city university and Orthodox cathedral.



We toured the former palace of deposed Emperor Haille Selasse who was assasinated by his military successor here in 1969. It is now a primitive national museum housing among other things his throne,

plus random archaeological artifacts, and the famous bones of "Lucy" the supposed missing link to the evolutionary development of homo erectus. Having a master's in Anthropology it was intriguing to come face-to-face with this renowned set of bones.

That "link" hinges on its supposedly being the first upright walking ape to be discovered. How that is determined is by analyzing the manner in which the spine attaches to the skull. If it attaches to the bottom of the skull like your's does, and upright being is assumed. "Lucy" happens to be missing the lowest portion of the rear skull as well as the entire upper part of the spine, so I saw no conclusive evidence of how they attached. We took a nap, then dined at the Cottage Restaurant as the Sabbath came to Ethiopia. After a Bible study in our room we turned in at 11PM.
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Where I stayed
Axum Hotel
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