Wednesday, June 30, 2010



Male Performers

Enjoying some Tej!

Pics taken a few days back with my bro Abraham. This place is called Totot, located at the Gerji neighborhood. They serve authentic gurage kitfo with kocho and ayb. Sooo good!! What makes the place so amazing is the fact that there are performers and as you are enjoying their food, you can also have great entertainment. Loved it, will def go back before I leave!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kaldis Macchiato

Kaldis Macchiato
Originally uploaded by Aynalem
Normal Macchiato... was my pleasure drinking it before I discovered the caramel macchiato, which became my guilty pleasure...

Kaldis Caramel Macchiato

Kaldis Caramel Macchiato
Originally uploaded by Aynalem
My new addiction in the morning and after lunch. It is sooooo good. It costs slightly higher than the regular Macchiato... ok, I lied, It costs about double, but I cannot resist!

Monday, June 28, 2010


Bole Airport

View from work

So, upon arrival to Addis Abeba, I was astonished to see the difference since the last time I remember being here. There are so many buildings that are in progress and I can only imagine the significant change to come within the next 5 years or so. Our office here is located at a great spot where you can view the city from the 6th floor. It's just great. Anyway, enjoy the pics.


Waiting at the airport...

These are pictures from my trip from Dire to Addis. Sorry for the blur, I was walking as I was taking these pictures at the airport. They have a brand new plane which flies from DD to ADD.
It usually flies out at night so I was one of the lucky ones to board on it. Although we were delayed about 2 hours, it was a short 55 minute flight from DD to ADD.

Bajajing through Dire

For those of you who don't know what a Bajaj is, it's basically a three wheeled vehicle which is used as the main mode of transportation in Dire Dawa and other small towns around Ethiopia. It's actually like a scooter with a few seats behind it because the steering wheel is like that of a bike rather than a car. If you watch Bollywood movies, the roads are filled with them in Indian Cities as well. I actually prefer it compared to the taxi's because the Bajaj is not enclosed (does not have windows) and so you can feel the breeze on your face as you are traveling.
Anyway, I took pics of the town as I was travelling from one place to another in Dire. Check them out.


Health Post Sign

This is the Asseliso Health Post. It serves more than 2000 people (about 500 families). It offers very basic healthcare given by health extension workers. For serious cases, people are referred to the main Dire Dawa Hospital, Dil Chora. The backdrop to this health post are the beautiful mountains as seen in one of the pictures. Driving back and forth from there is a treat for me. One thing I love about Addis and Dire Dawa so far is the fact that the mountains are everywhere. Sometimes you can see the clouds lingering at the peak of the mountains for picturesque views. Love it!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Oh, Thank GOD!!! After much hassle and anticipation, the pics may actually be posted now. Will not describe in detail how this worked after two weeks of continuous trying but just wanna say big ups to Gideon for letting me in on a little tip. So I decided to treat you all to my fave pics I've taken so far. These kids live in the tiny desert township known as Asseliso, about a 30 min drive from Dire Dawa. They loved jumping up and having their pictures captured in the air. But I loved their interpretation of Rambo so here it is above.

I will try to post my backup of pictures today; as long as this thing is working, I will take advantage of it. I'm ecstatic right now!! Bisous!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Problem with Pictures

Lately I've been having some issued while trying to post pictures to this blog. I think it is a ban on the website since the wireless signal is pretty good today. I tried to get it fixed by going to the IT department but to no avail. I'm planning on going to a wireless activated place for lunch tomorrow and unload a plethora of pics while I pack up my tummy. Stay patient. Meanwhile, I'm working daily and enjoying the relaxed lifestyle. Still trying to stay clear off thieves in Bole. Either way, pics speak much louder than words so hopefully, tomorrow is the day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back in Addis Ababa

Came back to Addis on Sunday night. Currently the weather is drastically different from the deserty Dire Dawa. I would say temps average around 55-65F; rainy season is in full effect. At the office with sub par internet connection. Unable to post pictures of my last days in Dire but will get to that in the next couple of days. I took a taxi back home from work yesterday (alone)... patting my self on the back for that. I didn't know how much to pay so I just gave the weyala 5 bucks so I could tell from the change how much I'll be paying from now on. More updates coming up soon, stay tuned.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hotels in Dire Dawa, ranking

Samrat Hotel

Selam Hotel

Hotel Blossom
Ras Hotel

This is a post on the hotels in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.
Basically, there are four hotels that many travelers from abroad frequent. I tried to find some information online before I arrived but was unable to find good or relevant information . I am currently staying at Selam Hotel. However, I have taken pictures of the others and some of my team members are staying there so I was able to actually go in and stay in the others as well. They are priced about the same starting from around $ 30 US dollars a night including breakfast. I am ranking them and letting you know which ones are better than the rest. Here is the ranking below:
1. Samrat Hotel: I felt like the service here was one of the best. They have a pool and the rooms have excellent satelite reception so you are most likely to get good TV. Also, the rooms have air conditioning units as well as fans so the heat will not get to you much. They provide wireless internet as well as desktops for internet access on the ground level. Their restaurant is great as well, they have an Indian chef who does buffets once a week, I believe. They are also located closer to the city center. All in all, great place great service.
2. Selam Hotel: I stayed here for a week and I really liked the privacy of the room. They also provide great breakfast and theit lobby has great wifi available. They also don't have an elevator so you probably have to drag your luggage up the stairs.The reason it is ranked second is because, although they have a satelite dish installed, I barely had 2 channels working on the TV. Also, they're wifi is limited to the lobby and they are located a bit further from the city center.
3. Hotel Blossom: This place had a great location. It is basically adjacent to Samrat and they have a great building. The negatives include no breakfast (although Ras Shell, a restaurant is located across the street), they're bathrooms lacked water on a number of occasions, and they could work a bit on they're customer service skills. However, it is a great place, the rooms are furnished nicely and the hotel offeres really nice stree views. Wifi can be good on some days and bad on others.
4. Ras Hotel: This was a formerly government owned hotel. I really didn't have a chance to visit inside. I took a picture of it from the third floor of Samrat Hotel. From what I hear, it is an outdated Hotel going through renovations at the moment. Many of my team members say it is their last option hotel; they only book there if the above three are sold out. I understand there is a pool there, so that may be a +ve for you...

Well, that's my list. All four are great hotels as far as the standard here goes so if you get any one of them, you will still be staying comfortably. I hear there might be another contender opening soon close to Selam and people are saying good things about it. I'll post about it if I get more info. Post comments and questions.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Top 5 Travel Essentials for Ethiopia (or any other developing country)...

So, I just got here about a week ago for work and I decided to post something on what the most essential things were to me at this point. Here is the list below:

1. Passport (of course). I make it a rule to make two copies of it to keep in my luggage and somewhere else just incase I lose the real deal which I take around with me in my backpack wherever I go.
2. Camera: A must to capture great memories. I have the canon IXY digital 12.1 MPs which I got as a gift from Japan. I couldn't take a picture of my camera so i got an image of the 10.1 MP from the internet. Make sure you have memory space on your camera (especially if you don't have a computer to unload on and if you are staying a long time).
3. Great pair of sneakers: I have a New Balance pair which are very comfortable and sturdy. I also recommend durable sandals which can come in handy on very hot days.
4. Disinfectant/wet wipes: A must! You can wipe dust off your face or just clean your hands before eating and be 99.9% clean.
5. Umbrella: You never know when it's gonna rain. Since I carry papers and books in my backpack and I don't want them to get wet, my umbrella is always with me.

Additional stuff:
6. Watch: Due to the time difference, you may have difficulty adjusting and it's always good to have a reminder.
7. Sunblock: You may be closer to the equator, the sun is stronger and it's always good to have coverage.
8. A notebook: You may have to take information from people or even have a list of things to do.
9. Sunglasses: always a plus to have one on hand
10. Last but not least, whatever you may crave: i always pack a bag of twix or a box of mac and cheese. Depending on how long you stay, the cravings may get pretty bad!
In addition, do not forget to ask about anti-malarials and other tropical disease preventive medications. Better safe than sorry.

Well that is my list. Add some stuff if I've missed any in the comment box.