We're here! And I'm ridiculously happy to be off the plane. As nice as everyone was, I'm happy to be able to stretch my legs and not look like a lunatic doing lunges down the aisle of the plane...because I definitely did that when it looked like most of the people were asleep. Anyway, to customs! We have to get our visas to enter the country, and from what I've heard the lines normally aren't too long so it shouldn't be too long until we're in the city and really experiencing our trip!
Well, I was definitely wrong. The lines were massive for obtaining a visa. Dr. Abegaz said it's most likely because it's the holidays (since Christmas is January 7th here). He definitely seemed confused by the length of the lines too. It's not really a big deal, I've been in worse just to get a passport checked - I'm looking at you, Heathrow, with your winding long lines.
Alright! It took FOREVER to get our luggage. But! We're officially out of the airport and at our guest house. Yep, we're staying at a guest house (it's called Weygoss - not sure if that means something, I should ask). It seems nice, we get our own room, and there's Wi-Fi. I'm pretty happy. It's definitely a more authentic experience than staying at a hotel. There's only one down-side: I'm in room 307. I'm honestly not a fan of the three full flights of stairs, but I probably need the exercise...
We went to a place called Romina Restaurant, Cafe, and Bar for lunch. I felt kind of bad watching Dr. Abegaz have to explain all of my allergies to the waiter, and it
definitely limits my options on the menu. I ended up with rice and vegetables, which is pretty much what I eat at home most days, but it was good. Definitely a different spice blend than what I make at home - I'm not familiar with all of them, but I like it! I definitely couldn't finish my dish, though, the portion sizes are HUGE. They also have really good tea - like really good tea.
After lunch, we explored a few locations around the city. The first place we went to was the Lion Park. It's this small little place in the middle of two busy streets (the setup kind of reminded me of the parks you see in London neat the squares - small patches of land surrounded by constant traffic). To be honest, I was a little disappointed with it, because it seemed more like a small zoo than anything else. The lions were also in a completely concrete enclosure...it almost made me mad in a way? I'm not really sure of my emotions right now, to be
honest. There is definitely a cultural divide here when it comes to animals I guess. After that, we stopped by the Faculty of Science at Addis Ababa University to meet some of the professors. We even got to have tea/coffee with the head of the department and one of the inorganic chemistry professors (Dr. Yonas). They were all so incredibly nice and welcoming and showed us around the facilities.
We're back at the guest house now. Dominika and I are trying to work on our research paper, to little avail. The Wi-Fi doesn't like us right now, so downloading research articles is out of the question. But at least we're getting some ideas down and figuring out what to focus on. Land degradation is a really broad topic, and we're trying to see if we can pinpoint specifics we want to look at.
We went to a culture house for dinner. It's really cool, and apparently this is the more traditional eating style. Again, there's A LOT of food. I ended up snacking off of Mason's plate because I wasn't very hungry. We got beef marinated in chili oil and served with injera (a kind of traditional sourdough flatbread that seems to come with everything). It was really good, although I'm still not sure exactly what to think of the injera. It's different from what I'm used to, but that was kind of the point.
Just took a shower and I'm definitely ready to pass out. My bed is calling my name. I'll let everyone know I'm alive tomorrow.