Addis Ababa updates

a.       Restaurant: great, great meal upon arrival in Addis at a somewhat new restaurant, Fasika, that is not listed in your guide. We loved it so much that we also had dinner there when back in Addis after visiting northern Ethiopia. Meal for 4 people with lots of food and beers went for +/- 700 birr;

b.      Art Gallery: also not mentioned in your book, Saint George Art Gallery, next door to the Sheraton (tel: 011 551 0983). Incredible collection of Ethiopian and African paintings, masks, crosses, furniture, etc. Picture of owner with Bill Clinton right at the entrance suggests that gallery is already attracting due attention from “foreign dignitaries”. Prices, unfortunately, have already been “westernized” and there was not much room for bargaining.  Owner was a bit cold, with monosyllable answers, at the beginning but became very nice and attentious once we started buying a few items…

c.       Armenian Club: we tried to have lunch there but apparently they are only serving meals at night time nowadays;

d.      Addis Ababa Museum: despite the information on the guide, corroborated by the sign at the entrance, that the Museum is open till 12:30 on Sundays, we got there at 11:30 and museum was already closed. When back to Addis at the end of trip, we were more successful and managed to get in.  Very interesting collection of photographs from various periods.  I found it amusing that a picture of Mengistu with Fidel in back room was the only picture without a label…

e.      National Museum of Ethiopia: we went there for the archaeological section, which we found somewhat disappointing. The rest of the museum though was very interesting and made the visit worthwhile.  As you well pointed in the guidebook, hiring a knowledgeable guide at the entrance made all the difference…

f.        ATM: there are two ATM machines inside the Sheraton that allowed us to get birr at a very decent exchange rate. Much more convenient (and probably safer) than having to exchange money at foreign-exchange bureaus.

José Bonchristiano

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