It was a great intro trip, David. Thanks for asking. We didn’t really get far outside of Addis, so no trip to Sodere this time. We did go running up in the Entoto National Park/Hills with a few Addis-based ex-pats and a Ethiopian running guide. Fascinating mix up there over 9000 feet…locals gathering bundles of sticks…and world class runners with great gear buzzing by along the woodsy trails. There’s even a 9/11 memorial. Which coincides with New Years Day on the oddball Ethiopian 13-month calendar.
More broadly, we got a sense of this chaotic African capital. The African Union’s annual summit kicked off while we were there. Heads of state and delegations from everywhere. The new AU headquarters built by the Chinese in 2012 feels like an alien spacecraft plopped randomly into the sprawling highland cityscape. Thousands of armed Ethiopian soldiers were unevenly spread across the board. I saw countless black Mercedes sedans, sometimes from inside ramshackle indie cabs (almost universally a 1990 Toyota Carolla, painted blue and white, with no functioning seatbelts). I walked the streets as usual, which certainly isn’t a typical “faranji” move. My favorite yelled comment while doing so: “hey…Pennsylvania!” I yelled back, “Yo Adrian!”
We came back even more excited about our planned move. Tons to do before then. Including a deeper dive into what AO offers. Regardless, I hope to keep y’all in the loop as we begin exploring from that platform come August.