Thursday, June 29, 2006

Africa - Ethiopia - Trivia

We landed in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, 4 hrs. after leaving Dubai. Addis Ababa reminds me of parts of Mexico or Lance compared to South any developing country. Here are some facts we learned:

-Ethiopia was never colonized by another country (like how Kenya was colonized by the British). The Italians had tried in the past, but Ethiopia fought hard against it.

-Ethiopia used to have a Communist government

-If you hit an Ethiopian with your car, the fine is equivalent to $1,000 US dollars. If you paralyze or hurt the person with your car, you have to pay for them for the rest of their lives. So the joke is better to make sure they're dead.

- Donkeys carry eucalyptus leafves down from the mountains and forests for fuel for cooking.

-The Ethiopian currency is the Birr. The current exchange is 8.6 Birr = $1 US

-You get the weirdest looks if you are Asian...from personal experience

-The country is about 50/50 Christian and Islamic (which explains the loud singing at 5 a.m. outside our hotel Monday morning)

-Most of the cars are used. Luxury import cars carry a 100% import tax. Still we saw many Mercedes Benz. Gas is still leaded and they use diesel. Air pollution is very apparant.

-Climate - hot days and cold nights.

-Coffee originated from Ethiopia. It is still their main export as well as tea.

Typical Ethiopian Meal