Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Africa: Ethiopia - A Wedding in Addis Ababa

Our stay in Addis Ababa was for about 3 days. We checked into the Sheraton - and it is a GORGEOUS 5-star hotel. The pool and restaurants were fantastic. The contradiction is that right outside the Sheraton gates, was a run down area of the city. Though it can be difficult to see, at least the tourists bring money into the country and help make more jobs available.

The next day was our good friends' wedding. Being able to attend was a once in a lifetime experience. The church ceremony started at 6am - 9:30 am. There were 5 couples total getting married at the same time. The church is Christian and completely packed. Turns out it was also St. Gabriel's day so there were tons of people dressed in white spilling outside thru the parking lot and out the gates. They were all facing the church worshipping. Inside everyone was elbow to elbow and it was steamy!

Later we all got in cars and traveled together to a place to celebrate and have lunch. We drove out of the city and up the mountainside into the country. The air was so much cooler and more it was beautiful scenery. You start seeing more asses (as in donkeys, get your mind out of the gutter), cows and horses. The houses look like they're made of wood, mud or clay. We finally stop as our friends each mount a horse. This is very old tradition. We completely hold up traffic while everyone's walks down the road singing to a guy playing the drum. The lunch reception is our friends' Godfather's house.