There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Addis Ababa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Addis Ababa. Show all posts

30 July 2012

Addis Ababa

You can learn much about a country while in line at customs waiting for a visa. Things such as Ethiopia's primary language is Amharic, which looks like Arabic to a layperson. The greeting of "Hello" is different for men (Endeminnesh) vs. women (Edeminneh), and I may have that backwards. You will see gatherings unlike what you are used to in your hometown, but that is what exploration is all about.
After settling into Addis Ababa by spending a few hours at the National Museum, and the Ethnological Museum set within the former palace of Haile Selassie on the grounds of Addis Ababa University, we decided to head to the top of the Entoto mountains that surround the capital city.
The steep drive to the top of Mount Entoto at 3,200 metres above sea level takes some time in our little cab. We spend it chatting about the country, the government, life in general. The mountain is covered with trees that I do not recognize, yet the sweet smell from the forest is inviting and familiar. Our driver lets me know that the trees were brought from Australia in the 1800's and planted along the mountainous countryside, but he can't remember their name. With my ancestry from the land down under, I hazard a guess...
"yes, yes...that is it!"
Women are carrying huge bundles of tree branches down the mountain to the city to be sold. Eucalyptus holds many healing properties in it's leaves and bark, and I form a theory that the peacefulness of the city can be somewhat attributed to the constant smell of burning Eucalyptus trees from the cooking fires in the homes below.
Oldest Ecucalpytus tree in Addis Ababa.
As we arrive at the top, we find the holy St. Mary's church and shrine to Abeto Menelik II, Emperor to Ethiopia, founder of Addis Ababa, and considered by many to be the most powerful black person in history.
The museum houses riches beyond measure, yet there is no State of the Art security system. The respect for the holiness of the artifacts is security enough it would seem.
We walk on the grounds, enter the rooms of the great Emperor that still remain.

As we overlook the city below, I turn to see a woman worshipping next to a great tree below the church.

The sense of a great spiritual journey ahead was starting to form....

28 July 2012

the origins of Man

As we arrived into Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, you could feel the noticeable difference between this country and Kenya.

First, Ethiopia drives on the same side of the road as the United States, which was a welcome comfort for me. Ethiopia was so much cleaner than Kenya, and the landscape was mountainous.

Still, one must act with a certain amount of caution when in a new country for the first time. We decided to get our feet wet by going to a couple of museums, one that housed "Lucy", and the other on the stunning campus of the University of Addis Ababa.

A culture rich with history was to be found. Tracing the origins of man to the oldest found skeleton of Lucy, learning of Ethiopia's relative independence in development of government, art and music was fascinating.

Seeing a country that has three predominant religions; Muslim, Christian Orthodox, and Ethiopian Judaism, all with influence but no conflict within it's people is a lesson to be learned by the rest of the world.
Ethiopia's musical instruments go almost as far back as Lucy itself. As you learn about them and the tribes which developed them, the museum plays the hypnotic sounds.

On the campus grounds, they have the actual rooms of former great Kings of the past. You can stand before a dressing mirror that has the scratch from a bullet that was from a 1960's assassination attempt on the King's life during a Coupe D' etat.

The museums were a great way to slowly adjust to a new country, and learn about the history of the great Ethiopia.