ok, so I need to backtrack on my last post about Addis – I went to the Mercato and to the Piazza areas this past weekend and you can definitely tell this city is still on the road to being a developed place. The fashion police should’ve been out in full force in the Mercato! it was chaotic, dirty (i nearly stepped in donkey poo about 10 times…), smelly, and in a lot of ways just overbearing…
Mercatobut despite all the warnings — i still found it super safe. people who think this is bad, should try going to Nairobi or to cities in India like Jaipur – this place is totally tame. The best part is that the drivers here aren’t in love with their car horn and aren’t aiming to run you over – you can concentrate on avoiding potential muggers rather than dodging cars…
Mercato Church CrossesThe Mercato is basically just a big ass market (i’m guessing by the name, that it came about during the time of the Italian invasion…). They claim that the market is the largest in Africa, but I don’t believe that although you can pretty much find anything here. You got areas, where you can find all the latest electronics like mobile phones and flat screen tvs, and other are as filled with different types of food – the smell of the spices would knock you on your butt… – i wasn’t in the mood to squeeze through people, so i only walked about on the main paths and completley by accident I stumbled upon this one street that had a mosque and a church almost side by side – on more than one occation, i’ve had Ethiopians proudly tell me that they are one of the few countries in the area where Muslims and Christians live together without any problems.  Pretty cool in today’s climate…
Well, after the chaos of this Mercato, I had to go to the Piazza area for coffee. The Piazza area is full of narrow inter-twinded and winding streets, with little cafes, restaurants, and shops dotted along everywhere – I realized I’ve been getting scammed on everything so far! For a bottle of coke, I’ve been paying anywhere between 6 Birr (about 75 cents) to 15 Birr (around $1.75) at the Hilton. In the Piazza, it was 3 Birr! I thought I was a getting a deal when buying for only 75 cents!  Coffee on the other hand was still about the same price.  I ended up at Tamoca, a small quaint little place that feels like it belongs in the middle of Europe – amazing coffee and atmosphere – sometimes I do wonder if I really am in Africa…