Home Sweet Home
I am excited to see my family after 16 months. But to do that I have to go through a 24 hour flight on Saudi Air. The worst flying experience.I am sure this would be my last time flying Saudi air. In my 8 hour layover in Riyadh King Khalid airport, I can barely find anything to eat. people were so rude when you ask for any kind of help. There was no gate number for my flight from Riyadh to Addis until 15 mins before my boarding time. Finally when I am in line to get on the plane,lot of people behind me start running towards the plane, mostly Ethiopian girls dressed in Hijab. Not sure what to do, I stayed in line and get in the plane to be told that it’s free seating. Very Strange. Asking one of the lady what is going on she told me that they have been canceling the flights a couple of times already, and sometimes they have more passengers than seats so if the seats are full, they will tell you to come for the next flight. Most of these ladies come to Saudi looking for a job and doesn’t even know their basic rights. some of them get mistreated and beaten by their bosses. it was a very sad scene. Maybe when that oil money goes away they will start treating humans as humans. Just Maybe…
And to top all that after waiting for my luggage at Bole airport for two hours, I was told it didn’t make it and I have to come after two days when the next flight arrive.Been 27 hours since I board from Dulles, hungry, tired, angry and No luggage. PERFECT!!
My Mom has come to the airport hours earlier than my landing time with my brother, out of excitement and fear of driving in the dark. They have to wait for hours through the delayed flight and me waiting for my luggage. But all that is forgotten, once I am with family once again.
Addis Ababa (New Flower) is the Capital city of Ethiopia and also the Largest with a population nearly 4 million. It was founded back in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II and have grown to be a major metropolitan city and home of the African Union. It’s here where I was born and raised.
The city has has been undergoing a lot of changes since I left 8 years ago. some Neighborhoods have changed completely, I don’t even know my way anymore. Buildings and condominiums are poping every where. it has been attracting a lot of investors, mainly the Chinese, taking part in building roads, Electric railways and other infrastructures.
The overall vibe of the city has changed. It used to be a simple city with laid back and cool people. Now all you see on the street is a lot of crowd everywhere and people aren’t nice anymore. It’s hard to navigate the city as there is always traffic in every pocket of the city.So many new places, Restaurants and bars has opened and so many of the old ones has closed, I don’t where to go without calling my friends for some recommendations. I was also shocked by how much the price has sky rocketed on everything. The inflation has been ridiculously high in the past 10 years.
food and drink prices has more than Quadrupled. For Diasporas like me bringing the power of the dollar and exchanging it 1 for 20, that might not be a problem, but very few people can afford that price tag.
But the inflation has made everybody work harder and try to run some kind of business. People are so focused on making money and finding new business opportunities.
The population has almost doubled since i left here as Lots of people migrate every year from the rural part of the country in search of a job.As the result the number of cars has tripled in the past ten years. Driving or taking public transportation during rush hour will test your patience to the limit. A whole lot of new roads have been built and the city has now a light rail connecting the city center to the suburbs, but it still couldn’t support the ever growing population.
Driving here is a total Chaos.but people including my Mom manage it somehow everyday. There is one traffic rule here. DONT CRUSH. This is one place you can possibly break every traffic rule you can think of and get away with it. The traffic police are willing to look away as long as you put a little something in their pocket. Trying to find a lane on the streets ? you have a better chance of finding Jesus..am kidding, go to church on Sunday to find jesus 🙂
The biggest problem is Drinking and driving. Most traffic police will be off duty after 8 or 9. there is nobody to stop you if you show any sign of drunk driving. I have seen drunk people who can’t even stand by themselves get in their car and drive away. The ambulance service is next to None. So if you run into an accident in the middle of the night, there is a good chance you will bleed to death. On Saturday and Sunday mornings it’s common to see flipped over cars in the middle of the road. I once saw a car splinted in halves separated by a good 20 yards up hill. It’s still a miracle to me, how that happened.
I have Yet to drive here, I left before i got my driving license. And for now I am happy I ain’t behind those wheels. Alissa thinks she can.We will see about that.
I really miss the Old and simple Addis. It’s turning into one big chaotic, dirty and crowded city with no character to it.
But these streets are where I grow up, this is where I call home, and This is where I always come back to.