Meeting My Second Exodus Tour Group

Trip Start Oct 11, 2012
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18
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Trip End Nov 19, 2012


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Where I stayed
Ghion Hotel Addis Ababa
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
Church of the Holy Trinity
Mausoleum of Menelik II

Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Monday, October 29, 2012


I woke up later than I expected this morning - perhaps since I went to bed at midnight last night.  I was pretty much packed up so I went to breakfast immediately - around 7 am - and had another hearty breakfast to keep me for the day.  I gathered my belongings and dragged my bags downstairs only to have a porter grab the big bag at the bottom of the stairs.  I can't remember now but I don't think I had any money to tip him.  Getting my bill settled seemed to take ages as the desk clerk had a phone conversation in the middle and tried to figure out my laundry bill where I had listed leggings and tank top on the sheet and they had no standard fee amount for her to fill in.  Finally that was resolved and I paid my bill.  I asked about a transfer but ended up with a taxi to the Ghion Hotel.

I waited at the Ghion Hotel.  First the Explore group arrived and then Kibrom came with the Exodus group.  He smiled and greeted me with a hug when he saw me in the lobby.  He sorted out the keys and I met my new roommate Sian - pronounced sort of like Sean, but differently, since that is the male version and hers is the female version.  She is from Wales.  I also greeted Leigh and Lang and chatted with them.  It was so nice to see them again!

Sian and I went to our room and talked while getting our things in order.  She lay down to rest for awhile after her night's flight and I worked on my postcards.  I was able to get stamps for 5 of them so I will take them to the mailbox in the hotel tonight so I won't have to mail them in the morning since we are leaving at 5:15 AM.

At 1:30 pm, our group of 18 convened and set off for the National Museum.  I got much more out of it this time because Kibrom gave us a guided tour and pointed out things of interest and explained them.  Although the Museum collection might mean more to us once we have seen Axum and some of the other historical cities. 

From there we went to the Church of the Holy Trinity that I had visited last time but I think I got some better photos this time.  (hmmm, maybe not)  After that we went to Menelik II's tomb, now the Church of Mary.  Our bus dropped us off on a road up a hill to the church-mausoleum.  Along the way were many vendors of candles and religious articles - crosses, etc.  Many of the vendors were men in wheelchairs or people with other physical disabilities.  We entered the church and Kibrom explained the 3 parts of the church.  In this one, we went into the middle section and could see yet another enclosed area - the holy of holies - the 3rd part accessible only to the priests and deacons.  There was also a mix of the religious and secular with paintings of Menelik II in the outer and inner parts.  You have to take your shoes off outside the church and they are watched by someone who then needs to be tipped.  Kibrom said that sometimes shoes used to disappear - hence the need for a shoe guardian.  We went into the basement of the church where a museum is housed as well as the tomb of Menelik II, his wife, his daughter and the daughter of Haile Selassie who was Ethiopia's first nurse and who died in her 20's in childbirth.

This was the end of our afternoon tour and we returned to the hotel.  Kibrom had briefed us about tipping and suggested that we appoint someone as our kitty caretaker.  No one volunteered and Kibrom was selected to do the tipping with our combined kitty of 500 birr per person.  He seemed OK with that.  I wonder how often he gets stuck with the job.

In the lobby, Sian mentioned that she would like to eat and then go to sleep.  Aga was standing near us and so all three of us decided to go directly to dinner.  We ended up in the Ethiopian dining area of the Ghion Hotel and were given the Ethiopian menu.  Both Sian and Aga decided to try a beef dish with the local honey spirit.  I opted for the Ethiopian mixed meal.  We were served a large plate with 3 pieces of injera and then our waitress brought some bowls with my mixed meal and spread it out in front of me.  She returned with bowls of their beef dish and added a tiny spoonful of hot pepper sauce.  We then tucked in.  Sian found her beef mixture very hot.  Aga said it was fun to try the dish, but she wouldn't be choosing it again.  I think everyone liked my mixture best - and the vegetables were the best part.  The honey spirit had a strange taste which we all seemed to get accustomed to quite easily.

Now Sian and I are in our room settling in for the night and getting ready for our very early departure tomorrow morning.



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