Kenya and Ethiopia – Part 6: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The flight from Mombasa to Addis Ababa was only 2 hours, 15 minutes, and passport control was pretty fast. This hotel offers a free shuttle service, so they were waiting when we arrived. A nice big van, just for me and Mark.  

This hotel, the Golden Tulip, was pretty nice.  Accommodations in Addis run the gamut, from major luxury to total squalor.  This one was super nice.

Every room we rented on this trip had two beds.  Kenya and Ethiopia are pretty homophobic countries, and it’s inconceivable to them that two men would want to share a bed.  Rather than risk endangering ourselves or alienating the staff, I just humor them, and then I take perverse pleasure in sleeping with Mark in the same bed.

After resting and relaxing at the hotel, we headed to Yod Abyssinia, and although it’s a tad touristy, the food there is said to be excellent.

In Nairobi and Mombasa, tourists were pretty common, but not in Addis Ababa. Everywhere we went, we were stared at, and not always in a good way.  Fortunately, the restaurant wasn’t far.

Mark had been reading about Ethiopian food for weeks, watching food videos, etc.  Finally, we’d get to eat the real stuff. We ordered several dishes. They brought out that huge plate with the injerra, that spongy bread that is the main staple of Ethiopian cuisine, along with the main dishes.  

They spooned the main courses onto the injerra, and we used more injerra, to pick it up.

After she was done, the plate looked great.

That’s how it’s done here.  They did bring forks and spoons, as they probably have had enough experience with tourists to know that not everyone can master the art of eating Ethiopian food.  The truly proper way to eat it is to tear a small piece of injerra using only your right hand. You may not double dip, and you’re not supposed to lick your fingers.  Feeding your friends or family by hand (putting some injerra that is wrapped around some meat or curry into the other person’s mouth) is considered an act of love and friendship.  I had eaten Ethiopian food twice before, both times many years ago, and I had no clue what I was doing. I was better prepared this time, but I definitely had to use both hands to eat, and I’m sure I double dipped, and I’m sure I licked my fingers.  (Ethiopian food is messy.)

The food was excellent. Really great. After the meal, the waitress offered us a small taste of tej, which is Ethopian honey wine, a very traditional drink. We downed our little shot glasses, and I could feel that stuff burn its way down every inch of my esophagus.  I passed on her offer to bring us more.

The big selling point with this restaurant, other than the food, is the entertainment.  There’s a stage where a band plays the local music.

Later in the evening, the dancers take the stage.

Very nice, and very festive.  We had a great time.

I definitely recommend Yod Abyssinia restaurant for anyone who visits Addis Ababa.


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