Up way to early, long unexciting taxi ride to the airport. In Entebbe the sunrise was incredible. I had to stop at the top of the airplane's boarding ramp and spend a few minutes looking over lake Victoria - almost made getting up early worth while... almost.
Ethiopia is a bit challenging - with the different language and worse different writing. I was glad that my friend Dawn was there to meet me. Had lunch at the U.N. Complex (where Dawn works) and spent the rest f the afternoon trying to figure out my plans for while I'm here in Ethiopia and figuring out the local system.
The local writing is obviously completely out of my reach - 236 character of the Amharic language are never going to make any sense to me (they look like a cross between Hebrew and Arabic). I eventually gave up on the calendar as well (the Julian calendar - 12 months of 30 days and one month of 5 or 6 days; plus it's 7 years 8 months behind ours!) The time system at least I think I can grasp. Basically it's a twelve hour clock starting at six AM (day hours) and six PM (night hours). So four in the day is ten AM, and ten at night is is four am. This is really and exotic place...
Dawn and I were going to go to Lalibela this weekend but the flights were completely booked - it turned out that all flights this weekend were completely booked! Eventually ended up spending a couple hours with the travel agent trying to work out a way to see what I wanted to see given the time restraints and the fact that many of the flights are already booked out. Monday I head to Harar, Wednesday to Bahar Dar (via Addis), Saturday to Lalibela (where I'll meet Dawn), Monday to Gondar, and Wednesday back to Addis Ababa. Unfortunately you can't get to Axum (where the Ark of the Covenant is kept) due to the war.
Went to a French movie at the U.N. complex (which I understood very little of) then had a party at Dawn's house. The main street leading to Dawn's house was complete shut down due to thousands of Eritreans who were being deported. The situation was ugly - lot's of men with sticks keeping people in place and lots of other men with guns watching over the entire thing.
José (a co-worker of Dawn's) and I headed out to buy a crate of beer - unfortunately the only way we could get it back to the house was to either go through the middle of the mob or wander through some unlit back streets we didn't know. We ended up going through the mobs - basically as quickly as possible with our heads down. Got a few comments and it felt a bit scary, but nothing happened. It looked as though not many people were going to show up at the party due to the street being closed, but it turned out a sizable group worked its way there. There were twenty to thirty people from all over Africa and a handful of people from North America (mostly U.N. or O.A.U.) - it was a great mix. After everyone left Dawn and I sat up talking. Went to bed around two thirty.