January 28, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:Geri is currently contracting with the UN in Ethiopia, so naturally I decided to follow along.. Very interesting place! I'm currently trying to update the gallery from Ethiopia; this is a somewhat challenging experience, as where I am staying they have what I would consider "excessive filters" on their network. You can't even get out on standard protocols, much less in... so we shall see if I can do it. So far, that's a "no, you can't". So it will have to wait until I get back to Wales to upload photographs. Ah well!
Addis Ababa is the capitol of Ethiopia, and at a pleasant height above sea level.. between 8000 and 9000 feet! So while the air is a bit thin for us sea level residents, the temperature is wonderful! We traveled down to a gourge (the Blue Nile) and the temp went up as we went lower, so I am happy to be this high!
Right now, I'm working over some of the photographs I took while wandering around the country side. On our way back from the Blue Nile bridge, we stopped off to see the Portugese bridge, so called because the Portugese built it. This included a visit to a monastery, and an image inside the cave where the holy man prayed for 12 years. The hike up to the cave on the side of a cliff was interesting in the thin air! The blue barrels are holy water, given out to those who make the pilgrimage while not feeling well. Said to have healing properties. We were sick (just gasping for air) so we couldn't tell you.
Monday a friend of my wife's co-oworker is taking me with him when he goes back (He's shooting a Documentary Film) to a local orphanage. Should be interesting, this is an orphanage for children who have Aids; the orphanage is broken into two houses, 0 to 12, and 12 to 18. They try and give the children as normal and hopeful a life as possible; their eldest, a young lady (who is 17 turning 18 this year), hopes to go to the University. That will be their first, but they are willing to try! I hope she makes it in! This week is exam week, and they are studying hard, so we didn't want to disturb them.
I'm finding the people very friendly; most speak english (after a fashion, I'm horrible with accents!), so it is easy enough to get along. I find it a bit intimidating even so, being the only white person that I can see when I'm out walking. Doesn't help that I'm the only one I've seen in shorts! It's in the 70's here, and that's no temp (for me) to be wearing long pants/sleeves... I took a taxi (recommended by a collegie of Geri's as reliable) around town and shopping a bit... very odd experience, having everyone stare at me. Most smiled when I looked at them, or said hi, but still...
No problems with pick-pockets so far. There are warnings everywhere here, but I think if you are just careful, and watch were you are, they don't bother you. So far, at least.
Cameras are allowed, and most places they will let you take picutres (obvious non-photo areas: embassies, palace, etc), at least with still cameras. Most video cameras are not allowed into the country without a special permit; If it looks like a professional video camera, or it has a "3CCD" lable on it, you have to pay extra to get a permit to bring it into the country. So far, they haven't noticed cameras such as the Canon 5D MkII, that does HD as well as photographs... it's still classified as a camera, not a video camera, so they don't care about it. When I came in, they just asked me if I had a video camera, didn't even bother looking at my gear. Wonder how long that will last?
I'll post a link here if I can get everything updated an connected. Certainly after I get home to Wales!