Addis Ababa, safest town in Africa
Well, I´m not too sure about the title because I can only compare it with a couple others. But still, trust me, Addis Ababa is SAFE. Violent crime is unthinkable and the most you will get is a clumsy pickpocket in Merkato if that at all. I've lived here for a while and even my female white friends from the West admit it. "Addis is safer than most parts in Vancouver or Toronto", etc. etc. Even at night, the biggest risk is that by a flee-ridden blind street dog or a raveged beggar who is so weak he can barely walk two steps without tripping over. Ethiopians are well aware that a foreigner is untouchable.
If you are about to be pickpocketed...
...it will most likely start by someone slapping your arm or hitting you in order to try and get a response out of you so they can start a verbal argument with you while their friend picks your pocket. I had someone try and do this to me, but I knew what was up long before, so I just kept walking. Someone might also yell negative anti-foreigner statements, or anything else to get you pissed off and off balance. My advice is for you to just keep moving and don't stop.
Generally Addis Ababa is a very safe city to be in. People walk the streets at any hour of the night, including women by themselves and you don't really find anything seriously negative going on. One thing you do need to be aware of is the resident scam. This is how it will work. Someone will approach you and ask if you want to see a traditional dance with a coffee ceremony or something along those lines. They might also tell you that today is the only day it is going to happen because it is a "special celebration day" in order to try and pressure you to do it. If you do go along with it, this is what you have to look forward to: They will serve you coffee, food, and most likely a lot of alcohol. Then suddenly it will all end and they will demand you pay them a huge amount of birr for the whole thing. Anywhere from 500 to 1,000 birr. Basically it's a scam because they never tell you how much they are going to charge you up front. My advice is to just pass on the whole thing since it is run by con artists. Another way to know you are being set up is when someone says they work in the hotel they just watched you come out of. Usually you will see the same guy sitting outside a hotel keeping an eye out for new suckers, I mean tourists.
No ATM's in the airport transit area!
There are no ATMs in the transit area, and the restaurants do not take cards. 12 hours with an 11 year old kid, that is NOT a good memory. To leave the transit area we had to pay for a transit visa, but they did not accept credit cards ...
Be sure to bring cash if you have to spend some time between your flights!
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Addis Ababa. Culture Show
When walking the streets of Addis you might run in to some friendly guy just chatting along. Eventually he will tell you there is a cultural show just today and lead you of to some scrubby bar. Well inside a group of ladies will start to dance and you'll be offered a drink and also to invite them for one. THE DRINKS ARE NOT CHEAP. There are people who ended up payin up to 200 U$ I paid 30 birr.
Addis Ababa is full of...
Addis Ababa is full of beggars. I personally find it extremely difficult. People will follow you where ever you go to. You just have to move along and although it is hard, ignore them. I once had one guy following me for about 3 hours.
Hole in the streets
The streets and pavements in the centre of Addis Ababa are dilapidated, and big holes are usual. Be careful where you put your feet.
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