It can get very hot in Ethiopia, but don’t think for a minute that you can open a window on a bus or in a taxi to cool down. Ethiopians have a fear of disease being caught by air blowing in through open windows. Shared taxis are not too bad as the side door is often open. Large busses and small taxis can be a real problem though. Click on the picture. Its where a handle was so you could roll down the window. Mr. Taxi driver removed them so you can’t! A lot of taxis do this. If it is really warm look inside a taxi first. No handles = no ride.
This is know locally as "Fird Biet". You will be approached on the street by a nice looking gentleman or even a kid. They tell you that the local community are putting on a Cultural Show and they would like to invite you. There will be traditional dancing, including the snake dance, by dancers in authentic costumes. It sounds great doesn’t it? Well, it’s a scam. A complete fraud and criminal enterprise. I used to watch one man, who looked like a school teacher, work the streets near a tourist hotel everyday. There is a teenager who works outside the Sheraton who runs away now when he sees me. Why? Because I know and now – so do you. I learned this from someone who once worked this scam.
How does it work? They take you somewhere and a few dances are performed. You are offered drinks. You are then asked at the end for $100 per person or even more. Because they kept their end of the bargain you have to pay. Not paying could become violent.
Never, ever go to a ‘Cultural Show’. If you eat at a good Ethiopian restaurant you will get traditional dancing for free. If you are approached, just say “Fird Bet” and they disappear quickly.
By the way the term means something like an appearace in criminal court.
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!
Ethiopia is full of guys who think they can wire up anything. My landlord was like that. He replaced and rewired my ‘hot’ shower over 10 times. Never worked. Wherever you are, do study the evacuation routes/exits – especially before you got to sleep. I have smelled burning and had electric showers go bust several times. In fact, be very careful about splashing water in showers. Hard to believe but all these pictures were taken in showers!
There are four sources of bother for tourists in Addis:
1-Beggars who are mostly seen in Piazza area and Bole Road.
2-Homeless kids who will follow you to brush your shoes
3-Unemployed youths who gather near cafes and crossroads
4-And finally the fake guides, these are the crooks and the most dangerous ones in Addis. Often they are will dressed and you will immediately know them when they say: ‘ remember me? I know your hotel.’ Beware of these crooks. Do not look into their eyes and smile to them. If you do, then you are glued down. It is difficult to get rid of these but luckily and thanks to the Ethiopian government, there are security guards every where in Addis. Moreover, there is a law, as one Ethiopian friend told me, by which any local who intends to harass, steal or attack tourists is imprisoned for six months.
...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.
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.
Amazingly, Piazza Area together with Bole Road, are the cleanest areas in Addis. Nevertheless, it is more than other areas in Addis which are inflicted with beggars and crooks. It is in Piazza that most cheap hotels are located, starting with the National Hotel (not be confused with the National Hotel off Haile Bebre Silase St. ), Etege Taitu, Florida, Oslo and many more. These hotels are not worth a penny. If you want to enjoy Addis and have a comfortable stay there, you need to go for medium range or above hotels. All these cheap hotels lack the basic means of comfort and hygiene.
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.
You may have been warned against the police in Africa. Their low salary makes it easier to be corrupt and take advantage of the tourists.
BUT the Ethiopian police are different. They may look dangerous with their Kalashnikov guns, but they are polite and willing to help if you got problems. And they don't steel from tourists.
Yes, Addis is generally a pretty safe place.
But, in the market, a guy grabbed one harm(quite hard) and tugged it toward him, all the while saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." While distracted, another guy on the opposite side reached into my shirt pocket and got my 40 bihr.
It's a harmless well-known attack but my arm was pretty sore after that.
I was also pissed off.
I went back to the market carrying a very visible hand-sized stone and a knowing smile. Seemed everyone understood why I was being so oddly conspicuously. It illicited many smiles.
Funny, no one touched me that time.
Lesson; be prepared for such things. Carry cash in unusual places(pant cuffs) then make purchases swiftly and move on. Look like you know you're not to be messed with.
Yelling, "Heet!" at hangers-on usually stuns them enough to halt their being a nuisance. I believe it means, "leave me!" or "stop!"
These are available but not quite visible in most streets in Addis but mostly in under-developed roads. If you think you can have fun with them by giving them false promises or touching their bodies, you are absolutely mistaken. These girls can turn violent and wild. They scream and will attack you with whatever is in their hands, until you give them some money. If you pass by them and one of them says ‘Hello’ to you, simply say ‘Hello’ and walk away unless, of course you have decided to have a real fun.
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.
Ufortunately there are scams against tourists i Addis Ababa. Avoid strangers who want to show you other places. In some cases it could be an attempt to fool you into something.
The classic scam are strangers who want to take you to a "traditional show". You will follow the person into a place or a privat club. You will eat and drink, and maybe stand treat for drinks to your "new friends". They usually drink some kind of wine made by honey. I think they call it "Tej". Even if it is homemade, they will argue that it is imported and charge you 200 Birr a bottle. Imagine the bill you have to pay when you shall leave :-(
For the time being, it is advisable to avoid all hotels located on Debre Zeit and Meskel Flower roads, starting from Concorde, Hawi, Global and some more. There are massive road and sewage construction there which makes your life miserable. In the daytime, it is almost impossible to walk; there are rubbles, stones and pits which are absolutely horrible for passers-by. At night, there are no street lamps and the roads look dangerous. In other parts of Addis, another type of construction is under way: luxurious villas for middle-class Ethiopians, hotels and shopping centers. It seems that the global economic crisis has no effect on the development projects in Addis.
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