In a country with so many poor people and not enough jobs, you will come across men and often young boys who offer to shine your shoes. The young men in the photos operate in and around the Piazza area. They perform a first class job on any shoes. They have professioanl quality polishes, brushes and are expertly trained. You can pay around 10 Birr (about 50 us cents), just ask first and reject any high prices. You will see these guys on the streets and I always found them polite and absolutely dedicated to doing a first class job. They really do make any shoes look new. Just agree a price before hand and don’t let them give you too high a price. With food being inexpensive in Ethiopia, your small fee can literally buy a meal. It’s a good deal and you are helping someone earn a very honest living for a very small amount of money.
"Dembel City Center" is a big shopping mall in the heart of Addis Ababa. It is not the most economic solution but it has a very convenient location. There is almost everything from electronic goods to eclectic clothes and small gifts you can buy for you and your friends back home. Only there is not a great variety so if you prefer something cheaper you should go to the big shopping malls in Bole street, like Friendship Mall, where you can find everything in a good variety.
There are also a lot of cheap products in the Merkato and in the back streets of Piazza.
Well, someone correct the name if it is wrong - shomata is what it sounded like! (like Yiddish shmatta?) These are up on the hill in Addis, white painted complex, each shop has a number.
Perhaps this is Bole St. not sure. This is NOT the famous Mercato - that was too hot and crowded, this was an easier experience and limited just to the clothing shops.
One fellow had a card but the address is in Amharic. The shop name was Habesah Traditional Cloth Shop I'll put his number and email below - however, he does not have the actual ready made traditional dresses that I bought - these were in other shops in the same area.
What to buy: I thought I'd list prices and no doubt, I was slightly ripped off as I did not bargain very hard. For a piece of fabric to be sewn into the fitted-style top and straight, full or pleated skirt - the fabric has top parts, a pattern and then a more solid color - the piece I bought is lavender and lavender and white. The price was 350 birr, (35 dollars) it comes iwth an overscarf or shawl.
The traditional dress I am calling a highland style (?) with long sleeves, white gauzy cotton, with an elasticized waist (makes everyone over 115 pounds look huge) and with a very nice design along the neck and down the front (I bought one with brown/gold and another with gold) - these were 350 birr each (35 $) I thought they could reduce it to 320, but no. They too come each with a belt and and an overscarf. The overscarf is typically worn in all these styles
Other styles are sleeveless white, or also full and pleated and sleeveless, or top full and pleated as is the skirt.
Another style looks a bit like a Moroccan caftan, but with short sleeves, no waist, just cut straight from sleeve edge to hem, but in silky rayon and wonderful bright colors, with an overscarf - bright green with gold, turquoise, orange 400 birr - ($40)
Traditional boy's/man's costume, heavy beige (or light blue) fabric, shirt and elasticized trousers, this was just 98 birr ($9.80).
What to pay: Above and I will post pictures when I can
You need to bargain in the markets and cabs for everything here. If you do not like a price tell them sorry and go next door and they will usually come around if not step out of site and have a local buy it for you after you tell them what you want.
When I was at the airport my first cab tried to charge me 100 bir for a ride. I made him turn around and while he would not take the 40 bir for a ride his buddy did and was greatful for the business. Same goes for the Mechato..had to walk out of a few places to get the price I wanted.
What to buy: Apart from the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia is most renowned for coffee. A bag of original Harar coffee is a good gift for friends at home. If you visit both Harar and Dire Dawa, prices in DD are a bit lower. Go to the place listed in Lonely Planet.
The market is full of gift items including the best African spices thet miney can buy. A tourist in this part of Africa needs to buy light items that can ne folded like a tube such as paintings on leather, wood or even paper. I strongly suggest everybody to be careful about the price (less than 35 US dollars ok, everhing else shoudld be lower than that) you have negotiate big time.
What to buy: Paintings on leather.
What to pay: less 35 US Dollars.
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Ohhh, nothing special in this shop, apart from what you have seen in hotel shops and the few souvenir shops in Addis.
If you did not quite manage to get some mementos or gifts prior to leaving for the airport, you have a fair chance now...
What to buy: A great and tasty buy from Ethiopia is top-quality coffee. Comes in several varieties, very cheap, certainly compared to European prices.
Of other items in this shops were various handicrafts, prints, silwer/pewter crosses and jewelry, some local clothing pieces.
I fell for some hardback picture books of Ethiopia and Ethiopian peoples, that I still enjoy very much 4 years later.
While I didn't stay here, I called in to view the grounds and hotel. Impressive place, with bars,...more
You can camp here for $10 or for the same price you could stay en-suite in a budget hotel here. This...more
Bahar Dar, Ethiopia
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
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