Addis Ababa. Say it three times. Okay. Four. It’s fun. But here in Ethiopia it’s simply: Addis.
The ride to Addis takes you through a valley passing between lakes AbIyata and Langana where cattle and goat herders make attentiveness even more important. Villages with traditional round floor plans and thatched roofing and of course there’s the spattering of road wrecks to add to the visual excitement.
It’s hot, baking as I roll into the capital of this land locked country. I’ve got a few leads on rooms so I inspect a few places and settle on mid-range hotel that’s near the action and not too far from the Sudanese Embassy.
My first order of business is to get to the embassy, submit and application and prepare for the delay and wait. I think I’m lucky as I have a contact, someone who I called when holed up in Kampala last month. There are dozens of women crowding the entrance to the consular section of the Embassy of Sudan. There crowding around the entrance which is blocked by several gun-toting guards and a frazzled short middle-aged man with several teeth missing. He whisks me past the cacophony of Arabic speaking women and ushers me inside. Even though I’ve made it past the first check point, I’m told the Visa office is closed and my contact is unavailable. Nobody knows when or if he’ll be back. Tomorrow. Or even next week. I’m told to come back in the morning.