A room with a view

posted in: Life in Ethiopia | 0

View from my balcony – there does seem to be an existing green gully or ravine, but I doubt that it is going to last…

Looking at the map of the area containing my Addis apartment, it was actually quite difficult to work out the layout of the roads, let alone the precise position of the apartment.  It was only when I arrived here that I could understand the problem.   It took a bit of effort to find the place.  First I rang Dr Anchu, the lady who owns the apartment, and she sent me a pin.  (For the technically illiterate, that is a location on an online map.)  Then the man at the taxi company range her again.  And then the taxi-driver range her a third time.  Fortunately, she seems to be patient and understanding.  And she lives here as well, in the ground floor flat, so met us at the gate of the apartment.

The problem here is that the whole area is going through a period of development, with an old, almost shack-like area of town being turned into an area with lots of luxury apartments.  A few, like the one I live in, have obviously been here a while, but all around us there are new buildings going up.  The old cobbled streets are still here, though increasingly ripped up by construction work, new sewage works, etc.  So the place is a striking mixture of old and new, beaten- up shacks interspersed with apartment blocks, some of them nine or ten storeys high. 

and the view straight down, showing our yard

I went for a walk this afternoon, to orient myself (and only got lost once.)   Which took me along the way a little to a recycling centre.  Except that is too grand a term for a filthy, dusty rubbish dump.  There was a gang of young men lugging huge sacks of empty plastic bottles, and that presumably was their destination.  It does seem to be a precarious living; there was a policeman ushering one group away, though he re-inforced the message with a belt hanging from his hand.  Presumably it would be used if necessary.

But the main reason we chose this area was its proximity to the Film School where, so far as I know, I will be working, and one reason for my walk was to test out the route.  Not at all bad, actually, at about twenty minutes, except that I can’t be exactly sure since I didn’t recognise the School – I visited once during my reccy trip, but that was arriving in a taxi.

There are a couple of restaurants that I have already spotted, which us probably just as well, since the only shopping I have been able to do was in a mini-market close by the apartment, and their stock was pretty pitiful… unless you wanted shiny stuff to celebrate a birthday, for they had loads of that.  So I shall need to locate a proper supermarket, in order to stock up, even if it means a taxi-ride.

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