Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Addis Ababa
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to spare in Addis Ababa -- Africa's diplomatic hub and one of the highest capital cities in the world? Reuters correspondents with local knowledge give tips on how to make the most of a short stay.
5 p.m. Have a couple of cold beers by the pool during happy hour at the Hilton Hotel. You'll rub shoulders with African Union diplomats, United Nation's workers and government ministers so the conversation is always controversial and interesting.
8 p.m. Ethiopians serve their food on a spongy pancake called injera. Well-cooked pieces of lamb called tibs are particularly good as are the array of vegetables eaten during fasting times. Hop in a taxi (the blue ones are cheapest and perfectly safe) to Fasika. It's one of the swankiest restaurants in town but a great place to try the local cuisine for the first time. A lively dance show takes you on a whistle-stop tour of Ethiopian culture.
10 p.m. With a belly full of Ethiopian food, now's a good time to head to a traditional bar known as an Azmari bet. Try the Kazanchis area and ask your taxi driver for recommendations. Fendika is a good one. Azmaris are the performers who sing songs often made up on the spot. If you're lucky they might even sing one about you.
9 a.m. Many visitors to Addis are overwhelmed by the scale of visible poverty and the street children they see on almost every corner. Instead of doling out change randomly, pay a quick visit to Hope Enterprises on Churchill Road and buy some meal tickets. Every day almost 700 children redeem the tickets for a healthy dinner at the center.
9:15 a.m. Now you're in the right spot to indulge in some souvenir shopping. Shops carrying everything from Ethiopian silver to memorabilia from Ethiopia's brief Italian occupation line Churchill Road. Take your time to compare prices across a few stores.
11:00 a.m. If the shopping bug has bitten, why not hop in a taxi to the Mercato? Some say it's Africa's biggest open-air market but nobody really knows. Just watch your pockets. But don't worry too much. Addis is one of Africa's safest capitals and crime is rare. Continued...