On our way to Tanzania we had a 12 hour layover in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian Airlines provided a shuttle, room for the day, meals, and day visas (at no charge) to me and the group of students I was taking to Tanzania. After driving through a city and seeing 6 story buildings under construction using hand lashed wooden poles for scaffolding, people on cells phones walking with goats down the street, and hunched over women carrying 12 foot long bundles of sticks for fuel on their backs with satelitte dishes in the background, we reached the Beshale Hotel. From our window we could see a large mosque, traffic heavy roads, dirt paths, people, animals, and this large ferris wheel. The incongruity of modern and primitive, with this piece of colorful frivolity smack in the middle of it all, stuck out like a sore thumb in a place where it seemed nothing would surprise us anymore.
By Rodney Buck
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