|Location:||addis abeba, ethiopia (2447 m)|
|Text:||53 194 kilometres on the road
it was a sunny, warm day. i followed some friends to mercato, the huge market area in addis abeba.
mercato was not what i had expected. there was none of the endless seeming mess of market stall and colourful crowds of people that squeeze themselves past piles of rubber sandals and used clothes, spare parts and fresh vegetables on muddy tracks, all over africa.
it was more like a slightly crowded neighbourhood full with small shops and neatly lined-up market stalls. the area has a reputation for pick-pocketing and hassles and it is said that you will find everything here, from food and cooking pots to ivory and weapons.
we didn't really try hard to find AK-47's but i am sure we would have succeeded, had we taken the risk to follow the occasional dubious invitation to backroom shops in dodgy alleys.
we didn't buy anything and eventually made our way back out of mercato, past vendors who were selling plastic for gold; past beggars, naked mad men and orthodox priest. we saw three-legged dogs that were sniffing on past-out drunks in the mud of the sidewalks. there were desperate women who pulled on our clothes as we past their temporary homes, made of cardboard and rags, in the center of traffic circles. herds of goats ran in blind confidence across the roads, causing the odd accidents between the russian zombie-car without brakes and the one with brakes; these zombie-cars - the living dead of the road.
it was a sad, grey day in addis, despite the sun that was burning from a perfectly blue sky. the energy of the bright day didn't warm up the depressive mood of the city, not in my perception. our footsteps were accompanied by comments, shouts and insults from eerie looking young men at street corners who were trying to get over their personal frustrations by being rude. i have no sympathy left for this country. i can't wait to get to sudan.