Avocadoes are cheap in Addis. Twenty birr for two kilos is a no-brainer for me, and I decided to get some today and get my love for the green fruit out of my system before going back to a city that sells them for $.99 each. But the price of avocadoes is not the main point of this article, but my purchase certainly got me thinking. As I was walking down the street day-dreaming about my future avocado exporting business, the plastic bag holding the avocadoes burst open and they rolled away in every direction. I just stood there looking incredulous for a few seconds, amongst calls of “Ayzosh!” and a few sniggers. Some guy who was passing by was kind enough to help me pick them up and I purchased another bag from a souk nearby. The incident made me think of a conversation I was having with my cousin’s wife right before I left. She told me to take plastic bags to Addis, because apparently everyone likes them here. I found out for myself how true that was, you can honestly put a big smile on someone’s face if you give them a bright and sturdy plastic bag. Hopefully you have something nice inside the bag, please don’t just roll the bag and stuff it in someone’s hands. I also learned today that it is probably a good idea to keep one for yourself in your bag for emergency purposes. So after your next visit to the grocery store or the mall, think twice before throwing away your bags in the trash can, especially if you have a trip planned soon.
While in Addis, a visit to Kategna should definitely be in your plans. The restaurant has two branches but I went to the one at Bole, in front of Millennium hall. There is an ample amount of choice for excellent food in Addis, but what made Kategna stand out for me is the menu. Unlike many places I have been to, Kategna offers food combinations in a variety of ways, for example you can order half tibs and half dirkosh firfir, and that is considered one meal. There are more than thirty such combinations on the menu- as soon as you start thinking of something you already find it in the menu. I also like the name of the restaurant itself, Kategna is fresh injera off of the oven that has kibe (Ethiopian butter) and berbere (Ethiopian pepper) spread on it. It made me think of my childhood when whoever was baking injera would make Kategna, and I would enjoy it while still hot. Although I haven’t tried it yet, Kategna also offers Kategna in their breakfast menu.
Memnon Printing and Advertising Works plc. is another stop you should make during your visit. My discovery of Memnon happened quite by accident. I was buying t-shirts and other souvenir items for friends and family around the area commonly known as Posta Bet; and my last stop happened to be Memnon. The shop is located all the way at the end of the main street, away from the cluster of souvenir shops and near the road that takes to Filwuha.
Memnon, like Kategna, attracted me starting from the name. Memnon was an Ethiopian king in Greek mythology, and a great warrior whose bravery rivaled that of Achilles. That is why I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to souvenir shops, Memnon is the king of them all. The shop sells T-shirts for men, women and children in different sizes, with whimsical and funny messages printed on them. Although I would never wear it myself; “Tej: connecting people” made me burst out laughing as soon as I saw it. Another favorite of mine is a cartoon of a Blue Minibus, complete with a Weyala (driver’s helper) poking his head out of the window and a traffic police by the road, (I am assuming he is considering writing an undeserved ticket to the driver) and the weyala has a speech balloon that says “Abo Tewena”. For the ladies, “Hot like Mitmita” would also be a good choice.
That’s all for now folks! If you have any suggestions for the next adventurer in Addis, feel free to share in the comment box below.