Best places to Eat:
-Addis Falafel…prepare for heavenly schwarma
-Abyssinia Cafe (Steak and Eggs for $3)
-Tamoca Cafe (best macchiato)
-Alcapulco (in Bole, burritos!)
-Tutto Gelato (in Bole)
-Addis downtown, the best pizza within walking distance in Hayahulet, trust me I tried them all
-Bahir Zaf, hands down the best and safest restaurant I had here, mangoritas— need I say more? Oh yes, fish tacos and WEST NILE PERCH (not my ultimate favorite, see below)
-The Sheraton Hotel, for when you are feeling desperate enough for food and the need to feel fancy, they have a $35 unlimited brunch buffet with bottomless mimosas
-MK’s in Bole for a decent burger. NOT an American burger, but a good one.
-Mama’s Kitchen in the Friendship Building in Bole, get the kebabs!
Best places for wifi:
-Reliance hotel, (Real Lions?) the most consistent wifi plus their WEST NILE PERCH IS TO DIE FOR. (I discovered I was allergic but continued eating it, it’s that good) also the steak sandwich is quite good, and the porridge and the breakfast (do not order sausage, they will give you Slim Jims). Ok maybe this should be in the other category.
-Happy Cafe. Not so consistent but there is an actual Internet cafe there where you can also print things. Not to mention that they have the best tea in Addis. I go and pretend to be upset that the wifi isn’t working because oh well, that’s that, darn, NOW LET ME ORDER 3 TEAS IN A ROW.
-Capital Hotel. Mostly good wifi, not to mention the fact that they make piña coladas and the time I ordered Baileys on ice, the guy was like, “can I make it a double?” And I was like, “can we get married? OF COURSE YOU CAN.” The west Nile perch is wildly overpriced but they do basically give you a perch steak – if you are a true perch fan, stay loyal, Reliance only. Also, get the chocolate cake, it’s not a lava cake like the menu claims but it is pretty delicious.
-The UN library. Hopefully you future groups get this hook up because it is the ultimate wifi and even things that you thought would be impossible to download while in Ethiopia will be made a reality in this godsend wifi location. Of interest: in the morning if you go to the upstairs cafe in the Nile building, they make these mini pizzas for breakfast that are strangely satisfying.
Things to bring:
I got sick right away in Addis and stayed sick for about three weeks. Keep this is mind while reading this section.
-Baby wipes to carry around with you and also for the house, you’re going to be popping a lot and it can be comforting on your war torn tooshie.
-Cough drops, you can buy the lozenges at the pharmacy but I promise you will regret it!
-NyQuil. No matter what the pharmacist tells you, guess what? The cough syrups out here will not knock you out and you will spend all of your sick nights plotting on how to kill your neighbor’s rooster.
-Clif Bars, or a heavy duty protein bar of your choice. I probably won’t eat another Clif bar in 6 months but I fully intend on writing to the owner and thanking them for getting me through my most traumatizing stomach spells in Addis. I brought a GIANT pack with me.
-Oreos. Peanut m&ms or whatever gets you through when you are stressed out. To be clear, we found both of these here but they just weren’t the same and left us feeling more empty and betrayed than ever before.
-Sweaters for when you want to die of COLD but also don’t pack the most miserly clothes you own. We did this, most travelers do this when they are going somewhere uncertain. You can look decent here, despite your preconceptions, although you do want to stay conservative. Pack a nice club outfit, people dress UP at the clubs here… Or you can show up in your finest: Saucony’s and a Columbia Rain Jacket like yours truly.
-Good shoes and Good socks. We all brought rain boots but I noticed that not many of us actually wore them. You should bring a pair but I think a good pair of water resistant sneaker-like shoes are much better.
-Books… But also movies, preferably comedies for the days you just want to relax with your housemates.
-An extra internship. Things don’t always go as planned in Addis, and even if they do, you might not have heavy enough of a workload. It’s good to have structure in Addis. It isn’t the kind of place you necessarily need extra leisure time in. Get in contact with some places before leaving just in case you decide you need other options.
Surviving Addis: Just get used to it.
-FARENGE!!!!! We get it, we are foreigners. And yeah, you’re going to point it out, screaming it down the street as I quickly walk away from you. And no, it’s not going to stop, not even 10 weeks in.
-FARENGE price. People will always try to overcharge you, and you might be all like, “but I’m poor in the U.S.!” No one gives a shit, you’re a foreigner and everyone sees you as a walking, raincoat wearing, awkward as shit disposable income. Learn to pay more, (not too much more) but more. It’s ok. It’s temporary.
-Ladies, you will physically be pushed out of a man’s way. And men will tell you, “sexy” and “do you want sex?” and “nice pussy,” sometimes even multiple times a day or hour. This isn’t easy for anybody, but it’s an unfortunate reality when walking around Addis.
-The cars will not always stop for you. Get your reflexes ready and prepare for a 10 week game of frogger