January 14, 2014
7:44 a.m. local time
Top Twelve Hotel
Addis Ababa was a chaotic and sprawling city — I suppose, not so different from sprawling, chaotic third-world cities around the globe. But this morning I am sitting on a balcony of a surprisingly modern hotel high in the mountains of northern Ethiopia. The view is breathtaking, and the landscape that stretches before me could be in northern Arizona or New Mexico. The air is cool — I should really run into my room and grab my fleece, but sitting here typing and looking out over the landscape is too enticing. There are big crows flying around below me, and one insistent rooster, out of sight nearby, has been crowing for the last hour. I think I hear doves and, far down in the valley below, men are working, breaking up rocks.
We’re going to breakfast in a few minutes, so I’ll have to write more tonight about the remarkable day we had yesterday. It started before dawn with a 5:30 a.m. trip from the Bethel Guest House to the Addis Ababa airport. It included a hair-raising drive up curvy mountain roads from Lalibella airport to Lalibella town, passing trucks on hairpin turns, almost running into goats, donkeys, cows, and people, and it included lunch at the most unusual restaurant I’ve ever seen.