Monday, July 26, 2010

Tips for your Ethiopia trip...


I just finished a really good travellers guide about Ethiopia and recommend it to anybody going to pick up their sweethearts. It is from the Culture Smart series and written by Sarah Howard.

Here are just a few of the interesting facts and travel tips I have learned from this book:

* Half the estimated population of Ethiopia (77 million) is under 20 years old.
* Remember to use the right hand to eat the injera and wot. The left is considered unclean.
* Time follows the traditional Middle Eastern twelve hour clock. The hours start at dawn (6:00). So, twelve noon is 6:00 in Ethiopian time. Be sure to ask which time somebody is giving you for your major appointment or court date.
* It is also a good idea to leave a small piece of food left on your plate. This shows the host that you are graciously full.
* Buna bet or "coffee house" is not what you think. These are usually bars that might also have hotels and prostitutes.
* Ethiopians often greet each other with an embrace, then a kiss on each cheek, and then again on the first cheek.
* Children will walk up to nine miles a day to attend school.
* Orthodox Ethiopians will fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and during the holidays. Fasting means only having one meal a day, usually after 3:00 and abstaining from dairy and meat products. As many as 250 days a year can be kept as fast days.
* Swimming pools at the Hilton and Ghion hotels are heated by natural springs.
* Public latrines are so public, they are called "en plein air." Bring your own toilet paper.

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