Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fw: Ethiopia 3

Subject: Ethiopia 3

I've been asked to be more descriptive about our Ethiopia travels and provide more detailed info, as a few online friends are very interested in travelling here.
So here's a few comparative prices.
Generally all restaurant prices will be plus service fee 10% and sales tax 15% so add approx 25% to anything on the menu.If we see a service fee in the bill, we rarely tip unless we've had great service.
Exchange rate is around 13.48-13.52 Bir to the US dollar.Banks give the best exchange rate.But hardly worth going out of your way to get to one.Our hotel was giving 13.5 and the bank 13.6.
A cup of coffee,-ask for Macchiato or Coffee with milk, 6.5 Bir to 7.95 Bir plus tips and tax , but still less than 1$ US!
Beer 8.95 Bir plus.Imagine getting loaded on less than 10$US! Wonderful!
We priced supermarket wine- cheapest imported Italian 137,5 Bir no taxes.
But next to it a 750ml bottle of Scotch for 285Bir. I kind of liked that!
Meals 35-50 Bir per dish.You may find half portions at around 16 Bir an adequate midday snack.
Today 2 coffees,2 croissants,1 yummy cake all cost 33Bir plus we left a small tip
Dinner last night,Ethiopian style total for 2 including 1 beer was 120Bir.
Just over  8 US dollars!
And shoeshines 1 Bir!
Taxis are negotiable.From the Ras to halfway down Bolle Road around 5 KMs cost 60 Bir.Around $4.50.
But sightseeing by taxi, which is the way to go as everything is so spread out,and with the driver acting as a guide cost us 100Bir an hour.Public buses provide services to a few areas, but the bulk of the population move around in the masses of mini buses, or transit vans.Much like the South African method, where you hop aboard one that the driver yells out is going to such and such place,wait until it's full and away you go,dropping off and picking up as they go.It's rumoured that a few tourists who thought they'd fathomed the system out , disappeared from this world.......
Kay and I in Pretoria last year,, had quite an interesting experience taking one out to the outer suburbs but managed to get back to civilisation safely.The driver was really great and looked after us.Quite a memory.
Internet here is very slow as Dialup is still the norm.It's enough to do emails, but when you want to go to any websites, you'll wait for 3-5 minutes, if you do manage to get to it! And same time lag if you need to get to other pages on that site.
Our hotel is $45US a night for 2 persons in the room.Would have been much cheaper if we had booked direct rather than through our tour company,but Ras never answered our emails!
Sheraton $400 per person per night is looking pretty good, every time we think about a shower under our trickle irrigation system! We slept in until 7am and the water was much colder than other mornings.
Today is another grey dull day with rain looking likely.But we'll head out to do the Red Terror Martyrs' Museum, a memorial to the 68 government officials murdered by the socialist victors in the overthrow of the Haile Selassie government.The DERG as it was called were then rebelled against and the present government and peace has been maintained since 1991.And I guess therein lie a lot of Ethiopia's current woes.Trying to rebuild a country after years of conflict.
We have met our sponsored child Hanna Tesafaye, and all the family and staff that run the operation.But that's a story best kept until we can upload some photographs and do it justice.


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