So the Meskel holiday was last saturday. We all got an email from the US Embassy telling us not to go to the celebration. (Well. to qualify that, the Embassy also tells us never to use public transportation. That’s pretty unavoidable. No one can afford cars here because the gov’t charges a 335% tax on top of the price of importing a car from someplace else. So a Chevy pickup that would cost 25 grand in the states costs something like 175 grand to buy, import and pay taxes on.)
So Adam and I headed out on Saturday in search of a camera bag. I’ve been pretty worried about breaking my camera getting in and out of minibusses since I’ve been carrying it around in my backpack padded only by a rain jacket. After much searching, and after buying two worthless dvds for 4 dollars, I got the biggest camera bag of all time for 110 bucks. The same bag in the states would be well over 200… I thought I was going to have to pay inflated prices on something like a camera bag (electronics are righteously expensive here, so I assumed camera bags would fall along the same lines.), instead I got a bag that was apparently made by some company in the US for comparatively way cheap.
Anyhow, an Ethiopian guy told us that we’d be able to get around until 5 when they close Meskel Square for the celebration. The Meskel holiday is an Ethiopian Orthodox holiday celebrating the finding of the true cross on which Jesus was crucified. They all assemble in Meskel square (a HUGE intersection with a big grassy hill on one side constructed by the Soviets to display their tanks, incidentally.) and light a 3+ story tall bonfire. So the guy that explained that to us was horribly wrong about us being able to get home easily until 5.
So on the way home at 3:15 we started noticing a distinct lack of minibusses… and vehicles in general… and a LOT of people all walking the same direction we were. Long story short we ended up in Meskel Square along with many many thousands of Ethiopians. So I snapped a few pictures and then we headed around the square and home. What we saw was pretty awesome. I kinda wish we’d stayed around for the bonfire, but we were a little hesitant to stick around after what the embassy email said. On the plus side, we ran into one of the exchange guys that worked at Sea Gull, which was pretty sweet. Anyhow, on to the pictures: