Thursday, 29 March 2012

Accommodation assigned

I am very proud of myself, as I have been good. Up until today, we did not know where we would be staying in Addis, but I did not bug anyone about that, not even once! I just waited until, at the last minute, Addis Ababa University (AAU), gently nudged by the Canadian organizers, made up its mind and assigned us our rooms.

We are staying in apartments owned by AAU in Sar Bet, an area southwest of downtown near the old airport, a golf club (?!) and the Canadian Embassy. We don’t have an exact address, because Ethiopia does not work that way. Even street names are a bit vague and inconsistent. Taxi drivers need to be given directions to the nearest square, tourist hotel, or other large building.

On the whole this is good news. Sharing a couple of apartments with the rest of the anesthesia team is more friendly than each of us having our own hotel room, and means we can cook some meals together and work together on our talks, plan our trips etc.                                                                            

There are several downsides. We don’t have free WiFi, we have to use a USB “Rocket Stick” and pay to charge it up from time to time. The water supply can be a bit erratic, so a local health club membership is advised to ensure access to showers. We get a driver to take us to work in the morning, but getting back home we may be on our own, depending on what time we finish.

There are two hotels within walking distance of the hospital which are sometimes used. One of them has free WiFi. That would be nice, but living in a hotel room for four weeks is a bit tough, anywhere in the world.

Spent a while looking at Addis in Google Maps, and in particular at the pictures people have posted. (Street View has not got there yet!). It looks cleaner and more civilized than I expected. Lots of large buildings, sidewalks with a few well-dressed people on them, four-lane highways, public spaces with rather odd looking concrete art on them. At least, those are the things Google users choose to post photos of. 

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