62 = 26 sizor

I am now officially, before heaven and earth, sitting on 26’s. The head was taken somewhen between the ages of 5 and 10. And like any other normal kid of that age, my face used to be not-so-bright.

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61. Silehagere

I am shallow. As Cee Lo would put it, it is deep how I can be so shallow. I am more about style rather than substance: may be it is the Gemini in me (I said me!). I wish I could break Ethiopia down, write volumes about what it is how it is…. Better yet, I wish I had billions, somehow  could pinpoint people who desperately need what money can buy; somehow reach those people before it is too late; leave just enough for me, the bare necessities; start a chain reaction of goodness, a pay it forward kinda shit.  All this not forgetting that the “bare necessities” change with the amount of money one has got. And what money can not buy, I wish I could inspire Ethiopians to be the supreme human beings they can be.

 

Wishes…

 

In the meantime, I post dull thoughts, mostly about myself.

 

But that does not mean I do not care.  From within the amphipathic cocoon of all I have been blessed with and my selfishness, I care.

 

I care that 6 million Ethiopian children are at risk of malnutrition; 3.5 million Ethiopians have been stricken by drought; about bomb explosions and the death and injury of innocent Ethiopians; about the unbearable increase in living expenses; about another  17 years of Ethiopia spent under another government who can not stay war-free and about neighboring countries who themselves do not fare better in that respect; about people living in sub-humane conditions and yet biher bihereseb vs. hager priority ,rights debates (as I remember from newspaper articles  in ‘93 E.C.   the priority thing was a major  point of disagreement between Prof Mesfin+ Dr Birhanu  and students in  the meeting  at Biherawi Lottery Adarash  i.e.   sew then biher  then Ethiopiawi /t  or  sew then Ethiopiawi/t  then  biher. I feel that the debate has continued in many circles lehitmet eskegebahubet gize dires. But I mean whatever yehagere lijoch ! Should not we be focusing on the sew part alone for  like  a hundred years from now  and let the rest two fall into place like I suspect they will? Kedmen sew binhon ayishalim?); about the decree of a Flag Day which is well and good except that it will vilify more our , I am sorry to say old flag.  People decided to take their grievances out on beauty.   

‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

                 Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’ Keats

Our flag was da truth yo! Take a good look at it:

                                          

That will always be my Ethiopia.

Like I said I care about Ethiopia. I care about her in more ways than the measly points raised above. I just do not write about her or do things for her enough.  Why? Sometimes things are way too complicated and other times I am too simple (as in zim bilo) to do anything about them. Will it change anytime soon? Will I change? That’s anybody’s guess.

 

Nonetheless I know one thing: that I want Ethiopians to get acquainted with another singer from Colombia.

Told ya ! Shallow.

But it is the hundredth post-how perfect!

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guzo 2

I got up, turned on my laptop and checked the time. I thought I had one more hour and went back to sleep. Sure called immediately. My laptop was set in the UK time which was one hour behind! Saved again! As I left to the train station, I saw this poor bird which I had seen in the same position the previous night. Probably it was too dark for her to fly. It then occurred to me that the “big thing” the old man was referring to was this bridge.

In the train I met an American tourist who was heading back to her country. She was a grandmother but strong enough to go places. She wasn’t strong enough to carry her luggage when we reached Milan though J She offered “10 dalars for lunch” which I politely turned down. I got a big hug and took my train to Veronna, where I would meet Sure.

I was excited to meet Sure. In almost two years now I have met only two or three people whom I have known for a while. We then took the next train to Venice. The moment we went out of the train station was old architecture, lots of water and a swarm of tourists.

Since we had about six hours to visit Venice (we had to catch the last train to Sure’s place), the plan was to take the ferry to what we have been told as a must see and then walk back to the train station, visiting the city at the same time.

I didn’t know Venice was going under! The whole town is sinking. Boats are everywhere.

We got off in I don’t remember it’s name. There were big domes. Some were under construction, perhaps in preparation for the tourists coming on summer.

I enjoyed feeding the birds. One of them thought my head was a comfy black rock.

Everywhere we went there was something to see (except “gurangur” places which were different in some way too).

I got a caricature of myself too! I know, he could have done better but mastawesha yihonal!

Ok I was trying to take the chef’s picture with the pizza to show the perspective but I wasn’t lucky. Trust me these pizzas were very big!

Time to go back. We caught the train to Trento, Sure’s town. We made shiro be qibe be dinich. Yummy! The next day we got up at 11 AM. The plan was to visit Trento. We visited a castle in Trento. It had a tower with drawings for each month. It showed what people did in each month. One interesting aspect of the drawing was that the “importance” of the figures was shown by their size. A peasant will be drawn in a smaller size than a landlord for example. Sorry, taking pictures was not allowed in this particular area. I took pictures of the inside but they came out too dark. Note self: atkuatir, get a better camera.

We then met Semhal, talked for a while and visited an old Church

We took the cable car to the top of a cliff. Cable cars are fun. They are not at all scary (Semhal had warned me that I needed diapers).

We had dinner at THE restaurant in Trento. Lasagna and pizza. I will save you the details. Just go there and taste it for yourself.

Next day was too short since I had to leave at noon. Getting up early was hard too. I visited the town with Semhal.

Visited an underground museum,

had lunch at THE restaurant

and run off to Edinburgh! Quick, put your jacket on, and no shorts!

Conclusion: Visit Italy and take me with you!

guzo 1

I packed two bags. Got late as usual. Two hours later the plane had landed. The whatever-he-is-called-guy inspected my passport closely. He gave it back without a word. I think he was unhappy because I was loading batteries when I should have appeared to be begging for his mercy. Enter Italy. Eat your heart out Betty! I took the picture of these lovely couple at the airport before rushing out to buy my bus ticket.

The bus from the airport to Milan took about an hour. I met “a brother” who was willing to take my hand and show me which train to catch.

The walls in Italy are full of drawings.

There was an Italian woman sitting in front of me. Luckily I had closed a window for her so she had the patience to try again and again to tell me where to get off. Then I started chatting with a German family. They showed me where they were going and what they had already visited. Suddenly I reached my destination and quickly got off. The train had started to leave when I just remembered that I had left my camera on the train. You can guess what I was hoping for when I heard someone whistling. Yes! The German guy was sticking his neck out holding the camera. I run with the train and he carefully threw the camera. I waved all I can to show how thankful I was. That was a feel good moment for them too! And I was in Varenna, a small town in the north of Italy.

It was around 9PM when I arrived. I saw two taxis leaving with a group of people who were in the same train that I came on. The place then became quiet. I thought the hell with taxis, the map says my hotel is 10 minutes walk away from the station anyway. But following the map turned out to be difficult. I went back to the train station to start all over again when I saw an old man walking out of his house. He understood that I was confused and started talking Italian to me. I spoke one of the phrases I had quickly jotted down on a piece of paper before taking the cab to the airport “non parlo italiano”. He understood, but that aside, communication was next to impossible. After a lot of sounds and movement of fingers and hands, we came to the agreement that I should go down the stairs, turn left, and when I see some big thing I should turn right. I said “gracie” and went on. I didn’t get what the big thing was but I found the hotel easily.

The woman at the reception (I think she is the owner too) told me my reservation had not been confirmed. I had seen her run out to hand a scarf that a customer had forgotten so I was not very alarmed when she said that. She then said she will give me a room nevertheless. It was room number 8, my lucky number.

I took a shower and went downstairs to have dinner. They said they had finished food. It was around 10 AM. I went out and walked the street. The street was quiet and the lights were red-ish. I realized that the town was even smaller than I expected (in fact I thought it was a city). Having looked at the wikipedia entry just now, the population is only 882! One of those places where everyone will know what everyone is up to. “Did you hear that entina just got off the phone with his ex-girlfriend” I entered a nice looking restaurant. The waiter was friendly and understood English. I ordered Calzoni. I had seen this in one of Seinfeld’s episodes (comedy show) and thought “I will have that when I go to Italy!”. It is a folded pizza, easier to eat. You can have it like a sandwich although it can get too big so you may need to cut it first. I had a chat with a guy next to me. The conversation started when I told the lady with him to put her phone in her pockets (it was about to fall out) and he then asked where I was from. I was surprised that he called out Addis Ababa, Asmara, and Eritrea. I forgot to take the receipt for dinner (my company should have paid for it). When I got back I met a coworker who had arrived earlier. Our task was on the next day. We talked for a few seconds, made an appointment for the next day, and I went to my room. There was an English channel but I thought Italian channel goes with Calzoni so I turned that on and slipped inside. The place was too warm but thanks to the journey, that wasn’t a problem!

The next morning I got up refreshed, took a shower and went straight to the training place. A coworker and myself were giving training as part of a week long event. It was located in a beautiful part of the town (actually the whole town is built on a river border so there is a scene everywhere you go.

I had lunch with the whole group. Pizza! The “real pizza” has a very thin base that you can’t hold a piece on one end and expect it to stay flat. You need to somehow fold it to have a bite, or you need to use knife and fork. I got the receipt this time because I was with the group!

At the end of the day I bought a train ticket for the next day and took the ferry to Bellagio, a town just beside Varenna (15 minutes by boat). Unfortunately the others had already visited the town so I went alone. The town lies right where the three major lakes in Italy intersect. Very beautiful town.

I got back to Varenna at around 9 AM, late enough to miss the dinner appointment with the group and the restaurant in my hotel had closed too. I went back to the place where I had dinner the previous night (many other places were closed too) and ordered another kind of pizza for take away. I forgot to take the receipt again!

It is then that things got tricky. I needed an alarm to catch the train for the next morning. My phone had run out of batteries and the hotel had closed (I could have arranged a wake up call). I thought I could work my laptop somehow but it refused to make any kind of sound. I then had to call Sure (my friend) to ask him to give me a wake up call!

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