Sunday, March 31, 2013

shopping in Addis

There is very little traditional shopping in Addis.  When I say traditional, I'm referring to driving to a store, parking in a parking lot, walking in a door, choosing something and paying at the register. Not in Ethiopia. Most shopping is done at little road-side stalls, often grouped together on long stretches of roads or side alley ways.

We drove to one of the larger market areas at the bottom of Entoto mountain to show Kiki this wild way of life and let her purchase any last minute souvenirs before her flight back to the US.  We were bombarded by street children and beggars, people selling pirated African DVDs and just the average Ethiopian market shopper that crowded us and followed us with their friends or family laughing and pointing and generally acting shocked that this group of white people were walking along and shopping at the local stalls.  For the new-to-Addis tourist this could seem fun and delightful even. Seeing the colorful goods and locally made clothing and smiling at all the locals who are surely just heckling.
 But for me, a fairly seasoned third world resident, these situations just turn me into a total jerk.  I admit it.  I hate it when people touch my daughter's hair (let alone their faces).  I don't like the snide comments or laughing.  I hate being charged quadruple the price for something because I'm a Westerner.  The street children with their green dripping noses and flies buzzing around their lips make me cringe. Especially when these faces are way too close to my baby.  See, I am a total jerk.  So we don't normally shop like this. Or walk in areas like this.  I hate being a jerk, but when the kid that runs to my car door, so he can open it and assist me into my car in the hopes of getting one Birr, slams the door on my foot-because he doesn't really get it; I kind of loose my cool.  And that's when we leave! But not before I can snap a few colorful photos of the stalls.  I think Kiki was a little overwhelmed by this shopping trip.

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