Our departure was delayed, yet we arrived almost on time.
We have now taken the first step of HEAVENESE’ first African tour.
Despite the fact that Ethiopian Airlines and the Ethiopian government moved to support us, and we all had a letter from the embassy, the immigration procedure didn’t go smoothly.
Looking at a lot of luggage and investigating us, they said, "What is this?"
Mr. Ahma, our photographer and videographer, was kept waiting for three hours in order to get a visa to bring in his cameras and to get permission for shooting.
The exclusive dancers of the National Theater who were going to perform with us at our event welcomed us with a dance.
HEAVENESE was going to be featured as a part of the program of the state-owned National Theater. That's why they came to pick us up by bus and carry all the luggage.
Even though it was a bus owned by the National Theater, it was quite old. They came not only by bus but with rental cars, so we were taken through the city to our hotel. Our headquarters, "Sidama Lodge”, was close to the airport while our band members and staff were going to stay at a newly built hotel, ”Melodie Hotel" which was 20 minutes from us. This physical distance ended up giving us problems.
City filled with energy and emission.
Driving through the city filled with exhaust from poorly maintained vehicles (it was as I had been told) made me sick and my eyes hurt. The dust was also bad. In addition the city is at an altitude of 2,500 meters.
There are many tall apartment buildings that seemed to be half built. The scaffolding was wood. These were not earthquake resistant structures. In some cases, I could not tell if the building was being built or demolished.
Sheet metal sided buildings were all over the place. They housed shops of all sorts.
For me, it was like a scene of a black market after the end of the WWII that I had seen in photos or watched on TV.
80% of the cars on the street were Toyotas, but there must not be regular vehicle inspections required as most of the cars were old, spewing black smoke.
It smelled so bad when we were driving through the city with the windows open.
I realized that there were no traffic regulations in this city because some people were sitting on the median and others were jaywalking despite the traffic. The streets were thronging with people. I wasn’t sure what they were doing.
At any rate, it was a terrible cityscape.
Is this really the country boasting the largest economy in Africa?