Not having the funds for a direct flight from London to Addis Ababa I instead flew from Heathrow to Frankfurt where I found a row of chairs to sleep the night on. After a salmon and egg baguette and a coffee for breakfast at 0600 I waited at the gate for my 1000 flight. This was 10 hours of film watching and reading broken up by a stop at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia where most of the passengers disembarked.
Due to the time difference we landed in Addis at 2115 (1815 GMT). By the time I was through passport control and officially in my 70th country it was 2200. I had read about a backpacker style hostel within ‘walking distance’ (about an hour away) so I set out to find it. One of my favourite things to do when travelling is to walk around a new city at night however I was put on edge straight away as I was hounded by locals all along my journey for taxis and hotels. At one point two young boys tried pick pocketing me, one came to my right and started pinching my arm whilst the other tried showing me a magazine, it wasn’t until I raiser both my voice and an arm that they drop back but as I was walking away I noticed one of my zip trouser pockets was nearly undone. Thankfully I had stopped it when I did and also that I didn’t have easy to access pockets.
When I arrived at the junction I searched around for the hostel but could find no sign of it, I went to 3 others places to enquire about rooms but one was a shed and the other two were far too expensive for my budget. Eventually there was a local who knew where it was and showed me, it was about 200m away. however when I got there they were full and there wasn’t even a room out the back, the sofa or the floor she was willing to give me. I jumped on their WiFi and tried finding a suitable place nearby that wouldn’t cost too much (as I was leaving early the next day) and near to where I was. I wasn’t having much luck when I messaged a friend of a friend who I was bringing a couple of things from the UK for. What proceeded was one of the most generous things I’ve experience from a complete stranger, after a phone call explaining my situation Jasper (the husband) decided he would drive across the city (with two of his children) and pick me up and allow me to stay at theirs. By the time he got to me it was midnight and the drive across the city took nearly half an hour.
It was an excellent way to see more of the city and I was very grateful for the cup of tea, shower and mattress which I was provided with even though I spent most the night getting bitten by mosquitoes.