Kiremt: Celebrating Ethiopian Rainy Season Marvels


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Kiremt is an Amharic word that represents Ethiopian rainy season or winter. And officially, it is that time of year here in Addis Ababa and many other parts of the country when the rain is falling mercifully, the roads getting all muddy and the shivering cold taking its place.

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This particular post is dedicated to the Kiremt (Ethiopian Winter) marvels which are so close to many Ethiopian hearts including me and which we Ethiopians almost could not be able to go through without it at this time of cold season. Starting with the comfort food of Ethiopian rainy season, Bekolo (corn) is at the top of the list whether it’s roasted or boiled and seasoned with little bit of salt.

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Kiremt (Ethiopian Winter) would not be complete without the simply boiled Sikuar Dinich (Sweet Potato). This is one of Ethiopian household practices at this time of year to keep the house and the family warm inside and out.

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Even though, the rain, the cold and the mud transfer the city into a whole different world after almost ten months of beautiful sunshine. Addis Ababa’s street life never failed to entertain whether the locals or visitors alike with its interesting Kiremt scenes.

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Smelling the delicious roasting or boiling corn or even having it at every corner of the city, being able to transfer ones muddy shoes into a shiny one instantly by many enthusiastic Addis Ababa’s shoes shiners along the streets, seeing more colorful umbrellas, noticing Ethiopian women hair style changing along with the weather and I must say it is that time of year for witnessing works of art on braids (shruba) which is simply exotic and beautiful besides being one of Ethiopian Kiremt Marvels.

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Obviously, Kiremt is more like going back to home and keeping oneself warm and it is when the classic Gabi (Ethiopian blanket) comes in handy.

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Let it rain and Happy Kiremt!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, culture, Ethiopia, Food, Fruit and Vegetable, Inspiration, Quote, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Watching Arba Minch Over Guge Hills


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FETIRA: Harar’s Breakfast Bliss


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To take the local flavor in, there is nothing like having breakfast at one of the eateries where locals patronize. Obviously, it is not the kind of buffet breakfast waiting for you down stairs at the hotel; rather it is more like a breakfast that takes strolling through the interesting Harar’s alleyways in the morning to discover the little coffee shop where the typical Harar’s breakfast is being prepared every morning for the locals by the locals… and most of all it is a particular place where I would really love to take the world with me through this virtual tour in honoring an ordinary everyday life.

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What makes worth walking up early in the morning in Harar and walking through the alleyways is the fact that it provides its very own unique scene of the old walled town (Jegol). There is no doubt, that the street breakfast delights are also one of the interesting scenes that curious travelers could discover while heading to one of the little local coffee shops hidden somewhere along the alleyways.

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Jegol’s street breakfast delights ranges from little fried foods made of chickpeas flour, little breakfast delights with eggs to simply boiled potatoes and accompanied with vacuum bottled hot drinks for a guzzled cup of home prepared strong Harar’s coffee or tea in honoring mornings on the move. I must say, seeing locals’ having street breakfast delights in the morning along the alleyways is one of the most mesmerizing experiences of Jegol (Harar’s old walled town).

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Fetira is the typical breakfast of Harar. Fetira is just simply fried filo dough cooked with egg, cut into little square pieces and served with Honey for a perfect combination of savory and sweet.

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The one interesting fact worth mentioning here is that there are slightly different versions of Fetira. Even though the main ingredients are wheat flour, egg and honey, at some eateries minced onion, green pepper and tomato are added into the mixture along with the well beaten eggs and fortunately this is the kind of Fetira which I came across at one of the local eateries in Harar and loved it.

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Fetira is also one of Addis Ababa Café’s breakfast sensations but you don’t usually get opportunities like Harar to see how this simple breakfast bliss is being prepared or to really see what’s in your breakfast so maybe this is one of the reasons why I really enjoyed my Harar Fetira experience so much besides the simply authentic palate of Fetira.

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This particular local eatery epitomizes the essence of Harar in so many and in its very own unique ways. The coffee shop is known for preparing the breakfast dish Fetira and serving it to its local customers so lovingly inside its two shambolic rooms. The one very thing which I found so enthralling is the huge frying pan that sits up on the long barrel filled with charcoal inside its top section.

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Harar is known for its affectionate and charismatic people and this is exactly what I experienced at this particular coffee shop where the locals come in have their Fetira for breakfast along with their well-known and strong Harar’s coffee or tea, chatting with the local chef who prepare Fetira so passionately and live every morning.

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This zealous, charming and Harar’s very own local chef kindly allowed me to capture this simple, mundane but precious Harar’s everyday life moments.

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Hara’s people knows how to entertain their guests in general so the chef and the rest of the staff of this particular coffee shop are also pros on keeping the conversation going till the food is ready… and learned from the best, I want to keep you busy while sharing few interesting details about this particular Harar’s breakfast dish so please stay with me.

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Eating Fetira is more like enjoying the crunchiness of the thin layer fried dough from the top and being rewarded by the savory and juicy taste of the egg and other ingredients that it accompanied with.

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If you really want to experience the perfect combination of sweet and savory and then eating Fetira with organic honey which usually comes along with it is the best way to go. In this case there is no doubt in enjoying the sweetness of the honey along with the crunchiness of the fried dough followed by the savory taste of the egg mixture from the inside which is simply delightful.

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You can eat Fetira with a fork piece by piece as it is usually comes into small square pieces or if you want to get intimate with your food like Ethiopians you can pick little piece of Fetira by hand and dip in the dollop of  honey … I assure you the return on your investment of inquisitiveness will be Scrumptious!

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And really, it was all about a matter of hands. Hands that played with the dough, beat the eggs, cut the vegetables, and bring out the plate out to the table and I call this serving up…

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… LOVE for breakfast.

Posted in Breakfast, culture, Ethiopia, Food, Food Travel, Harar, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Spriss Juice: Addis Ababa’s Multicolored Delights


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Discovering simple and healthy refreshments that prompt sighs of contentment is one of life’s supreme bliss. And it takes a trip to one of Addis Ababa’s Atkilt Bet (Vegetable Shops) to discover Spriss – a multilayered fruit juice that becomes one of Ethiopia’s colorful enchantments.

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Here in Addis Ababa or other parts of the country, Atkilt Bet (vegetable and fruit shop) is usually a one small room shop stuffed with different kinds of products that serves as a mini supermarket from the inside and of course embellished with the colorful and fresh fruits and vegetables from the outside.

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Customers pick their chosen fruit or vegetables from outside and could also get packed products from yogurt to biscuits from inside. Even though this one room store might look small, it also serves as Chimaqui Bet (Juice Bar) for customers who wants sit for a while and enjoy the fresh, delicious and satisfying Ethiopia’s very own fruit juice. Atkilt Bet is the very spot where locals get their juice fix and more.

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Today’s virtual tour is taking the world to a particular little Atkilt Bet which epitomize the fresh fruit and vegetable eating culture of Addis Ababa that includes the most raved about Ethiopian Juicing for body and soul.

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Spriss Juice is just one particular delicious fruit juice which usually composes four or five layers of juice at one. These colorful delights are usually Avocado, Papaya, Mango, Banana, Guava and Pineapple. It comes as distinct layers in your glass accompanied by a long spoon and a lime. The regular Spriss Juice usually composes fruits which are found abundantly throughout the year like Avocado, Papaya and Banana. Mango, Pineapple and Guava have seasons to join the combination and to be enjoyed.

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To indulge one’s eyes, Spriss Juice serve in a large glass. After a squeeze of a lime on the top, you can eat the juice with a long spoon layer by layer or mixed as you like but just remember that you can get any combination when you order.

If you wonder about extras, well here in Ethiopia and at this kind of vegetable shops in particular the juices are all natural, no milk is added except with a little bit touch of water and sugar to the freshly blended fruit juices.  However, depending on your choice the juices can be combined with a little bit of nonalcoholic fruit flavored cordial for another flavor twist which makes it wickedly good and interestingly this is how most of the locals like it.

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Although I pick Spriss Juice to be on the spot light for this particular post from the list of fruit juices and vegetable dish that these vegetable shops serves, it is good to remark that individual fruit juices can be enjoyed as well … yes you can order one full glass of your chosen fruit juice.

Talking about one particular fruit juice, the amazingly green, healthy and bountiful Avocado juice is at the top of many local’s list.

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Obviously Ethiopia is not the best place for sweet tooth. After eating all those delicious spicy stews with the very filling Injera which usually leave no room for dessert, most Ethiopians including me crave for our soul nourishing Coffee instead of dessert or any kind of sweet for that matter. For those of you who might wonder how Ethiopians get their sugar fix then, well don’t be surprised if you see locals prefer their drinks to be sweet than their food.

Sweetening tea, macchiato or latte with sugar and which also goes well with all those delicious but unsweetened little Ethiopian fried foods like Sambusa, and of course sweetening fruit juices with little bit of sugar or cordials are more likely the ways that most Ethiopians beat their sugar cravings.

So if you happen to be in Addis Ababa and want to get your sugar fix like the locals this is the best place to do so instead of looking for pastries or ice cream.

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These luscious, bountiful and delicious fruit juices also double as a meal for many locals rather than just being a pick – me – up snack. Anbasha and Ye afar dabo are the freshly home baked pieces of breads usually enjoyed by the locals along with the fruit juice (usually Avocado) in order to honor hunger and call it a lunch or breakfast.

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Want to get one more idea from the locals? Well picking ½ or 1 kg of banana (if you are with your friend) from the fruit stand and the freshly home baked Ethiopian breads from the shelf … besides this is the only place in Addis Ababa except your home, where you can go wild and ripping your banana eating it as it is with the freshly home baked Ethiopian breads.

The truth is all these interesting ways of enjoying fruits are creative creations of the locals which are very filling and cost effective at the same time and it is one of the interesting details worth mentioning in Addis Ababa’s vegetable and fruit eating culture I think.

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Talking about vegetable, there is one particular dish that the multifunction Atikilt Bet proudly serve and it is my favorite too. The dish is called Atikilt and it is simply an assortment of vegetables and fruits. The assortment usually composes fresh green lettuce, avocado, tomato, green pepper, onion, boiled potato, beetroot and carrot, raw pineapple and banana.

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You can also get all creative here and come up with your very own vegetable landscape of yellow, green or red by ordering your favorite ones. No salad dressing here, rather it seasoned with freshly ground Kundo Berbere (black pepper), salt and vinegar…so healthy and delicious and exactly the way most Ethiopians like it!

But if you want to make it more luxurious, you can pick canned salad dressing or tuna from the shelf and mix it all up as few locals do. Besides the vegetable salad, fruit salads are also included on the menu of these vegetable and fruity shops. Delicious Fruit salad prepared with all those colorful fruits you see outside… love it!

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These healthy, intoxicating fruit juices and vegetable dish makes a meal worth visiting Addis Ababa’s Atkilt Bet…

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…that serve up Simple, Satisfying and Scrumptious Soul Food!

Posted in Addis Ababa, culture, Ethiopia, Food, Food Travel, Travel, Uncategorized, Vegan Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Harar: Where The French Poet Once Lived In


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The fascinating Harar’s old walled town, which locally known as Jegol pleads adventure. From one of the many sites of interest that Jegol (old walled town) encompasses; one really transports daredevil travelers graciously, to an era when a renowned French poet who once lived in this gem of Ethiopian city.

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Harar is situated just off the southern edge of the Chercher Mountains. It is one of the astonishing cities of Ethiopia, that leave visitors breathless in wonder with its still standing centuries old walls, numerous alleyways squeezed into just 1 sq. km, mosques and shrines, revitalizing world class coffee, shambolic but vivacious markets, impressive architecture, charismatic people, distinctively traditional Harari house, unique lifestyle and of course with its an ethereal ritual takes place every night outside the walls –Men bravely feed the unpredictable creatures Hyenas that is.

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Strolling through Jegol’s maze alleys is more like getting ecstatically lost in Harar’s enchanting olden days and of course drifting through another period. From my Harar odyssey, here is a particular virtual tour, through a museum that transports Harar’s visitors into a certain era – when a renowned French poet Arthur Rimbaud once lived in Harar, Ethiopia.

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As history stated, travel bug brought Arthur Rimbaud to Ethiopia in 1876, where he became the first white man to travel into the Ogaden region of Southeastern Ethiopia, coffee trader and an arm dealer.

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Legend hast it, while living in Ethiopia, Rimbaud wins the heart of the locals and even governor of Harar not only because of his genuine interest in Ethiopian culture and the people rather by his intimate connection to the country via living like as the locals in one of the houses in Harar.

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At the heart of Jegol’s maze alleys, there is a divinely refurbished 100 years old mansion of an Indian merchant. The building is referred to locally as Rambo’s house and it is the house Rimbaud is said to have rented when he lived in Harar. Even though, it is still uncertain that whether Rimbaud ever rented the place, the one very truth that couldn’t be denied is that the poet did once live in an older house on the same location.

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The buildings is restored with the help of the Italian and French embassies and now function as a mesmerizing museum dedicated to the poet, with a series of exemplified pieces about his life.

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On the 1st floor, there is an incredible, awe-inspiring and a must-see, turn-of-the -20th-century black and white photographs of Harar. I must say it is simply an eccentric step back in time.

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While walking up stairs to the rooftop , I couldn’t help noticing the wall which is embellished by one of the poets’ works translated and written in Amharic, English and in French of course as if he wrote them on a piece of paper … so enthralling and beautiful.

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Now it’s time to see over Harar to the blue Chercher Mountains.

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Hara must have bewitches Rimbaud as it still flabbergasts travelers.

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Hara is veiled with a profound historical glow that will interest passionate culture explorers and this gem of a place is indeed…

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Window of the PAST!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Adventure, Africa, Architecture, Art, culture, Ethiopia, Harar, Historical Travel, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Mother Nature: Memorable Wildlife Encounters In Ethiopia


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There is nothing like standing still and blown away by what Mother Nature has to offer. And there is nothing better than capturing these wonderful moments of grace so you can still move by it over and over again and I love that I am able to share that moment with the world.

Mum and Baby duck floating smoothly upon Lake Hawassa – one of the beautiful Ethiopia’s Rift Valley Lakes. Besides being one of the sparkling gems of the Lake, this particular panorama provides the inexpressible intelligence of the universe through mothers.

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Still following the theme of Mother’s love, here comes another beautiful scene that usually could be spotted at one of the interesting national parks of Ethiopia and that is the Netch Sar National Park situated in the Southern part of the country.

Since Burchell’s Zebras are one of the main attractions of the park, the wonderful moments of grace varies from seeing beautiful Burhcell’s Zebras standing, mingling with Grant’s gazelles to galloping along with the endless sweep of golden white grass which makes it even better but for me nothing beats seeing Mum and baby Zebra so lovingly together.

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Last but not least, Mum and baby monkey at the top of beautiful trees of  Hawassa –one of the tranquil and affectionate cities of the Southern Ethiopia.

Since the dense scrub and fig woodland of Hawassa are hosts of Guereza and grivet moneys, being entertained or sometimes being annoyed by the curious and restless monkeys while lounging along the lakeside even provide that wonderful moments of grace in which one can still discover and feel unexpectedly the unfathomable of Mother’s Love.

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Now it is that time of year when parts of the world celebrate MOTHERS and which really actuates me to create this particular photo essay and pay a tribute to all the mothers.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Posted in Africa, Mother's Day, Nature, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Ethiopia’s Season to Join in Wedlock


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Receiving wedding invitations at this time of year inspires me to compile few pictures and share it with the world via this particular post which pays a tribute to the second Ethiopian wedding season – usually take place after the long Lent offering or just right after the Easter Holiday celebration and most of the time continues till May.

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The first or the main Wedding season is usually takes place during the month of Tir (January – February) – an exceptional month sought after by couples to tie the knot due to various reasons like  tradition, beliefs, culture, weather, religion and so many more.

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As Ethiopian Wedding Ceremony is a three day affair along with its broad cultural and traditional details makes it an interesting and exciting event worth attending for and without a doubt it is one of the eloquent pieces of Ethiopia that worth capturing …thus, I present my favorite pictures which I think reflect Ethiopian Wedding Season… Enjoy.

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A toast on Love!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, culture, Ethiopia, Events, Travel, Uncategorized, Wedding | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments