Spontaneous Moments & Fender Benders – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

When traveling, doing things spontaneously is part of the journey & these things tend to be some of the most memorable. Sometimes you decide to do these things, other times these things are decided for you. This was one of the times when things were completely out of my control.

 

I was connecting through the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia & I had a layover of just under 2 hours. Things started going downhill just before take-off of the flight going to Addis Ababa, bad weather closed the airport & we sat in the plane waiting to take-off for over an hour & a half. I thought we would make up some time en route & I would still make my connection – we didn’t & my next flight left without me.

 

The airline put me on the next available flight which was a good 20+ hours later; they also covered visa & accommodation costs for me in Addis. So there I was, someone who never did anything unless it was meticulously thought out & who never had any desire to visit Ethiopia, going through immigration & into Ethiopia. This was definitely the moment in my life when the travel bug really bit.

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A quick stop at the bank to get some local currency

 

The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was like a terrifying, death-defying, thrilling roller-coaster. I’ve been in some crazy traffic with some crazy driving in my life, but never have I experienced such chaos at such speeds. Traffic lights aren’t used, the side of the road driven on is followed loosely & driving with a door or two open is perfectly normal. All of this & it was an “expensive” taxi.

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You’d think this is a walkway/pedestrian crossing, but it isn’t. We were driving down this road.

 

The hotel was quite nice, but I decided to leave my comfort zone & see as much of the city as I could. A quick call from the hotel front desk & a taxi arrived to take me to see the Lion of Judah statues. I don’t know why I expected anything else, but calling this taxi ‘beat up’ would have been an understatement. I pushed any thoughts aside & got into this rickety thing, being careful not to slam the door just in case it fell off.

 

A few minutes later, we were on a main road headed towards our first destination. I was too distracted by my surroundings to notice what actually happened, but suddenly the taxi driver braked harshly & we went into the back of another vehicle. It was nothing serious, merely a fender bender. However, because of the state the taxi was in before this, the front bumper came off & dozens of pieces & parts fell out of the engine. I gathered it wasn’t the first time this happened to the driver because he quickly phoned another taxi driver to come collect me & finish the trip. To my surprise, while I was waiting, the driver swiftly gets a few screw drivers & spanners out of the glove box & starts repairing his taxi.

 

I’m so grateful things played out the way they did & that my eyes were opened to spontaneity & new experiences. Although short & far from perfect, my time in Ethiopia was unforgettable. I’m not sure I will ever see any more of Ethiopia, but I wouldn’t change anything about my experience.

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Made it to lunch! Not sure what it was, but it tasted delicious. 
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65 thoughts on “Spontaneous Moments & Fender Benders – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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  1. My most memorable travelling taxi experience was in Paris around the peripherique. Rammed with traffic all travelling at breakneck speed and suddenly we realised the taxi driver had actually fallen asleep at the wheel! My husband suddenly became fluent in French and screamed at the driver, which probably saved all our lives. Maybe that’s why I prefer travelling under our own steam now in our motorhome. At least I know how much sleep the driver’s had the night before!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow, what an interesting comment to read. I wonder how often this happens. One of my previous posts is about how my taxi driver fell asleep while driving in India! I’m glad you weren’t harmed in your incident. And, traveling around in a motorhome sounds like a brilliant experience.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, travelling in a motorhome is literally being on the road and taking your home with you! There’s quite a community of Motorhomers too, who share tips and experiences. We absolutely love it & feel like the world is literally our oyster now. Near or far, there’s always an adventure to be had in our ‘bus’ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We were left behind by our tour in Columbia one time. We don’t speak a lick of Spanish. Finally found a security guard that speaks minimal English. He calls a cab for us to get us back to our cruise ship. We drive through this sketchy part of town and we get in a wreck, and I have a a very expensive camera, so i am paranoid we are now gonna get robbed, as he gets out of the car and starts yelling at the guy who hit it. Thankfully the cab driver (who does not speak english) calls another cab to take us to the cruise ship while he deals with his car.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We really need to do more things spontaneously. Every travel adventure we go on is a military operation (probably because I am ex military) with careful minute by minute planning and we spend more time looking at the list than the sites in front of us….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you. Often things will happen that cause a change of plans & you’ll end up spending so much time trying to adjust your list rather than enjoying your trip. In the past, I have made very detailed itineraries & I’ve learnt that it is just not always worth it.

      Thanks for taking the time to read, Nick🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Timothy, it would depend on whether you are an experienced traveler or not & if you have been to Africa before. If you are an experienced traveler or have been to Africa before then, yes. Such a vibrant culture & a great experience overall. However, it is a lot to take in & it might be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You know what? I’ve never traveled with a tour. At 37 I’m too old for youth tours and too young for middle aged senior tours.

        In Sub Saharan Africa I’ve been to Senegal, Benin, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Tanzania. I felt looked at targeted for being rich. I’m not. Obviously compared to average wealth there I am but I’m not…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I understand what you mean about being in the age gap. I’ve never traveled with a tour either, but mainly because I don’t like limitations being places on travel the way they do.

        You sound very experienced, unfortunately you might experience “being a target”, but if you don’t carry any valuables with you & stay vigilant, all will be fine🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I am very lucky to be well-traveled. It started with parents liking to travel and I got the virus. I travel or with one friend or with a small group of friend or alone. The most ‘organised’ I’ve done recently is the cruise. https://tripbytrip.org/2018/07/24/first-cruise-experience-baltic-sea-with-serenade-of-the-seas-by-royal-caribbean-international/

        It was very nice, but also had some drawbacks. https://tripbytrip.org/2018/08/19/lessons-learned-after-royal-caribbeans-northern-europe-cruise-with-serenade-of-the-seas/

        Liked by 2 people

  4. My “Travel Moment” happened in 2001. I was in Bermuda for a few days, and was on a local bus heading – I forget where. As I watched the beaches and pastel-colored houses go by, two girls were in the seat behind me discussing their homework. It was then that I realized that while we may think of places (like Bermuda) to be resorts whose only business is catering to tourists, people actually live and have regular jobs there. You are a guest in their home. Yes, they want you to feel welcome, but you still need to behave as a guest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. These are very wise words, Richard. Very often people go somewhere & they haven’t researched the customs & culture & they offend the locals without realizing it – using the excuse “I’m a tourist.”

      Thank you for reading & for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. wow Dan, what a hell of experience eh? reading it like i was watching a comando kind of a movie.😄 Well, travelling can be sometimes thrilling. I would call your experience SUSPENSE THRILLER

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve learned through traveling that most times nothing will go as planned – and you’ve just got to roll with it. It makes the experience that much more memorable, don’t ya think? Luckily no one got hurt and it was just a fender bender!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting experience indeed. I [Mariam] grew up in Addis so I could relate to some of the things you mentioned in the post. Too bad you didn’t get the chance to stay longer. You missed some amazing gems. Maybe another time. When you can actually plan it out and see what Ethiopia has to offer when it comes to history and culture. I’m sure you’ll love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The taxi ride must of been expensive because he gave you the Indiana Jones special ( : In the end it was nice to see you enjoy a good meal. All these speed bumps crossing your mind. It must of been a good feeling to just relax.

    Liked by 1 person

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