Thursday, 26 April 2012

Got paid and going to Djibouti!

When I signed up for this trip I had to enter into a contract with the University of Addis Ababa, which was a bit of a pain. For example, I had to get a physician's letter to say I was fit to come here. One item was that they would pay me $1,000 US plus living expenses. I pretty much forgot about it. When you are taking five weeks off, its not a lot of money.

A couple of days ago a secretary reminded me, and since then I have been harassing her to get things sorted out. Yesterday she said it was fixed for 9 am today, so I went to her office and to my surprise she was putting on her leather jacket to head out, and had arranged a car and driver. We joined two other people with University business and I took some photos as we went along. (People and the government are fussy what you take photos of, and pretty much every other building is a government building, so its good to take pictures from a moving vehicle!).

Went to a counter and was handed stuff to sign I did not understand. 1000 something and 27253 something else, less 9538 tax. Whatever. Then they handed me a little over 20,000 birr. Two piles of 100 x 100 birr notes, all wrapped up and sealed by the bank. Amazing!

On the one hand, 100 birr will buy you a main course and a beer in a ferenji quality restaurant, but on the other hand the total amount is what I might make in a day at work in Toronto.

Decided that while I was out and about I might as well take a little extra time and buy my Djibouti ticket. Ethiopian Airlines was busy but efficient. I used about 70 of my 100 birr notes to pay. I am leaving 4 pm Sunday and coming back Thursday at 7 pm to catch my 11pm flight back to Canada on Friday. I can get a visa and local money when I arrive at the airport in Djibouti, so all I need to do is pack things for five days.

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