The streets of Gondar are busy, colorful, vibrant and full of life- as life can get! I have been walking between the University guest house (at college) and the University Hospital (at hospital), almost everyday for the past two months.
This stretch of about 5 miles, a good 40 minutes walk, is a work out for my legs, but
both a feast and a challenge for my eyes, senses and my brain-body coordination.
For those who need to see to believe, the road has trees and bushes with most beautiful colored leaves and enkutatash flowers (yellow small Ethiopian daisies) all along and on the traffic islands in the middle. Often at various days of the month, both men and women come out in their traditional attire, called gabbi and kemis respectively, white woven cotton dresses with colored embroidered borders.
While your eyes are feasting, be careful not to fix your glare for long, you might not have enough time to leap over the potholes and cracks amidst the slabs on the walks. Trust me, they appear where you least expect and are large enough to swallow you entirely.
For your auditory pleasure, there are of course the birds and loudspeakers competing for your attention.
The birds- magnificently colorful, singing and chirping their melodies while soulful prayer calls sound from the churches and mosques throughout the day (and very early morning! My room is right next to a mosque).
However on the street the audio waves are dominated by deafening honks from the jeeps, busses and bajajs (called tuk-tuk elsewhere). Stores and restaurants blast Ethiopian-American Jazz and occasional english hip-hop songs through loud speakers at their doors. I am curious wether this music actually serves to attract or repel their costumers!
Gondar and its streets also serves for your skin and senses of touch. On its beautiful mornings, you can always feel the ting of chill, reminder of you being next the mountains.
Back to the streets there is always the hustle and bustle, crowds and a ride on the public jeep, wont leave you much of a so called persona-space! And there are of course children, poking you, trying to get your attention for a reward of some petty cash or candy.
Now for a person who relies on his sense of taste the most, then you are here for a treat! Gondar and Ethiopia as a whole, is known for its culinary delight
s. You might run the risks of get tired of Injera (sour bread with fermented dough), the staple food, after you have to eat it everyday, almost three times a day. But, there is always a small coffee shop, a small bakery or a fresh juice center to be discovered at every corner, serving fresh brew or a cool grind. My two favorites are fresh avocado mango juice and shekla tibs (grilled ox meat served on a two tired clay pot with burning coals on the bottom)