Day 16: Leaving Addis

As excited as I was to get home to Tanzania, as tired as I was after traipsing around the northern circuit of Ethiopia, naturally, on the last day of my trip I suddenly didn’t want to go at all. But vacation is so rewarding as a heightened, special break from daily life, so I suppose the return, the dénouement, is an integral part of the experience.

Unfortunately, I’m not very good at only taking enough money out at the ATM to get me through exactly to the end of my vacation. Perhaps it’s because I have a horror of being unprepared for situations, but I always end up with much more cash on hand than I need when I’m wrapping up a trip. Such is life. In this case, it was a guilt-free way to do some serious shopping—especially important since I’ve missed a handful of Christmases and birthdays while in Tanzania. Plus, I was still on the prowl for a leather jacket.

First, of course, I had to pack my bags, which wasn’t too much of a problem: for the first time in my life, I packed light for a trip. I survived. I also looked pretty good, generally. I’m really hoping this is the start of a new trend in my travel, as I’ve had a terrible tendency to overpack. But I got everything buttoned up no problem and moved downstairs mid-morning, where the staff were more than happy to let me store it until the afternoon. They were also super chill about my key having broken off in the lock the other day, so mad props to Mr. Martin’s Cozy Place for being an understanding and accommodating place to stay.

I headed off down the main drag in Bole, grabbing a last Kaldi’s macchiato and some lentil sambusas as a quick break before getting into the mall section. Coming off 3 years in Peace Corps, I still feel self-conscious walking into fancy malls—can they tell I’m broke? Do I look like I’m coming straight out the village? It’s weird. I checked out a couple leather goods shops, but didn’t see anything that worked. My quest for the cool-guy leather jacket shall have to continue in another country…

Having been thus far unable to part with the birr burning a hole in my pocket, I walked down to Salem’s to take another look. I wandered around the showroom a bit, checking out the new stock that’d been set out since I’d been there. Once scarf I really liked was being used as a table runner to display a bunch of jewelry and necklaces—but you can bet I slid that sucker out from under, carefully as I could, but still with a huge clatter that drew some glares from a group of Spaniards. Whatever, they were just jealous they didn’t get to it first. I grabbed a couple scarves, a throw, and a giant, gorgeous blue jawn that I’m really excited for as I made my way to the checkout. Can’t wait to rock it in weather that actually requires scarves and layers—I’m getting a bit sick of the equatorial hot.

I lugged a couple complimentary totes jammed full of my textile bounty back to the guesthouse, dropping them with my stuff. I went out one last time to grab a quick shawarma and a beer before hailing a cab—they’ve got draft, how could I not? Such a long trip was ending so suddenly now, the hours sliding by faster and faster. But sitting outside, munching on my favorite food, drinking a crisp beer, the sun on my face and beautiful memories for a lifetime writ large on my mind, I couldn’t have been happier. Time to go.

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