An Afternoon Stroll in Mekelle – Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Exiting the parking lot of the Axum Hotel

Exiting the parking lot of the Axum Hotel

There is nothing particularly exciting about this blog entry, but perhaps it will give you some sense of what Mekelle is like on a day to day basis.  It is about  5:00 in the afternoon. Let’s take a stroll.  We are still staying in the Axum Hotel while we await the final negotiations on our long-term residence.  As we stroll out of the parking lot of the Axum Hotel, the first thing we see is a giant sign for tuxedo rentals.  The Axum Hotel is a favorite location for weddings and social events, so perhaps this makes sense.  All of the dignitaries in Mekelle come here at some time or another.

Tuxedos - Barack

Barack Obama rented here?

If you look closely at the advertisement, it appears to be suggesting that Barack Obama has been a customer, which I doubt.  Jackie Chan?  Perhaps.

Turning to the right, we stroll down a rather broken and cluttered pavement which winds its way in front of apartment buildings and ground floor shops and businesses.  There are an abundance of coffee shops, pool halls, internet cafes, small “mom and pop” convenience stores, as well as larger, more impressive businesses.

Artistic shot of balconies in Mekelle

Artistic shot of balconies in Mekelle

The Herom Juice House and patrons -- featured in a previous blog!

The Herom Juice House and patrons — featured in a previous blog!

     There is plenty of construction in Mekelle.  Almost every street you pass seems to have a new building going up somewhere.  There must be two dozen new hotels under construction, as well as countless private houses.  Much of the money seems to be coming from “The Ethiopian Diaspora,” often businessmen working in the United States who are sending money home as an investment or who are building their homes for future retirement.

Buildings and new construction in Mekelle.

Buildings and new construction in Mekelle.

Artistic shot of construction scaffolding in Mekelle.

Artistic shot of construction scaffolding in Mekelle.

Traffic is much less congested than In Addis Ababa.  On this stroll, the light is starting to drop a little bit.  It is cool–shirt-sleeves weather–and not at all unpleasant.  There is a gentle breeze blowing down the street and the air is clean and pleasant–not filled with exhaust fumes, trash or the odiferous smells that can overwhelm you in some African cities.  it seems almost pastoral…

Pedestrian traffic in Mekelle

Pedestrian traffic in Mekelle

     As we walk further down the hill, the buildings begin to get a little more impressive, but if you glance to the side down the side-streets, the neighborhoods are quiet and uncongested.

City police building

View down a side street in Mekelle

City police building

City police building

Technology college located above The Palace Cafe

Technology college located above The Palace Cafe

There are a surprising number of pool halls down here (I think I counted five on this walk).  Most of them are located in a one-room storefront with a single pool table inside.

One of many pool halls in downtown Mekelle.

One of many pool halls in downtown Mekelle.

Plenty of small shops, businesses, commercial ventures and restaurants can be found side by down down the street.

Modern Furniture store.

Modern Furniture store.

Everything for the modern bride.

Everything for the modern bride.

Buildings in downtown Mekelle

Buildings in downtown Mekelle

Gaily decorated buildings in downtown Mekelle in the afternoon sun.

Gaily decorated buildings in downtown Mekelle in the afternoon sun.

There is an abundance of restaurants, “watering holes,” and cafes scattered along the road.

A new restaurant, recently opened.  No reviews yet!

A new restaurant, recently opened. No reviews yet!

An Ethiopian "cultural restaurant."  A cultural restaurant is a place where traditional Ethiopian food is served along with live traditional Ethiopian dancing and music.  Well worth an evening of your time!

An Ethiopian “cultural restaurant.” A cultural restaurant is a place where traditional Ethiopian food is served along with live traditional Ethiopian dancing and music. Well worth an evening of your time!

Saint George!  Patron saint of England, of Ethiopia, and to judge by brewery sales, also the patron saint of beer!

Saint George! Patron saint of England, of Ethiopia, and to judge by brewery sales, also the patron saint of beer!

The Tuna Cosmetics Shop.  Perhaps the name loses something in translation...

The Tuna Cosmetics Shop. Perhaps the name loses something in translation…

Apartments over a photo shop.  We got duplicate photos made here for governmental paperwork.  It appears that you cannot have enough passport-sized photos for application forms.

Apartments over a photo shop. We got duplicate photos made here for governmental paperwork. It appears that you cannot have enough passport-sized photos for application forms.

Bananas for sale in the doorway of a local "convenience store."

Bananas for sale in the doorway of a local “convenience store.”

Street palms and street lights

Street palms and street lights

The Professional Shoe Shine Center--just what you need after a dusty stroll through downtown Mekelle.

The Professional Shoe Shine Center–just what you need after a dusty stroll through downtown Mekelle.

The "Pimp My Style" Ladies Boutique--perhaps not quite the message they intended to send...

The “Pimp My Style” Ladies Boutique–perhaps not quite the message they intended to send…

Spiral staircase leading up to the Ethiopian Airlines office in Mekelle.

Spiral staircase leading up to the Ethiopian Airlines office in Mekelle.

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in the heart of downtown Mekelle.  We opened our account today!

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in the heart of downtown Mekelle. We opened our account today!

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