Slept in this morning. Met Dawn at the U.N. and hung out there until lunch time. Had lunch with Dawn, Jeanine, and Sonia (Dawn's roommates) then headed out for the Mer&cced;ato. I finally made it to "Africa's largest outdoor market". Unfortunately I wasn't all that impressed. I'm not sure why it's considered an outdoor market and not a shopping district, it's just regular paved city streets lined with small shops. It is a big district with separate sections for cloth, shoes, spice, baskets, tools, etc. There is also a souvenirs section right next to the taxi stand, but it was expensive and not very good quality. Near the back of the district there are two huge buildings full of stands - more like the typical African city market. Here I found some traditional icons that I liked and people who were willing to bargain. I ended up buying five wooden and one stone icons.
It was getting late so I rushed back to the U.N. picked up the other things I've bought in Ethiopia, and headed to the Department of Antiquities to get an export certificate so I can take the things out of the country. I got to the National Museum (where the department is) at five haveing read that they're open until 5:30 - wrong they closed at 4:30 and don't open until 8:30 tomorrow, and I have to be at the airport at eight. I turned on the charm and they agreed to look at the things. It was surprising, two people carefully expected each item and itemized it on a list (counting the small crosses there were over 30!). Then everything had to be wrapped up in paper and tape (which could be bought at the museum cafe), then the resulting package was stamped all over, along each edge and piece of tape. Far more complicated than I expected!
Now I was down to my last 20 birr - not even enough to get me to the airport tomorrow and it was too late to hit a bank. Went to the Hilton where I was able to cash a traveler's check - though not at the best rate.
Took a quick detour back to the house (to drop off my "antiquities", change clothes, and put a bottle of Amarula in the fridge). Met up with Dawn, Jeanine and Sonia and headed out to diner with a huge group of people (mostly U.N. people). After diner headed to a bar and had a drink. Back at the house (already fairly late) the four of us opened the bottle of Amarula. Dawn and I ended up staying up talking until five - so much for a good nights sleep before getting to Egypt...