February 17, 2005

Mojo revitalized!

It didn't take two hours, just a comment from my regular customer "Larky Snax" to get me going again. Thanks, Larky.

In case you didn't read the comments section, here's what Larky asked:

"Tell us more about the land situation. Are you saying you'd like to buy some land within the city? If you buy land and build a house, is it easy to get water? A sewer hookup? How big are the lots? If you buy outside the city, is there any mass transit? As for the pets, all I can say is be thankful you don't have ferrets."

Larky, a great set of questions. Land within the city is absolutely essential. Addis, like any major city, is plagued by bad traffic. There are a handful of key arteries into the city, but these are not freeways into the city (there is a largely unused ring road) - lots of intersections, shops on the side of the road, etc., meaning that there is not a constant flow of traffic. What's more, apparently traffic is worsening exponentially. I've heard from two different American friends how much better the traffic was when they were here 1 and 2 years ago, respectively. And it's only going to get worse. Traffic is going to literally come to a standstill; it will take 45 minutes to go 2 kilometers. No fun.

At first, I'm sure people will make the easy adjustments - change schedule to leave for work early. But it won't be enough. All of this is compounded by the fact that so many people are building on the outskirts of the city. They want a nice piece of land with a good size house - something most couldn't afford if they tried to live in the city. So, they move to the suburbs, but we can all easily forsee where this is going.

So, I want a piece of land in the city. There are still a lot of open places and although Addis is a really dense city, it doesn't have the look of a New York type density. In New York, you have 1-2 people taking up a whole apartment (ableit probably cramped). Here, in that same size apartment, you might have 9 or 10 people. Point being that there is still a lot of available land but even in the 7 months I've been here, it's getting snatched up like mad. While the city plans to raze a lot of the low-level houses/shantytowns and replace them with condominiums, that's not going to relieve much of the demand for land.

As to your second set of questions, sewer hookup is no problem within the city limits, as far as I know. Same for phone, electricty, etc. Lots of infrastructure. In terms of land size, this is the big question. I've heard of prices ranging from $100 per square meter to $10 per square meter. This is information that I need to get ASAP. Also, it's my thought to buy land as soon as possible and then sit on it until we are ready to build. Anyway, lot sizes vary, but 10 x 10 meters might be reasonable. In that case, the goal is obviously to build up. 3-4 stories.

Finally, in terms of mass transit, there is plenty available, but it all travels on the same streets as the private cars, and there is your problem. There are city buses and shared mini-bus taxis. No underground, no monorails, no surface rail lines. This is going to be one of the biggest problems this city faces in the coming 1-2 years. I have no idea how they plan to resolve it. In the circles I run in, the traffic problems in Lagos, Nigeria are legendary (things like accidents on the freeways where all the cars behind the accident have to back up). It's my fear that Addis will reach the same level; hence, I want to live within a couple of kilometers of the city center and any places I might have to work.

Thanks, Larky and I'll keep in mind your thoughts about the ferrets.


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No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

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But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

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