That Time We Stayed in a Murder Hotel in Addis Ababa

Right at the start I can assure you, I’m not using similes, metaphors, or exaggerating.  Me.  Two kids.  Murder hotel.  Addis Ababa.

And I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ethiopian Airlines for their high commitment of customer service in adventure travel (*COUGH*).

Our story begins in Dubai, where my kids and I had retreated to try and work through a visa issue.

Okay, yes. This is actually Abu Dhabi. But we were *staying* in Dubai, I just like this picture better. This still counts.
Okay, yes. This is actually Abu Dhabi. But we were *staying* in Dubai, I just like this picture better. This still counts.

Dubai is glitzy.  Dubai is first world.  Dubai has a Chili’s and even an IHOP.  Dubai is a desert with an entire attraction devoted to snow skiing.

Dubai is not, in any way, Africa.

This is Dubai
This is Dubai
This is Africa. More specifically, how we deal with load shedding in Africa. First we drink it, then we use it as a candle holder. Because it is better to be slightly buzzed and light a candle than sit and curse the dark.
This is Africa. More specifically, how we deal with load shedding in Africa. First we drink it, then we use it as a candle holder. Because it is better to be slightly buzzed and light a candle than sit and curse the dark.

However, Ethiopia most certainly is Africa, and it was the intermediate and overnight stop on our journey back home from Dubai.

This wasn’t our first Ethiopian rodeo.  My husband flies it fairly frequently, and we’ve been through Bole Airport a few times.  We’ve never, however, had to overnight while doing so.

“It will be fine!” my husband assured me.  “They put you up in a nice, Western chain hotel!  It will be easy!”

Of course, my husband usually flies business class for work, and I spend a lot more time in the back of the bus with everyone else who managed to score an amazing last minute deal on Expedia.

Dubai airport, Malaysian salwar kameez, Mexican cola, US passport, reading a French book... Third culture kid in the DXB hizz-ouuuuse!
Dubai airport, Malaysian salwar kameez, Mexican cola, US passport, reading a French book… Third culture kid in the DXB hizz-ouuuuse!

This means that when we checked in at Dubai Airport (Dude- dat airport!) I had a moment of severe discombobulation when we were handed our hotel vouchers right at the check in desk.

  1. Wow!  This is amazingly organized and efficient!  Kudos to Ethiopian Airlines for this well thought-out change!
  2. My hotel is for a hotel called Top Ten.  I live in Africa.  I know that when a hotel is called “Top Ten”, “Premier”, “Luxury”, or “The Best Premier Luxury Top Ten Glamour Hotel and Suites,” it will be the worst hotel in town.
  3. I checked Trip Advisor.  It is very close to the worst hotel in town.  People from Nigeria complained about this hotel.  I know a lot of Nigerians – if anyone can take a situation as it comes and roll with it,  it is someone from Nigeria.  If that hotel is so bad that someone from Nigeria had to vent on Trip Advisor, that hotel is BAD.  And this is where Ethiopian Airlines is insisting I go.
  4. I might cry on this flight.

I did try to change our voucher multiple times, but the smirking lady at the counter when we landed seemed quite happy with my unhappiness.  Therefore, the kids and I headed off to get on the bus to Top Ten.

And after five minutes sitting on the bus to Top Ten, we got right off back at the airport.

Five minutes on the bus was enough to show us that even sleeping in Bole Airport overnight would be a better option than the Top Ten hotel.

Back to the staff I went, this time armed with an asthma attack I was not going to medicate until someone fixed our hotel issue.  And luckily, some random male employee took pity on me and rounded up a room at Nexus Hotel.  Instead of being 70 out of 99 (Top Ten Hotel), Nexus clocks in at 26 out of 99.  We’re really moving up!  And I can’t fault the staff there, who were attentive and polite.  It also had good security and seemed very clean.

After a bit of a kerfuffle because the rooms are only set up for two, and I was traveling with two children (we were able to get an extra mattress in the room for my son), we knocked off to sleep close to midnight, knowing we had to be up for an 08 flight.

It was the next morning when I noticed the issue while brushing my teeth.

 

What might these brown splotches on the wall be? Let me look clo... OMG. AM I STAYING IN DEXTER'S HOTEL?"
What might these brown splotches on the wall be? Let me look clo… OMG. AM I STAYING IN DEXTER’S HOTEL?”

As I paused and looked more closely, my eyes followed a line of brown splish-splots from one side of the mirror and across the wall, just over the height of my head.

WHAT HAPPENED HERE?
WHAT HAPPENED HERE?

I immediately What’s App’d my husband (I honestly do not get why more people in the US don’t use What’s App, I can bother my husband from anywhere to anywhere in the world, as long as there is wifi involved, for free.  And I DO) and asked for his best former-criminal-investigator opinion.

“It looks like someone got their throat cut,” he answered nonchalantly.  “And some of the spatter flicked off the end of the knife up, accompanied by some arterial spray.  The spatter is all fine, you see?”

YES.  YES, I SEE.  I SEE I AM IN A MURDER HOTEL. I AM IN A MURDER HOTEL IN ADDIS ABABA.  My room was probably haunted all night, but we were too tired for the ghosts to wake up.  Those ghosts must  have been seriously disappointed.

It was already morning, everyone had already showered, and we had no luggage to speak of because everything was checked through, so we headed down to breakfast (it seemed fairly good and well stocked) and then checked out to head back to the airport.

“Oh, by the way,” I said as I walked past the front desk to the airport van. “There is blood all over the bathroom wall and it isn’t mine.”

And then we went to the airport and flew home.