Saturday, January 10, 2009

Found IT!!!!

I’m writing this post off line right now, I’ll have to cut and paste it in later, because our power is out. I just got someone to bed, folded some laundry and sat down with a piece of potica, all ready to do a post – a good one, and of course, the power goes out. Hope it comes back on soon, or it is going to be a very cold night.
Anyway, my thought was to try and document on a day by day basis, our trip to Ethiopia, but we’ll have to see how that works out, since a fair amount of time has passed. Also, there are some stories that I want to share, but only with certain people. I have to see if my blog template allows for password protected posts, I’m not sure, and obviously cannot check right now. Otherwise, I will have to do those by email or something. You know, protect the innocent, or not so innocent as the case may be.

So in my earlier posts, I think that I have covered up to about Amsterdam going over. Of course my cold was still bugging me the whole way over so I was not in the best of moods. Then in Amsterdam, Cory went to plug my laptop in for me and fried the adapter – the new one we had bought to replace the one that didn’t make it out of Prague alive. And here I thought it was just an Eastern block thing. Or maybe it was the converter. Anyway, I don’t claim to be proficient in the area of hardware. He had to go back out into the airport – we were in the KLM Crown room, and go to the massive electronics store to find something to replace it… Actually, looking back I’m pretty sure he fried both because he could only find one and not the other, but it all worked out in the end. I was in a Nyquil induced fog at the time. Give me a break. While he was off looking for this I was napping in the chair I was sitting in. Didn’t even care if anyone took our stuff. I wake up and Cory is up at this counter, which obviously had better outlets than the ones provided in the lamp bases by the chairs and he is charging up the computer. He comes over to tell me that he would like to go out into the airport to find something to eat. For those of you who know me, you will see how sick I was by my response – but I already ate here in the Crown Room. Yes, for our 4.5 hour layover I was perfectly willing to just have two pieces of turkey cold cuts and a small roll. As we’re discussing our dining options and old man goes over to the counter, which is obviously being used by people with their own laptops and starts trying to use mine. Cory had logged out so he couldn’t, but he kept trying to enter a password, even when Cory went over and explained it was our computer. The guys STILL kept trying to enter a password, probably the one they give you to access the internet. He just did not believe him! Nuts.

Well, wandered out, got a breakfast I was not wholly into, and then realized we had to reorganize all of our liquids again because Amsterdam is one of those awesome airports where you have to go through a separate screening to get to your gate. Can I just say how much I hate those? You have to get to the gate at least an hour before your flight, you can’t leave again to get anything, like a magazine or snack, because then you have to go through the ridiculous security again. It’s such a pain in the ass. Cory ran down to get our Ziploc bags, and of course, it was a one bag per person minimum and their required bags are smaller than the ones at the US airport. Nyquil wearing off, Stacy getting very cranky.

We get to the gate, go through security and before getting on the plane Cory goes up to the counter and asks the woman how much it would be to upgrade to business for this third leg of our trip. I can’t remember what she said exactly, but it was not horribly unreasonable and we were considering it before she said, “But the flight is not fully booked so you’ll have plenty of room in Coach. I wouldn’t do it”. Okay, thanks helpful flight attendant…. Actually you evil, evil, cruel woman. Maybe before you make a promise like this you should look at the seats the people are in. Walking through the first half of the plane we’re thinking yah, this flight isn’t full, it’ll be fine, until you get to the third part of the plane, the very back, which is so packed full of people already, that their combined body heat already makes the place feel like a sweat lodge. And I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be judgmental or cruel, but with this crew, I was looking for the chickens, seriously. The woman sitting in front of us had her shoes off, and she must have had them off for the last 3 years they were so black and it was so thick. Seriously, it looked like she was doing clean up for the Valdeez (sp?) with her shoes off. And she was just putting her feet all over the seat, all over everything. I spent the entire flight just making sure that they didn’t happen to come backwards under her seat and touch my purse. I HATE feet as it is. Even the clean feet that come out after a pedicure. Keep them the hell away from me. So now I am freaked out about every airline seat I come in contact with. God knows who’s feet have been on them. And her kids. Oh don’t even get me started. Loud, obnoxious, the person behind me kept kicking me, and that was an adult. A few other men were just so excited to be on a plane that they kept getting up and running back and forth to each other – maybe pinching themselves to make sure it was real. I don’t know, but I was in what I thought was the 6th circle of hell, little did I know there was a time later in the trip when I would look back on these moments with fondness.

This group and a lot of other people in our area got off in Sudan during our refueling stop. After they all gave a round of applause when the plane touched down on the ground. Not like the pilots could even hear them back in the ass end of the plane. I could still just slap that woman at the desk…..

The next group that got on in Sudan was better. Same situation in front of us, family with small kids but these kids were so well behaved and their mom did not concern me with her feet, but the poor thing had to sit on that seat that swamp thing had been in…. Makes me cringe.

Another hour and a half to Addis Ababa and we were done. Went through customs got our luggage and out into the main area. Mulat was waiting for us to tell us what time we had to be ready for the birth family visit the next day. I felt so bad that he had to come out there at that time of night – almost 11 pm by the time we got to where he was, just to tell what we pretty much already knew. No wonder it took him most of the rest of the time we were there to warm up to us. After talking to Mulat we went over to the Sheraton area to let them know we were ready for our shuttle. I went to the bathroom while waiting and had my first experience with no TP. So glad I brought those Charmin travel rolls. Went back to where we were waiting for the shuttle. I hurried because they said 10-15 minutes. First experience with EST – Ethiopian Standard Time. 10-15 is very fuzzy. Could be 10-15 from anything. Not necessarily that moment. For us it was 10-15 minutes from 20-25 minutes from now. It was odd though how the hotels all had little booths almost carved out for themselves. All looking nicer than the airport which is fairly sparse. But the Sheraton’s was the nicest. Wood paneling all enclosed in its own little space with a 6 foot Christmas tree decorated and their poor desk guy in a suit. Leather couches and a coffee table. Just a lot different than the others. We ended up on the shuttle with two idiots from Europe. One was German and the other was Dutch. They talked during the whole drive and they had just met each other. Each one was trying to outdo the other with how much he had to travel. I can’t remember all the details now, but it was just wonderful entertainment.

Next we get to the Sheraton and it is pretty impressive when you drive up. It is its own little oasis in the city. I have heard a lot of people refer to it as a compound, but it’s just a nice hotel in the middle of Addis, which is unfortunately pretty much synonymous with extreme poverty. And after hearing that there was a bombing a few years back at the Hilton, I am happy that both hotels now have guards out front with the little mirrors on rollers to check under the car and that they make drivers open their trunks before coming in. Didn’t bother me a bit. Neither did the scanner and metal detector going in the front door. Oh well, it was always quick and safety is not a bad thing.

Well, this place was decked out for Christmas. That is one thing I noticed, that we were totally mislead on, that the kids there will have no concept of Christmas. That is total BS. There are Christmas decorations everywhere, EVERYWHERE and there is even a section of the Mercato dedicated to Christmas decorations. The Sheraton was decorated like you would expect most nice hotels. Big tree in the lobby, lights all over the grounds, Santas everywhere. Difference was, all the Santas were saxophone playing Santas, except for the ones climbing up ladders on the building, which gave me the creepy feeling of an elf invasion. Every Santa we saw in this country had a saxophone in his hands. And the ones out front around the fountain, had their legs removed so they were just torsos, heads,, arms and saxophones. Different. Every day up to Christmas they also had a real Santa in the main lobby that people would bring their kids to see. Kind of like the mall here.

Anyway, this is our introduction to Addis. We checked in, they had us in the wrong room. I pointed this out because the reservation sheet he gave me said 217, and he tried to put us in 1 something. When I asked if it was non-smoking he needed a few minutes to get us a different room. Guess which one that was, 217. The room was nice. The bed was a little uncomfortable, but overall it was good, with a huge patio. I mean the patio was at least the size of our room, although we really didn’t spend much time out there. Looking back on things, I wish that we would have spent a bit more time at the hotel. I don’t think that Boko would have been scarred for life if mommy and daddy had taken an afternoon to lie around the pool. But at the time we just thought we should keep going to see him as much as possible. Probably guilt over the fact that we were the only parents who could not take custody at any point because we were staying at a hotel…..

Sorry on a tangent. We got to bed around 12:30, probably a little closer to 1 and sent our alarms for 4. We had to be up and ready to go at 5 am the next day to be picked up by our driver and then go to the guest house to pick up the other couple that we would be traveling with.. And that is the end of our first night I guess in Ethiopia. I realize that it is painfully detailed, but hey, the power is out and I have nothing else to do right now. Brrrrr. It’s starting to get cold in here too.

The back of the hotel.

Still trying to organize all the pictures. I don't have Cory's on here either.


hannie bailey said...

Love the details. I can just hear you "talking" and telling your stories. I am entertained, and staying tuned for more...