Friday, February 02, 2007

Sunday in Ethiopia

Here is the first installment of many, of my notes from our trip.

It is Sunday morning, about 7:45. We have been up for about an hour. Actually, I’m not sure we ever went to sleep. We arrived in Ethiopia a little around 3:00 AM, and spent at least an hour at the airport. We had to fill out cards for our visas, exchange some money, wait in line for our visas, wait in line for customs, find all our bags, and have our bags screened. Praise the Lord all our bags made it!

As we exited the airport, we were approached by a taxi driver, offering us a ride to our hotel. Being the wise travelers we are, we asked up front what the price would be to take us to the Damu Hotel. “10 dollar”, he said. Brian thought he had said “10 birr”, which he thought was reasonable. I corrected him, thinking that price was way too high. As we hesitated, the driver told us he could show us some sign or something with standard rates posted. To be honest, after being awake for some 36 or so hours, most of it traveling, I didn’t really care what we paid. So we paid $10 each – for two taxis – in order to fit four adults plus 12 bags.

There was a bit of confusion and commotion when we walked up to the group of taxis with drivers standing all around. The driver who “escorted” us out there was talking rapidly in Amharic to all the other drivers, probably staking his claim on us. It took a while to get all the bags loaded into the two cars, and I felt the need to stand outside the car, keeping a close eye on all the bags, until everything was loaded. Kathy momentarily took her eyes off her purse, and when she looked back the zipper was undone. Thankfully nothing was missing.

We got to the hotel, checked in, and into our rooms by around 5:00 or so. Our rooms are fairly large, clean, and comfortable enough. Our bed is fairly soft, and king-size, but there are no pillows other than the decorative shams. I resorted to sleeping with my travel neck pillow. At first inspection Dad and Kathy’s bed seems like not much more than a box spring – very firm, to be polite.

We finally tried to get some sleep at around 5:30 AM, but it was hard to unwind and adjust our clocks. Right when we started getting drowsy, off in the distance I heard the unmistaken able “call to prayer” from the nearby mosques. I must have eventually dozed off for a bit, as the next thing I remember is rolling over and seeing the sun shining through the window. I thought about trying to go back to sleep, but my ear hurt from being squished on the travel pillow, and my excitement and curiosity of Ethiopia took over. So, at 7:00, I got up, stood on the balcony, took some pictures with the low sunlight shining on the town, and took a nice hot shower.

Waiting in Seattle for our flight to London.

Loading up the taxis at Bole airport.

Morning view from our hotel balcony.


The Breedlove family said...

My name is Amy. I live in San Antonio, Texas and have been following your site for some time now. Amazing! What a precious family. We are going to start our adoption of a infant boy from Ethiopia before summer. Reading all of your post and seeing your beautiful pictures brings me such a joy and reassurance. Thank you for sharing. My husband and I have three bio kids (Elijah 7, Anna 4, and Sophia 18 months). I have shown my kids the picutres of your beautiful little ones. I look forward to reading and seeing more of your journey.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this educational posting.

By the way, for Ethiopian related news and information, the best site I find is the Ethiopian Portal,

This website allows any registered user to add links, send invitations to an event, register for the pen pal page. In addition, you can view Addis Ababa map block by block, check out the currency, telephone and time converters, embassies.

Good luck and all the best!