Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saturday in Ethiopia

A friend of mine recently reminded me that I never finished writing about our trips to Ethiopia. I did most of the writing on my laptop in Ethiopia, but once we were home got so caught up in life that I never sat down to finish writing. So, here, almost two years later, I have finished writing about our trip to Ethiopia when we got Isaiah.

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Saturday (last full day)

Dad and Kathy decided they wanted to get an early start to Layla to spend time with the kids, so they caught a ride there ahead of us. Brian and I took a little more time getting ready, and waited for Dawit to pick us up. We had plans to head out for a trip into the countryside, including Nazret, and had hired Dawit for the day for 100 US dollars.

We stopped at Kaldi’s for coffee and pastries. We weren’t able to order our first few drink preferences as they were out of some of the ingredients, so we ended up with a plain latte or something. Had I been a fan of coffee, I’m sure it would have been amazing. We tried a couple different coffee cakes that were good, but more than we could eat.

We headed over to Layla to pick up Dad and Kathy for our trip, but they informed us they would rather take the opportunity to spend more time with the kids. So they spent the day on their own, at the orphanage, playing with the kids.

Our trip to the countryside was amazing. On the way out of town we passed the Ethiopian Air Force compound and were instructed not to get our cameras out anywhere near it. We went through a little town where the main road was closed for construction so we had to take little side streets through the town. The roads were dusty and extremely bumpy. People waved at us as we drove by. One of the common modes of transportation in the town was horse-pulled carts.

Outside of the town was the expansive countryside, much like I’d seen on TV and pictured Africa in my mind. Wide open space, large umbrella-shaped trees all alone, and grass huts. Although it wasn’t quite as primitive as you might expect; at one little cluster of huts we noticed power cords strung along.

We stopped for lunch in Nazret, which is a pretty good sized town. It is also the town Meskerem was originally from, and we drove by the hospital she was originally taken to. Dawit stopped in front of a hotel and sent Brian and I upstairs to the restaurant. We had an interesting time communicating with the wait staff, and trying to figure out what to order. I had previously decided not to order any more traditional food so I could end on my awesome experience from the night before. But I just couldn’t pass up another opportunity for Ethiopian food, so I ordered some sort of meat dish. It was dry and terrible. I’m not even sure what animal the meat was from. It must have been obvious that I didn’t like it since the manager came over and asked me if I would like to order something different. I gratefully asked for the spaghetti Bolognese “to go” so we could be on our way. Later in the car I opened my leftovers to find that something must have been lost in translation, as what I now had was Bolognese mixed in with my meat dish, all wrapped in injera.

We headed out for Sodere Hot Springs, a resort located further out in the country. A few miles before we got to the resort I noticed that we were pretty far from any towns, and the scattered huts around there really were primitive. We drove down a large, curving hill, and off in the distance I could see old women begging on the side of the road. As our car got closer they knelt down and kissed the road as we drove by, holding their hands out in desperation for a gift. Our car was going fast, and I never asked Dawit to slow down so we could help them. That is one regret I have and will never be able to forget.

Sodere is a beautiful, large resort located on natural hot springs and next to a river. There are lodging options ranging from A-frames to cabins to a hotel. There are multiple swimming pools, including gender-specific wading pools that are very hot. We walked around the grounds a little and split up to check out the wading pools. They are private with walls around them, which apparently gives people the freedom to toss their swimsuits and go au-natural. Right next to the wading pools is the muddy river where it’s common to see hippos in the morning.

There are wild monkeys all over the resort that are used to the people and fairly tame. I got some close-up photographs of one who was just staring at me until he gave me a look that made me a little nervous so I backed off. Out at the van, we were standing next to it changing the camera batteries when a monkey jumped through the open door, grabbed our leftovers, and ran off with them. I laughed hysterically, secretly thanking the monkey for taking that food off my hands.

We pulled up to our hotel that evening at the exact time Dad and Kathy were walking up. They had just finished eating at the Elephant Walk. We told them we were hungry and were heading back to Habesha’s, and they decided to head up to their room to start packing. Later that night we got all our stuff packed, and settled in for two hours of sleep before we had to head for the airport.

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Previous Posts:

Monday in Ethiopia
Tuesday in Ethiopia
Wednesday in Ethiopia
Thursday in Ethiopia (Part One)
Thursday in Ethiopia (Part Two)
Friday in Ethiopia

1 comment:

Anne said...

Shana -- it's great to read about your trip!! And fun seeing Dawit with all of you. He's the best, isn't he? :)

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