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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Arriving in Ethiopia

The flight from DC to Addis was a direct 13 hour flight. We left at noon on the 8th and got in to Addis at 8:30 am the next morning on the 9th. Carrie had the window seat and I sat in the middle seat next her and a sweet little lady from Kenya. The lady from Kenya did not understand how to operate the touch screen video player on the back of the seat in front of her, she also did not realize that her elbow on the armrest was turning the lights on and off as well as changing the volume and setting of the video screen in front of my seat for the entire flight. I read my book and watched about 5 different movies to pass the time. I just couldn’t sleep!

When the airplane was landing I was so excited to look out the window over Carrie’s shoulder at the mountains and the buildings of the city below. The airport was not very big. First thing we had to do was stand in line to apply for our visas, and then we went through customs. After those smalls hoops we were able to retrieve our bags followed by standing in line to run them through the security scanners. There were three different machines with three different lines. We chose the center line and just as we got to the machine they shut it down and walked away. No explanation! Well everyone in line behind us started moving to the scanning machine closest to the right. It didn’t matter that there was already a line formed everyone just started shoving their bags into the machine. So, of course we followed suit. The bags went in and came out the other side and I don’t even know if anyone looked at them.

As we walked through the door to the waiting area I found the person who was to transport us to our hotel (he was holding a sign with our name on it). He escorted us out of the airport into a clear 70 degree beautiful morning were we loaded into the van marked with our hotels name on it. The smell of the diesel motors was stronger than I have ever smelled before. All of the cars and semi trucks on the road seemed very old and left a black haze of exhaust behind them. I also learned quickly that there is no law against having livestock inside the city limits or laws on keeping them in particular areas. We were driving on a freeway and there were cows, goats, mules and horses walking or laying in/on the middle of the road. The driver would beep his horn and just drive around them like it was no big deal. If he wanted to pass a car he would beep the horn and the car in front would just move to the right and let him pass. Oh, and the people including young children running across the roadway. They would climb over the fence run to the center divider, climb over it and continue across the other lanes of traffic. I was so glad when we pulled off the road and into the small parking area in front of our hotel. We checked in and I asked if our agency had left a schedule for us to go visit our baby girl. They didn’t have anything for us. I was disappointed and thought what a long day it will be if we don’t get to see the sweet little face that we had traveled so far to meet. We placed our bags in our room and walked back to the front desk. I asked them to call the number for the driver that brings families back and forth from the hotel to Hannah’s Hope. I spoke to the driver on the phone and he said he would come get us in just a few minutes. I was soooooo thrilled. I ran up to the room and told Carrie that the driver was coming to get us in a few minutes.
We grabbed a few items that we brought to give to our little princess and headed down to the lobby. A large white van pulled up in front of the hotel and the driver with a huge smile on his face greeted us in perfect English. He asked “Are you ready?”. We both answered “Yes!” He helped us into the van and then pulled away from the hotel. As I sat on the edge of my seat I wondered how long the ride would be and how much further we would have to travel. The anticipation was killing me! (To be continued)

1 comment:

  1. Tony and Carrie, I can't wait to hear more about your first trip!!