After we landed, we went through the painfully long line in customs, experienced our first power outage in the airport, and then we drove to the guest house where we had reservations. There was a hiccup with all the WACAP families traveling here this week and they had given our room to another family. So we are at the hotel under the same management, just a block away. I was bummed about not being at the guest house because that’s where families stay when the gain custody of their children on the second trip and we met two such families in the short time we were there. Their sons were adorable (and all over the place–whew, the language barrier and the newfound freedom for these kids is definitely going to have me eating my Wheaties!) We met the two families we are traveling to Awassa with tomorrow, Cinnamon and Ben who live in Atlanta, and Dawn and Dennis, who live in Seattle. Both were super nice but I think we were all a little quiet today from jet lag. I’m looking forward to learning more about them tomorrow on the ride to Awassa.
After we settled in the hotel, we went across the street to The Blue Drop restaurant and had some lunch. It was a mix of Ethiopian, Italian, and Continental food. I knew food would be inexpensive here but I was blown away by how strong the dollar is against the birr. The language barrier was a bit of a struggle with our server and we had no idea we were ordering three full size pizzas (for $3 each pizza!) Larry had some spaghetti and the kids enjoyed having an Ethiopian bottle of Coke with their pizza. We were all on the verge of falling asleep at the table and when Larry looked at me with completely blood shot eyes and said, “I think I’m going to need a nap,” I knew I had to concede to the masses and risk being able to fall asleep tonight after a nap.
I hardly remember my head hitting the pillow and we all slept like rocks for about two hours. We woke up and are contemplating what to eat for dinner as I type this. The thing that has impressed me the most so far is how friendly everyone is to Buddy and Lou. They go out of their way to try and converse with them and the doorman at the hotel is almost too friendly with them–poor Lou was overwhelmed by all the attention but Buddy handled it like a champ. He has a difficult time understanding what they are saying to him if they speak some English (as do I, sometimes) but he at least looks everyone in the eye and smiles!
We have hardly seen any of Addis Ababa. The airport is about a 5-minute drive from the hotel. I’m looking very forward to leaving the noise of the city in the morning for the beautiful drive south to Awassa. And of course, the pinnacle of the entire day will be meeting Jones. We think we’ll at least get to meet him tomorrow. It’s driving me nuts not knowing if he knows yet that we are here and that he has a family. I don’t want him to be completely thrown tomorrow when he is walked in to meet us. A little notice to at least semi-process what’s happening seems like the best thing to do by him, but I’m learrning there is so much out of my control with this whole trip.
I’m having trouble with a sketchy internet connection (we take so much for grated in the US) so think I’ll sign off for tonight. The kids are completely wound up, under the covers together, speaking their own version of Amharic to each other. It would be really funny and cute if I wasn’t so ready for them to be sleepy again!
I’m having a hell of a time getting these photos to load on the blog so I opted to try this slideshow instead. I wanted to intersperse them throughout the blog but this looks kind of fun, so let’s see how it goes!