Somewhere on the 16 hour flight and getting to Dubai we lost Friday so I am just going to pick back up on Saturday morning in Dubai. Paul was very nervous that we wouldn't wake up in time since I didn't pack a travel alarm clock (TIP: bring this! it is very important!) just my wristwatch which doesn't have an alarm. So he woke up at 5:20 and our wake up call was a good 15 minutes late at 5:45am so it was a good thing he woke up. So we packed up and I tried to straighten my hair when I hear a huge POP and smoke and fire start coming from my step-dad's fancy shmancy converter adapter thing.....oops. Paul came to the rescue and pulled it out of the wall with a bath towel around his hand before any real damage could occur.....well at least to anything besides the converter. I figured it was ok though since we still had the one for the computer and I could live with my wavy crazy hair for a week. We got on the hotel shuttle around 6:10 and made it to the airport and back through security with no problems. Actually, it was so easy that I really think America could take some lessons. We got to our gate and after sitting for a few minutes everyone stands up and gets in line, but there was no boarding call. Well, we haven't traveled internationally in about 10 years so we forgot that you have to go down to the holding gate so we followed everyone down there. When we got through, the Emirates man saw that we weren't sitting together. He very nicely changed that and handed me back my ticket that now said Business Class. I swear I almost fell over in shock. I was not really looking forward to another plane ride but now I was really excited:) (Yes it's the simple things that amuse me.) Business Class was so nice with the champagne and freshly squeezed orange juice that is passed around before all the normal people get on the plane. We had a really good breakfast (masala omlette with potatoes peas and onions) and my foot rest was oh so lovely.
At 11:00 am we landed early in Addis and being in Business Class made us first in line for a Visa in the coat closet, ahem I mean, Visa Center at Bole International Airport. Paul, of course, forgot my warnings about the baggage men and paid 15 dollars to move our bags about 100 feet and we got out really early since our flight wasn't even supposed to land until 11:30. So there we were standing with our expensive baggage men with no one there to pick us up. They let me use their cell phone (which they tried to get more money out of me for doing so) to call Almaz and she assured me that he was on his way and would be there shortly. About 10 minutes later I see a young guy with a sign walking up to the normal/economy class white people from our plane. I walk over and see that his sign says AGCI Family and wave him over. He introduces himself as Johannes but I find out later that he is not "the johannes" from AGCI, Almaz's brother, and our family coordinator. He is Johannes from Union Hotel, but I find all of that out a few days later so right now I am just assuming he is AGCI Johannes. Anyways, he helps us get all of our bags into the van and takes us to the hotel. The drive over was amazing and not as crazy of driving as I expected, but not U.S. driving for sure. There was a lot of smog and pollution though. Since we were not allowed to go over to Hannah's Hope until Monday we asked Johannes what he thought we should do. He told us (with lots lost in translation) that we should rest today and tomorrow he was working at the reception desk at the hotel and he would set us up with a taxi in the morning. Now we thought this was odd but maybe Johannes has a lot of jobs and works for the hotel as well, they are right next door to each other......I am going to blame this on 30 hours of traveling.
So we go to our room and start unpacking. I, of course, plug in the water heater first thing since I know that electricity is not the norm here and I want hot water. Then at 1:00 we were a little tired so we decided to take a nap. Paul woke up around 4:00 and attempted to wake me up every 30 minutes until 6:30 when I finally emerge, very reluctantly. The time change is weird like that. You think, oh I am a little tired so I will take a short nap when actually you have fallen asleep for the night. We go downstairs and have dinner in the lobby. I think Paul had the cheese burger which he liked and I had Ethiopian Beef Tibs and injera which was really good. We eat a lot of Ethiopian food here so I was dying to try the real thing. This wasn't really the real thing but it was close. We were the first family to arrive and I thought a couple more families were getting in that night or the next morning but it was hard to pick them out of the Holt (another adoption agency that uses our hotel) families.
Then I decided it would be best to call my mom and tell her that we had made it safely to the hotel because she is a worrier. The phone wasn't working so with limited English/Amharic we somehow bought a 13 dollar calling card from the front desk and used their cell phone to call home. Of course now you would think that when your daughter is half way around the world in AFRICA picking up your new granddaughter you might answer your phone, but no. So we spent 13 dollars to leave a message.....I decide to call it even on the hair straightener/converter mishap.
With nothing else to do we decide to head back up to the room and go to bed.
These are taken from our window and from Tisha and Monte's balcony.
7 months ago