When we arrived and the driver parked, our van was swarmed by people begging for money. I think some of them wanted to take carry our luggage in for us, but we just grabbed our stuff, held on to our purses and headed away from them. Unfortunately, we headed in the wrong direction! Our driver waved us back the other way and we sighed with relief when we reached the terminal. It's kind of strange to feel relief to be back in a security check line, but it was better than being accosted! As we went through the security check and paused to put our shoes back on, a guy waved me over to the side. I didn't recognize that he was one of the security guards and firmly told him "no thanks!" thinking he wanted to be my porter for a fee. After two more attempts on his part, I finally realized who he was and that he wanted to search my bag! Gosh, was I embarrassed or what?! He didn't find anything suspicious in my bag so he let me go. Whew!
We decided to exchange our Ethiopian birr back to dollars so we found the nearest exchange bank. The teller ambled over to the window and asked what we wanted. Problem was that we couldn't hear a word he was saying through the safety glass. I kept asking him to repeat himself and he got really irked with me and finally told me I should go to a different exchange because he was sick and had lost his voice and was going to the hospital as soon as someone came to relieve him. I told him I wanted to exchange there and wouldn't leave so he finally figured it out and made the exchange. Geesh! I was sorry for him that he was sick, but good grief, he acted like it was all my fault! Oh well.
Next we went through the check-in line at the ticket counter to get our boarding passes. While we waited in line, the woman behind us had the nerve to ask us to check some bags for her! I was flabbergasted! I suppose we should have reported her, but we just firmly said no and ignored her. I was secretly hoping she wasn't on our flight. Who knows what might have been in her bags? Ah, I suppose she probably just went overboard on her shopping and didn't want to pay the extra luggage fee...When we made it to the front of the line, everything went smoothly and we got little green dots on our boarding passes to indicate with which group we could board.
The next line we had to wait in was the passport control line. Only took about 20 minutes though and then we SHOPPED! Hee hee. We had a few items still to find for people back home so we searched every shop there. It was interesting to see all the Ethiopian art/craft stuff. My favorite find was a children's book (in English) that told the legend of Ethiopian coffee. And my other favorite was a mobile of cats made out of fun fabrics that I secretly bought for Pat as a thank you for being my travel partner. Pat was intent on finding just the right bracelets for her three best friends so she never even knew! It was a fun surprise!
Pretty soon, it was time to go through the last security queue and we were finally at our gate. We still had about an hour until our flight and by this time we were starting to feel drowsy. Problem was, we didn't want to fall asleep until we were on the plane. I decided to walk around the waiting area a little to try to stay awake. I made a big circle and as I neared the gate, I saw a sign designating which colored dots corresponded to which boarding group. I noticed that "green" boarded first because it corresponded to "Business class, passengers needing extra assistance, families with small children, and elderly passengers." I hurried back to where Pat was waiting and told her, with a huge grin on my face, that I was glad she was "elderly" because that meant we got to board first. Hee hee. We had a good laugh about that one!
Well, the rest of our journey was rather uneventful...refueled in Sudan, layover in Amsterdam (did a little more shopping), 5-hour layover in Seattle (not fun to be so close to home and yet so far away!) and finally we were landing in Eugene. My mom had picked up Jack and Beth and met us at the airport. It was wonderful to see the kids and give them great big hugs and lots of kisses! What a journey! What an experience! God was so present to me the whole time, giving me peace and stability, calming my anxiety and I want to give Him all the glory! I am simply in awe of Him, because I know He has an amazing plan for Joseph's life and for whatever reason, I get to be his mommy.
|Took this one for Mitch in Seattle :)|