Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ethiopia Flashback #3

Still Sunday, March 6, 2011...
By the time we had finished our visit at the Care Center, our driver had figured out how to start the van again and was waiting for us outside the gate.  The atmosphere in the van as we started out again was so charged with emotion--elation over finally seeing our little boys, mixed with sadness that we had to say goodbye so soon, joy at the wonderful  way in which Joseph accepted me and his new grandma, aching over Mitch having missed out this time...I felt drained more than anything and just wanted to process everything quietly.  Fortunately, most everyone must have felt similarly because when we met up with the other van, after the initial, "So how did it go?" and sharing the highlights with the other couple, almost everyone began to nod off and catch a few winks.  I say almost everyone because of all of us, Pat was the one who stayed wide awake the whole time!  I had to laugh because Mulu kept asking her, with great concern, if she felt okay.  I think he thought she might not be able to keep up with us young folks since she was "older."  Hee hee.  She showed him though...even he fell asleep while she remained wide awake!  Later, Pat explained to me that she was a "senior" NOT "elderly!"  (Remember that!)
Amazing scenery!

The courtyard of our hotel

Well the next leg of our journey was about 2 hours and took us to the city of Awassa, where we would stay the night.  It is situated at the edge of a large lake, looks very tropical and green and has some amazing birds and other wildlife.  We made it to the hotel shortly before some dark, menacing clouds rolled in.  We got situated in our room and relaxed for a few minutes while we waited for the scheduled time to meet for dinner.  The courtyard was quite inviting (although it was small), however there was an armed guard patrolling it.  We weren't sure whether to feel safer or threatened?  I went on a mission to discover whether the hotel had computers and wifi since I had still not contacted Mitch to let him know we were safe.  Besides, I was anxious to tell him all about our visit with Joseph.  No luck.  There was wifi but no computers--had to use your own.  One of the other couples had an iphone and offered to let me send an email after dinner.
Then, at dinner, the thunderstorm really hit!  We had just ordered our meals when all the power went out.  Everyone started whipping out their cell phones and using the screens like flashlights.  Not to worry, though.  A generator started up within a few minutes and when our food came it was plenty hot. :)  But, when we tried to use Steve's iphone to email Mitch, the wifi was out.  Not much else I could do.  We went back to our room and got ready for bed.  Pat took the first shower and has a story to tell about that!  It was quite the shower, I have to say.  I found my little flashlight that Jack had loaned me (he received it for Christmas in his stocking and said I could use it on my trip.) and kept it handy since the lights kept going off and then on again.  It felt so hot and stuffy in our room, but there was no screen on our first floor window and we didn't feel comfortable leaving the window open to mosquitoes and who knows what else!  So we just peeled back the covers and used the sheets only.  I fell asleep quickly, but awoke at 1:15, tossed and turned until 2 and then finally got the flashlight out and read my book until 6, wide awake!  Maybe I just never switched from Oregon time?
Monday, March 7, 2011
Breakfast was early so that we could make a quick stop at the lake to view some scenery.  I got brave and ordered an Ethiopian breakfast called chachebsa.  It had the texture of spaetzle or gnocchi, was in bite-sized pieces, was lightly fried and had a mild paprika-flavored seasoning.  I enjoyed it!   And so did everyone else at the table 'cause then they all wanted to try it.  We had discovered that the Ethiopian-style "macchiato" was the coffee drink for us and so we all had some with breakfast.


Pat found a kitty!

Back on the road again, we headed for the lake, specifically to a resort on the lake.  As we approached, we began to notice more and more monkeys!  What fun!  The resort was very nice and looked like a popular place to vacation.  We just walked around and took some pictures.  Pat found a kitty to hold and pet--surprise, surprise!  Back in the van, we headed North again, toward Addis Ababa. 

We saw lots of camels!

 This time, though, we travelled along a highway that was East of our previous route and it took us through some terrain with more lakes and green fields.  As we approached Addis Ababa, the highway became more and more congested with  trucks and Mulu told us that route was frequently used for moving freight.  I was so thankful for Ciyun, our driver!  The rules of the road are quite different in Ethiopia than here.  It's something more like "possession is 90%..." 
But we made it safely back to the Jemimah Guesthouse and had a few hours to relax.  Our plan had been to meet with the other couples and  go out to a restaurant and cultural show.  But, I was by then quite anxious to contact Mitch, and so Pat and I decided to stay at the hotel and try again to email or call or something.  I did get to send a couple of emails and had told Mitch that I would be back online at a particular time so that we could i.m. but those darned thunderstorms rolled in again and knocked out the wifi.  Thank the Lord I was able to at least let him know we were okay! 
I layed down to rest at 7 p.m. and fell asleep so soundly that when I awoke 2 hours later, I couldn't believe it was still only 9 p.m.  I thought my alarm clock battery had malfunctioned or something.  So I traipsed downstairs to the lobby to find out what time it really was.  In the meantime, I could hear a very loud machine operating outside the hotel.  It sounded like  road construction or something.  Just as I approached the front desk, it occurred to me that it must be the generators again keeping the power on.  Sure enough!  I had to use earplugs to get back to sleep!  Well, if you could call it sleep...more tossing and turning and checking the clock to see if it was finally time to get up.  Big day ahead...our court hearing.

P.S. More pics below...after 1 1/2 hours of trying to move them around on this post--I give up!

Lake Awassa

Ethiopian traffic jam

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