Praises to God! I’ve arrived in Ethiopia safe and at peace. Everything went so well getting here, I have to start off by giving thanks.
Having someone meet you at the airport is one of the best parts about arriving anywhere. After flying for over 20 hours, going through several security checkpoints, getting your visa, hoping your baggage hasn’t been lost as you wait, changing money and trying not to draw too much attention to your tourist self, having someone meet you on the other side allows your body and mind to exhale; at this point of your journey someone is there to take care of you. When I saw Yonas carrying a sign that said my name, I let out a thankful sigh; I hadn’t been sure if anyone would be there. I smiled and said , “That’s me.”
So many other things went swimmingly smooth on my journey to Ethiopia:
- Uncle Ken drove me to the airport and got me there in plenty of time to check in.
- I had no problems checking in and my bag was checked straight to Addis- love that.
- My bag was underweight- perfect.
- There were little to no line-ups at the Ottawa and Montreal airports- if there were, they didn’t bother me as they moved along at a reasonable pace.
- My flights were nicely lined up with just the right amount of waiting times in between to grab a white hot chocolate, take a semi-uncomfortable nap, look for my Amharic book and get to my next gate (Compare this to my trip to Rwanda where I had a flight from Halifax to London and from Kenya to Rwanda but no flight from London to Kenya)
- In Frankfurt I found an Ethiopian Amharic book. I had searched for one in four other airport shops and none had them. This one I had found was the only one on the shelf. It was meant to be.
- I got my visa on arrival in Addis, $20US, no scary interrogation, no problem
- I didn’t have to explain why I had two computers as I had been warned I might. One is for work- writing and editing- the other is for play: music, movies, personal writing, solitaire on solitary nights… It’s pretty straightforward but who likes feeling like they have to explain themselves at the border?
- Though it took a little while to slide down the conveyor belt, my suitcase arrived and arrived intact. Having to track down a lost suitcases has happened too often to people I know.
- Matt arranged for Yonas to meet me at the airport and for me to stay the first night at Desalegn Hotel
- The hotel I’m staying at is nice. Lovely silky silver and white window drapings, tv with a respectable number of channels including BBC, a mini fridge and no bugs!
- I didn’t lose anything on the way here between my two carry ones fanny pack and purse and maneuvering through four major airports.
- I “borrowed” a blanket from Lufthansa- I anticipate it will be a frequent companion on cool nights.
Look at that list. That’s a lot of things that went right or on the flip side, could have gone wrong. This could have induced a lot of stress. Things can’t go right all the time I know but they did over the last two days and I’m noting each one and am thankful.
The only thing that hasn’t gone quite right is that the internet in my room isn’t working. I’m sure husby and family are eager to hear if I’ve arrived. I hope they’re not too worried and are accounting my silence to the not so accessible state of internet access when travelling. Tomorrow I’m off to the office and will connect to internet there. I’ll also get my first real glimpse of Ethiopia during the day.