Sunday, August 21, 2011
Journaling our Ethiopia Trip - Day 3
We woke up in Dubai, ate a quick breakfast (the only meal I'd actually recommend at the hotel Emirates puts you up in for the night) and caught the shuttle to the airport with what we thought was plenty of time.
However, we underestimated the crowds and crazy in the Dubai airport, even early on a Sunday morning! We got through security okay, but made the mistake of stopping at a duty-free shop to buy some bottled water. The lines were really long and the guy in front of us was buying, no joke, about 200 individual bars of soap. I have no idea where he was from or where he was flying to, but apparently it was the land of no soap, ever! Or perhaps the land of really, really expensive soap. Whatever the reason, this guy was stocking up!! I wish I'd gotten a picture of the conveyor belt with all his soap stacked up on it!
Once we finally got the water, we still wanted to exchange our remaining Dubai money for U.S. dollars. We had exchanged $200 US dollars the day before, turning it into Dubai money at our hotel. We used that money to take a cab into downtown and back, buy water & shaving cream. When we exchanged our remaining Dubai money back into USD, we got $230. Thirty dollars more than what we'd started with! Not exactly sure how we made money on the Dubai exchange rate, but we think the exchange place at the hotel must have made a mistake.
We still thought it was no problem to make our flight at this point, but then we started walking and saw signs that said it was a 20 minute walk to the ranges of gates where our flight was leaving from! What? How can it be a 20 minute walk all within the same terminal? And if that 20 minutes is for the average person, considering we have 2 children with us who are carrying backpacks, surely we are going to be slower than average! Suddenly we began worrying we'd not make it, so my husband scooped up our 5 year old and we raced to our gate, huffing and puffing. We made it right as they were making the final boarding call!
We landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia around 10:30am, got our VISAs, collected our bags, and got through customs without any problems.
We met up with our driver, Biruk. Then my daughter had to go the bathroom, so we had our 1st Ethiopian restroom experience. My 5 year old said it smelled like "wet dog". She was right, then she asked, "IS there a wet dog in here?" There are certainly worse things for a public restroom to smell like, it was just hilarious how convinced she was that surely a dog must be in there! Thankfully I'd been forewarned about many Ethiopian restrooms lacking toilet paper and packed tons of little packets of Kleenex -- we needed them throughout our trip!
Our guest house, BJoe's, was just a short ride from the airport. Once there we met 3 other couples also adopting with our same agency and with court dates the same as ours. We loved getting to know the families throughout the week!
We went to lunch at Antica and ate brick-oven pizza -- my kids declared it the best pizza ever! Then we unpacked and rested a bit at our guesthouse before going to dinner at Garden Paradise where the food was just okay but the ambiance was nice.
We had told the kids at home that it wasn't safe to drink water from the faucet in Ethiopia and while settling in at our guesthouse, we reiterated the concept. My husband said, "The water's like poison, if you drink it, it could make you sick." And we set up a hand sanitizer pump bottle right next to the sink and said, "After you wash your hands in the water, use the hand sanitizer to get off any of the germs from the water."
All that was fine, until, fast-forward about 6 hours later when I was ready to help my 5 year old shower. I ran the water, got her undressed, checked the water temp, and then lifted her into the shower. She immediately freaked out and jumped right out of the tub! I was showering her in poison!!!!!!
It took a lot of convincing to get her back in that shower - "I won't get your face wet, keep your mouth closed, trust me, it's going to be fine!"
So, perhaps the poison analogy was a bit too dramatic?
I fell asleep easily that night and woke up thinking surely it must be just about morning. Nope! 2 am! I'm not really sure I slept much more after that, tossing and turning, anxious and so very excited to meet our new daughter later that morning!!