Our first day in Ethiopia!!!

This is my second attempt to post to the blog.  Sorry guys.  My first try I waited 45 minutes for it to bring up yahoo.... then I gave up.  This time there was a French woman already online so I was like stalking her... saying whatever you do... don't sign out of yahoo when you're done PLEASE.  So after only a 25 minute wait, here I am.  I think it's 7:45pm ET time.  I can't sleep.  When we got to the airport we met up with Elaine Witter and her mom (also Elaine) and friend (Amanda).  Elaine is drop dead gorgeous guys!  I'm like, honey if I looked like you I would so have a blog to post lots of pics :)  She's very very sweet and we got along great immediately PLUS Susan Parr had managed to get us seats right next to each other!  The flight was LONG to say the LEAST.  We were fed 3 meals and all were quite impressive for air plane food.  If any of you are vegetarians I would let ET Airlines know b/c everything has some type of meat.  I also would stock up on water b/c we went through our 2 bottles on the plane really quickly and even though I kept requesting water constantly I still got a bag dehydration headache and did experience altitude sickness once we got to the hotel - yuck!  The plane was FULL and very close quarters.  If I had to do it again I would try to save more money to be able to afford buisness class seats just for comfort.  Everyone was very pleasant, I just have back and knee issues and from being so crammed up they were KILLING me.  We were delayed an hour leaving from Washington D.C.  So we woke up at 4am landed in Rome at 1am (their time of course) then sat there for an hour while they gased up, then landed in ET at 9:40am.  The weather is beautiful here.  They're not kidding about the temperature change.  During the day it's really warm, then like right now if you were to go outside you'd need to be bundled up... it's no wonder our kids always have colds here.   The weather is not health friendly.  Robel was late meeting us at the airport b/c I think they had just gotten back to the hotel with the Caldwell's when we landed so we did have to wait a little while but not bad.  Customs was a breeze, the Visa office was easy to find since someone had posted a pic of what the sign looked like.  There are NO instructions so luckily we have people who have gone before us who can tell us these things.  We waited about 8-10 minutes in the Visa line then just sped through the customs.  Robel is everything people say, very gregarious, and charismatic.... you immediately want to hang out with him.  Which I did while Michael was sleeping earlier today.  I tried to be spy girl and asked him lots of questions in a round-about way but honestly I don't think he knows too much - bummer.  He did tell me that he misses the oldest Wistrom boy a lot.  He said he was such a brilliant boy and will do amazingly well in the U.S.  So as we were driving up to the hotel I started to get dizzy but nothing major, I was so enamored with the city and just seeing free range donkeys and cattle just lazing their way across the road next to the hussle and bussle of the market place.  The juxtaposition was very impressive.  When we got to the hotel the Stagers were waiting to meet us and we unloaded our bags.  Everyone wanted to visit but I was feeling so faint I kind of had to be rude and excuse myself to I could check in to lay down.  We got in our room and I requested a safe, hot pot, and crib and w/in an hour and a half they were all brought up to us.  There were only 2 towels and 1 roll of toilet paper so luckily I'd brought one with me from the hotel in Washington b/c even though they will bring you more if you request they bring you only one of each thing. I asked for more toilet paper and towels and we got one of each :( -greedy American that I am.   So our room actually is 3 rooms, a bathroom with NO outlets (FYI) our bedroom with one outlet that works and luckily a full length mirror.  I need a mirror to blow dry my hair so fortunately they had a large moveable one.  And another sort of sitting room with TV and 3 couches and a fridge.  The converters barely give off any power.  My blow dryer took me like 3-4 x's as long to dry my hair as it does in the states so be prepared to wake up earlier.  The showers are great and don't run out of hot water!  The staff are wonderful and are very hardworking!  Everyone here that we've meet is a hard worker and are also very accomodating.  We couldn't sleep on the plane so we immediately fell asleep after a shower and a meal ( I had chicken curry and Michael had beef shishkabobs - both were better then what I expected)  2 Liters of water and one 1/2 liter were $4.50 US at the hotel FYI.  I immediately started chugging and I think just after being here for a while my body adjusted so I'm still a bit loopy but at least not sick.  Robel is going to pick us up tomorrow at 10am to go to church then we'll got to shops for water, etc. and to change our money.  He actually took some money from me today to change since I wasn't feeling well and will bring it back to me in the morning in birr.  The airport change rate is like 9.1birr to every US dollar but at the Addis View it's 10/1, Robel says the place he usually goes is like 10.2/1 so we'll see what kind of rate I can get.  Most of the entrees at the hotel are 45 birr or $4.50.  The fistula hospital is closed to the public on Sundays so I may try to go to the Ethnographic museum or to see the grand palace or go visit some of the historic orthodox churches.  I definitly want to do something to be out and about in the city.  Also bring snacks for on the plane.  It's a long flight and even though they feed you 3 meals you go long periods without and if you don't like what they have your stuck.  The bulk head bassinets are cool.  They are put right in front of you and you can literally reach out and touch/soothe the baby but also have room for your legs.  The hotel is loud b/c of where it is but honestly it didn't stop us from falling asleep yet but I can see how that would happen.  I think that's about it for now.  I just didn't want to forget to mention anything that I thought might be important.  Also once we got to the airport I went outside to shoot some video and you have to go through security again to be readmitted into the airport, not bad, just a hassle so if you walk through the exit doors  just be aware of that.  Zack Caldwell came down and needs the only working computer now.  I will have to post pictures later when there isn't a line.
love you guys



Kari said…
This is wonderful news that you are in Addis!! Keep guzzling the water like crazy!! Wish we were there with you, but please know we are praying for you!! Keep us updated!!
lots of love
alisa said…
yeah! Wonderful descriptions--I'm feeling less & less anxious about our own trip!!
Bruce Small said…
My wife is a Compassion International volunteer, and yesterday received a packet on a young man in Ethiopia who has been on the waiting list for a sponsor for a long time. I woke up at 1 am this morning, thought it over, and told Vicki I would like to sponsor him, so I am now doing blog searches to learn about Ethiopia. Your blog was the first I found, and was so pleased to see why you are in Ethiopia. Bless you.

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