It took me a while to post this because I did not want the adventure to end. Of course, it will never end in my heart and mind. Nevertheless, this last post about my three week adventure brings a feeling of termination I have apparently attempted to avoid. I spent the last few days of my trip, staying with my friend’s parents in Adama. They took me on the wonderful adventure described in my last Ethiopian post, the day trip to Awash National Park. Later, we went shopping for gold, silver, and textiles, ate, wandered around, visited, relaxed. We listened to the Muslim call to prayer and the Ethiopian Orthodox chanting. One day I heard another voice over the loud speakers and asked, “What is this one?” The Pentecostals competing–three types of churches all on loud speakers, calling people to worship. Because at least two of them start before dawn, it kept my friends up. By this time in the trip, I had earned to sleep through it all.
I like the climate in Adama, especially after being cold for most of the first half of the trip. It seemed I could put on multiple layers and still shiver. Adama is nice and warm, hot, but not too hot. Flowers and tropical fruits thrive as in the photos below–my friend’s mother’s lush garden and her elegant table.
The plates are an Ethiopian design apparently only available there–Ethiopian figures in a circle. Even breakfast is a work of art.
The neighbor’s grape arbor amazed me. I have never seen anything like it.
Zoning remains unheard of here. Next to a new, well built, modern house where one or two families may live is a place like this or the one on the other side of my friend’s parents’ house where both cows and no one knew exactly how many people live.
In the dark space in the middle of the above photo live two cows–if they have not been slaughtered by now. From this vantage point I could see a minaret, a modern wind farm on the far hill, cows, goats, an empty lot, a luxurious looking house being built on the other side of this adjoining lot, everything from the most modern to the ancient. Every bedroom possessed its own little patio. The photo below shows the view from mine.
So we would not have to make a mad rush to get me to the airport through Addis traffic, we went back to Addis the day before my flight out. I took a few photos from the front of the Addis airport before I left.
Due to the kindness of a complete stranger, I made my flight. When I was about to go through the passport line, I discovered I had my friend’s passport which meant she had mine. In Bahir Dahr, we had to show our passports to the hotel before getting keys for our rooms. Apparently, the young man switched them when he gave them back to us. We took them and put them away without looking. My phone did not work in Ethiopia. I experienced a major panic. I had my Ethiopian friend’s phone number but no phone. I explained to the guy checking passports the problem. The man standing in line next to me heard and offered his phone. He actually got out of line to help me. I did not recognize his accent and have no idea his country. He called the number for me. The call failed to go through. He waited, tried again. Eventually, it all worked out and I made my flight, all due to this man’s patience and kindness. When I finally made it inside the airport, several people who had heard the problem actually came up to me and told me they were worried I might not make it. I knew none of them; yet they cared.
With a six hour layover in Dubai, I had a lot of time to wander, drink coffee, explore the airport, which is huge, really huge. I bought some perfume–Muslim perfume with no alcohol in it. I like it so much, I will have to figure out how and where to order it when it runs out. Many of this airport’s shops are opulent. People stood in line to buy gold, high end cosmetics, designer everything. It is cosmopolitan, clean, efficient, fancy, welcoming.
In this airport, I saw one of the women who was relieved to see me inside the airport at Addis after my passport scare. She unfortunately experienced a frightening incident during the flight and they had to give her oxygen. We chatted, she seemed fine finally. As I write this, what do I remember most of those last 36 hours of the trip: the kindness and concern of total strangers.