On our last day in Addis, we attempted to spend some time sightseeing. Mainly, we wanted to see the Addis Ababa University Museum.
|Outside the Addis Ababa University Museum|
|Big sister and S. posing by exhibit|
|S. screamed when he saw the lion!|
|Still a little scary, even if it's stuffed!|
|Outside the museum|
As quickly as you were able to view the above photos is about the speed at which we went through the entire museum! S. was way too excited to pay any attention to ancient artifacts and historical displays. He was running full-speed through the main room--- I was quite concerned that he was going to jump into one of the open exhibits! So... our best laid plans took a bit of a detour. I think the museum tour lasted about 20 minutes. Good thing it only cost 150 birr. Our driver was rather shocked when we appeared at the mini-bus, ready to go. S. told him that he really didn't like all this driving around; he just wanted to go home. The boy knows what he wants.
In effort to avoid an immediate return to the guest house, our driver took us to a wonderful Italian pastry shop. It was a little dicey finding a parking spot here--- and equally dicey maneuvering across a very busy street with no pedestrian crossings and plenty of pushy street vendors trying to gain our attention. This was probably the one time big sister felt a bit uncomfortable; she does not like being surrounded by strangers. I grabbed her hand and pulled her next to me, just like I did S. He didn't like it, either.
Once across the street, we walked into a pleasant little shop that could have been in Europe. Flower vendors sat outside the entrance, greeting us with kind smiles as we entered. This is a very busy little shop, and it has been open everyday since the Italian occupation of Ethiopia; it has remained a popular place to enjoy miniature cream puffs and various other goodies. Considering no desserts exist in traditional Ethiopian cuisine, this establishment has enjoyed much success! The pastries are only made twice a day, and the locals have figured out when the pastries come out of the oven. People wait in line for their treats, enjoy a plate there... and then take a pink box home with them. S. happily tried everything put in front of him; he liked most of the items, with the exception of the creamy custard filling in the cream puff. I was a little leery of eating dairy products in Ethiopia, but figured the custard had been boiled. No problem. No sickies.
After the pastry shop, we had delicious buna at Kaffa Coffee House. I had my first Ethiopian macchiato; it was delightful! This store was also jammed full of people, both local people and tourists. The shop was about the size of a small Starbuck's, and had multiple tables where people stood to enjoy their buna. We also purchased some coffee to take home. Now that I've opened the coffee and brewed it at home, I so wish I had bought a lot more of it! It is simply the best coffee I've ever had.
After buna, we headed back to the Ethio-Comfort to pack our belongings and spend time with Tsebay and her family. It is always so hard to leave friends. I think it's easier to be the one leaving.
Our flight left Addis Ababa on Friday night at 10:15 p.m. We took the advice of our travel agent and did arrive 3 hours early at the airport--- this was a good move. Friday was the kick off of an Ethiopian holiday, so the airport was absolutely jammed full of travelers and families picking up travelers. Due to a recent change in airport security, drivers and families must wait for passengers in the parking lot. Thus, the parking lot is not only full of cars, mini-buses, and people, but apparently also pick-pockets, too. Our driver warned us not to exit the car until he brought over a person to help us with our bags. He also instructed us to stay close to the valet and put our purses over our necks and close to our bodies. We had no problems, but were very thankful that we got the the airport so early.
When you enter the airport, you wait in line and have your bags screened. Security has opened my bags every time we've traveled; they always find some metal object in the luggage. Next, you to the ticket counter and wait in another long line. Use this time to fill out your customs exit form. After leaving your baggage and obtaining your boarding passes, you walk through customs and have your passport stamped. After that, you head to another screening at the gate. Moral of the story: give yourself at least two and half hours minimum to get through all of this. It takes forever!
The plane ride home was sweetly uneventful. Thankfully, I do not have any post traumatic stress issues from the infamous Christmas Day Underwear Bomber episode we had the last time we were bringing home kids from Ethiopia. Thank you, Lord.
The scariest thing for S. was the flushing toilet. Unfortunately, S. was sitting on the toilet and reached back and accidentally hit the flush button. The poor kid freaked out--- a serious freak out--. He jumped off the seat and hit the bathroom door, yelling and crying. Poor guy. After that, he insisted on leaving the bathroom before I flushed the potty.
Oh, one word of advice: make sure you have some diarrhea medication in your carry on. Thankfully, S. could swallow the tablets. It could have been a very long and sticky flight.
To pass the time, S. used the bathroom every hour or so and hit every button on the interactive screen in front of him. The child did not watch one movie or television show for longer than about 3 minutes; he also didn't listen to any musical choice for longer than 5 minutes. I can't believe the T.V. screen kept him busy for most of the trip home. He tried every meal placed in front of him, but usually only wanted the sega (meat). He only slept about 2 hours total, until right before we boarded the plane in Washington, D.C. to head home. He slept the entire last 6 hours of the trip. Such a welcome relief!
We arrived in Phoenix a bit after 8:00 p.m. S. was so excited to meet his new daddy and all of his brothers and sisters. He gave everyone a big hug, with the exception of the dogs. Initially, he was fearful of the dogs; within a week, he thinks they're the greatest ever!
Our little guy stayed up until about 12:30 a.m., and then managed to settle in for a short night's sleep. He got up by 3:30 a.m. So did I. So did big sis. It would be a long few days... darned jet lag!