We have arrived safely in Ethiopia, after a very long day flying. We woke up at 3.30am to get ready for the taxi to pick us up!! Although if it hadn't been for LMS and her alarm we might not have got up at all, as Mr Messy had set the alarm for Mon - Fri, and of course it was Saturday!! We had to shoehorn Drama Teen out of bed, and at one point I was convinced we would be going without her she took that long! But eventually we were all ready and the taxi arrived. It took quite a few minutes for the taxi driver and Mr Messy to load all our luggage (three large cardboard boxes and three large suitcases!!) and then we were off!! The drive to the airport was pretty quick, LMS's American Boyfriend rang up to speak to her while we were on the way,and he spoke to Drama Teen too, as she was pretty upset about not seeing her own Boyfriend for the next three weeks.
We went straight to the check in queue, well the queue for those that had already checked in online (which we had). Although checking in online was a trail in itself!! But our fab Travel Agent fixed the problem for us :-) We must have looked a right sight with all our suitcases and boxes, I'm sure the people going on ordinary holidays wondered what on earth we were packing!! We were also worried that the airline wouldn't accept our boxes, but they didn't even question what was in them and just told us to take them over to the "large luggage" drop off. It was that simple!!!
The first flight to Amsterdam was quite full, the only empty seat I could see was next to Mr Messy (which should have been LMS's seat but Little Prince had persuaded her to sit next to him). I sat next to Drama Teen who was very quiet and subdued throughout the flight, she said she was just tired, but I think she was also missing her boyfriend and dreading the thought of being away from him for so long. We didn't have long to wait in Amsterdam airport, so we made our way to our respective gates. Little Prince was very unhappy at saying goodby to LMS, when she went one way and we went another. We found somewhere to sit near our gate, and Little Prince soon found someone to run around and play cars with. Another little boy decided he wanted to play on Drama Teens Nintendo DS, rather than his own. I think he was a very indulged only child, as his Dad went to get him a McDonalds, and then proceeded to hand feed him as he refused to stop playing on the DS!! When it was time for us to join the check in queue, he tried to keep the Nintendo too!! And he must have been 8 or 9!! I also got chatting to a Canandian group of women who were going to Ethiopia for a wedding, and they taught me some Ethiopian too (although I can't remember it any more!).
During the flight Drama Teen refused to eat, so she ended up feeling ill and out of sorts. We had to insist that she had a drink of apple juice everytime the flight attendants came round, or she wouldn't have drunk anything either. Little Prince tried most of the food brought out and found enough that he liked so that he didn't suffer like Drama Teen. And as usual on a flight, he watched a film, ate his meal, played with some of his toys and then fell asleep :-) Which can't be said for most of the rest of the children on the flight, who seemed to take it in turns to scream, so that there was always at least one screaming child at any one point!!
We had a stopover in Khartoum, just like when I travelled with Baby Sis, where we had to stay on the plane and wait. Little Prince and some of the other kids had a great time running up and down the aisles and chasing each other. They weren't very happy to be strapped back into their chairs for take off, and the screaming increased!! Across the aisle from Little Prince was a two year old Canadian Ethiopian girl who he had great fun playing peekaboo with. He was amazed that she liked this game and him :-) He doesn't have much experience, well none at all actually, with younger kids so it was perfect timing :-) He shared the plastic skeleton out of his Scooby Doo lucky bag, although he did keep checking that he would get it back!!
The landing at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa was very smooth, which was a relief after the bumpy touchdown in Khartoum!! There was even a spontaneous round of applause for the Pilot from the passengers!! We got off the plane pretty quickly, so were near the front of the queue for the Ethiopian Entry Visa, which was great for keeping Little Prince calm about the whole process. After hours and hours sat down on a plane he was itching to run about, whilst also being tired and grumpy, not a good combination!! We had a longer queue at Customs, but we were behind Little Prince's new friend so it wasn't too bad. Once through Customs we collected our luggage loaded onto two trolleys and made our way out of the airport. We weren't stopped to have our luggage checked against our receipts stuck to our passport this time, which surprised me. But we were stopped almost at the exit from the arrivals hall, and the Customs officials asked us what we had in the boxes and suitcases. When we told them clothes for an orphanage in the boxes they insisted on opening and checking one of the boxes, which seemed to satisfy them. We fibbed and told them the exercise trampoline we had brought for the Guest House owner was for the children too, which involved much pointing to the picture on the outside of the box and bouncing up and down to demonstrate!! Eventually they were satisfied and we were allowed to go. We had landed three quarters of an hour early, so the Guest House taxi wasn't there waiting for us. After waiting for what seemed like ages, Mr Messy texted the Guest House owner to let her know we were already here and waiting and within twenty minutes or so the driver arrived. Again it took an expert at tetris to get all of us and all our luggage into the van, but we managed and drove the five minutes or so to the Guest House. Little Prince and Drama Teen loved the drive and thought everything they saw was wonderful. At the Guest House we chatted to Helen the Guest House owner for a while before getting off to bed and some much needed sleep.
Sunday morning we were woken at 7am by an excited Little Prince!! I unpacked all the suitcases before we all went down for breakfast. All of us except Drama Teen who stayed in bed as long as she possibly could. We had a lazy morning at the Guest House, well we were lazy and Little Prince ran round playing football with any of the Guest House staff who would co-operate!! Then we went out for a walk to Kaldi's for some lunch and then a quick trip to the nearby supermarket, to get some milk formula so we don't have to change New Child's milk and can keep her on the Ethiopian formula she is used to. We also got Drama Teen some apple juice, which will stop me panicking so much about her not eating/drinking!! Little Prince was too hot and fed up so we brought him back to the Guest House to have a run round and play. I've written this blog on Mr Messy's laptop and he and Drama Teen are walking over to the Lime Tree Cafe which has free internet connections to send it. And also to let the pining Drama Teen contact her boyfriend!!!
We've heard from LMS and she has arrived safely in America and is enjoying her time with her boyfriend. Although she said it was 3am when she got her Dad's text, so she'd get in touch when she'd woken up lol.