Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Tuesday: A typical journey to Addis

First last breakfast at the Ghion hotel overlooking the lake – nice. Then back to the apartment where I spent a good two hours sorting my luggage. Incredibly, after discarding some stuff, giving some to Judith and using the vacuum bags to squash the air out of clothes, I had done it, although a bit over weight (later I found I the total was 46kg – I need to be 40kg for the international flight)

I then went for a last walk around the lake, stopping at a posh hotel for an egg sandwich lunch (26ETB instead of a usual 6ETB!) but I sat in the garden overlooking the lake, so didn’t mind.

Back to the apartment for a rest, then out for another last meal and lake overlook: Dinner at the Ghion.

Then, the slightly odd stomach feeling I had had in the afternoon drew towards a “wombat’s leaving the cave” scenario. I had no choice but to crouch over the urine-soaked seat of the hotel toilet and download. (It’s at times like this, you wish it was a hole-in-the-ground toilet – Much more comfortable crouching right down and you feel like you empty out better like this (as nature intended) anyway – but no such luck. Back at the table, I quickly finished my pudding pancake and fast-walked back to the apartment, just in time for a second broadband download (with 30mins until the taxi arrived to take me to the airport.)

I had had two Imodium at the hotel and hope this would stop any repeats.

So, taxi to the airport and then, for the next 30minutes, at least, my carefully-packed bags were gone through by the airport security having seen too many electronic devices, batteries and wires for their liking. At one point my keys went missing. I later spotted them stuck under the conveyor belt leading to the X-ray scanner and it took a small-handed woman to get them out.

Finally packed again, I checked in, having to go upstairs to an office to pay the expected excess baggage (internal flights only allow 20kg, but the excess is only 5ETB per Kg.) Then someone asked me to go to the scanning area and I fully expected to go through the whole unpacking-process again at this next scanning stage. (The first one had been to get into the airport; this one was for the luggage to get on the plane.) Luckily they spoke to the guy at the airport entrance and I didn’t have to go through it again.

Next, to wait for the flight: 10pm departure. My stomach was feeling a bit dodgy again, so I checked the instruction leaflet and ended up having another Imodium. Then the announcement came about the 30 minute delay – the incoming plane hadn’t arrived.

Now this is another “look on the bright-side” situation (see yesterday’s entry.) At 10pm I was forced to visit the airport toilets and have a third download. Now if the plane had been on time, this would’ve been a tricky operation during take-off, so maybe it was a good thing the flight was delayed. Of course the 30 minutes turned into an hour by the time we actually left the ground and we finally got to Addis at 23:40 (on a fast jet – it used to be a prop plane, but apparently they are servicing this old fleet and running one jet a day instead of three prop flights.)

My luggage came quickly, and I had arranged a taxi to take me to the hotel which we arrived at around 00:30. No power in this district in Addis, and they turn the generator off at midnight, so scrabbling around for a torch, I got to my room and finally to sleep around 01:00. (Thankfully, there were no more downloading activities during the night.)

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