We arrived in Frankfurt the following morning, where we had the world's longest walk through an airport. We went up and down so many flights of stairs and escalators and walked down so many corridors that it felt like we were traveling the rest of the way to Ethiopia by foot! Finally, after yet another security checkpoint, we arrived at our gate.
We got to fly near Larisa, Greece, which I thought was pretty cool!
Our flight would have been largely uneventful, except for my idea in Khartoum. We lost quite a few passengers during the stop in Northern Sudan, and the plane wasn't very full at all. Rather than keeping the three of us stuffed into the middle seats, I suggested that David and Yikealo move to some empty window seats across from us. That way, Yikealo could look out the window and take photos of the African landscape, and more importantly, I could stretch out across the three middle seats and get a little sleep. It would've worked well, but for two important bits of information that I neglected to tell my dear husband. First, the extra SD cards for my camera were in a tiny pocket of the camera case. David had no idea that they were there, and needless to say, when we arrived at the Addis airport where I attempted to get a couple of photos, I noticed that my case was now without the extra 6 gigabytes of storage. I was down to one SD card for the week, which meant that my video taking ability was going to be somewhat limited! All for a few fuzzy pictures that Yikealo managed to get as we were taking off from Khartoum! Oh well, at least we have a photo of the Nile....sort of!
The other important bit of information that I neglected to share with David was that Yikealo has some pretty unmistakable signs when his bladder is starting to get full. Perhaps one of these days he'll actually start to notice them for himself, but for right now, he tends to rely on an adult asking, "Yikealo, do you need to go potty?" before realizing that he needs to avail himself of the nearest facilities. By the time Yikealo actually DOES realize on his own that he needs to go, he generally has about 30 seconds before there is an accident. You would think that a father would perhaps know the signals after almost three years, but when said father has his nose buried deeply in a book....well, let's just say, Yikealo wasn't reminded to go potty as we approached our destination. Shortly after the seatbelt signs were turned on, and the flight attendants were commanded to take their seats, Yikealo decided that he needed the restroom. He couldn't leave his seat, and the flight was very bumpy as we flew over the mountains. He was sitting across the aisle from me (beside his increasingly frantic Daddy), clenching his legs together and holding a paper bag up to his face. I could hear David whispering pleadingly, "Honey, we've just got 10 more minutes...you can make it that long, can't you?" to which Y would reply, "But Dad, what if I can't?!" When we finally landed, we came down really hard, and Y actually started crying. Ah yes, and then we started the long taxi to the gate. I finally threw over my water bottle...and well....thank goodness for little boys and their outdoor plumbing! :-) Disaster averted!
Having our visas was wonderful, and we breezed right through customs. Then it was on to baggage collection, where we were pleased to discover that all of our luggage had made it. Getting everything through security, however, was a different story. We sent it through the x-ray machine, and reloaded everything onto our cart. Just as we started moving off, a lady stopped us and asked what was in our bags. We told her they were full of donations for an orphanage. She insisted on us handing over the bags, and then she started to unload them all....taking out all of the clothing, baby oil, flax seed, diapers, etc and piling them all on a table. Three other women came over and started questioning us, asking the same questions over and over. I handed over an explanation letter given to us by our caseworker, but it wasn't making a difference. I was SO tired, and I was starting to feel rather frantic. What if they didn't let us through? What if they confiscated all of the donations that everyone had given us? I started praying. Finally, a man came over and asked what was going on. The women rattled something in Amharic, and after looking quickly at the letter we had given, the man impatiently waved them away. As the last of the women moved on, she motioned at the pile of stuff she had unloaded from our bags and said, "You're free to go."
After repacking, we eventually made it outside the secure area, where we found a driver from our hotel holding up a sign with our names on it. We followed him out into the rainy, spice-scented evening, where we bought a pack of gum from a little girl with sad eyes. There was crazy traffic everywhere and the continual cacophony of car horns. Ah yes...the sights, sounds and smells of Addis! The drive to our hotel was relatively short, and soon we were carrying luggage up to the room that would be our home for a few days.