Thursday, June 3, 2010
(thank you to Lindsay Christ for the fab photos of our arrival home!)
Wow. What a stinking long trip home! Addis to Dubai=4 hours. Slept for 3 hours, departed Dubai at 8:30am. Dubai to LAX=16 hours (UGH-longest 16 hours of my life!). Hung out for a few hours in LAX. We were flying standby to portland and expected to wait til late at night to catch a flight, but we miraculously made it onto an oversold flight with about 6 standby passengers listed ahead of us! Only God!! LAX to Portland=2 hours. Arrived home to a happy crowd of loved ones cheering and hugging us! It was amazing. God is so good.
And now, we're trying to settle in, and since I can't sleep (up since 3:15--what is it about 3am that is the magic wake up time when you're jet lagged???) and since I'm still processing Ethiopia, I will give some of you future traveling families a few suggestions.
It was recommended to me to take 2 pepto caplets before each meal, and at least one bottle of Coke a day to avoid gettting sick. We did this religiously and we made it all week without touching our Cipro or getting sick. Seemed to work like a charm! We also avoided meat on most occasions, unless we felt really good about where we were eating. And...if we didn't feel great about where we were eating but had to eat something to not offend, we took an extra dose of pepto after the meal also. Seemed to work great...however, this much pepto will turn your poop black. Just sayin'! It was worth it.
Another family mentioned that they took some of those Tuna Salad lunch kits, and I thought it was a good idea. I took 4 packs (2 cans of tuna/crackers each pack) and I wish I'd taken double that! It came with a little personal size can of tuna, crackers, and a light mayo and relish back and a little plastic tub to mix it in. Tuna is not my go-to food at home, but it tasted heavenly to us in Ethiopia. We also took some Trader Joe's Easy Mac and it also tasted really good to us! We stayed at BJoe Guest House, which was fantastic. They provided a tasty breakfast every day, which was our favorite meal of the day. We bought bottled water from the BJoe by the 6 pack for about $5 each. We went through one about every day and a half. We used them for drinking and baby bottles. (they are liter bottles). You can buy them at the supermarket nearby for about $3 a 6 pack, but it was easier to get a BJoe. We also bought some dry pasta mixes at the store (Knorr brand) but later realized that you needed milk to make it. We wished we'd brought some powdered milk from home because we just didn't really feel comfortable with our options there.We also wished we'd brought some chocolate from home. We really craved it while there, but every kind we tried was kind of strange. Lisa saved the day at the end of the week and shared some of her stash with us!
There are lots of restaurants close by on Bole Road, but honestly, we just didn't really dig the food there. There is lots of italian food, pasta, pizza, lasagna available, but you get tired of those quickly. there is also burgers and fries pretty available, but we were avoiding meat most of the time. A few of our fave restaurants were Rico's (VERY close to BJoe with really great soups and bread), a place called Pizzeria had good pizzas. Island Breeze was a place we ate at on our last day, and it was SO good! I think my favorite meal while we were there. It is sort of hawaiian ish. I had a great chicken burger that was soooo good. We also ate at a very american place that our driver took us to, called Rodeo Addis. It felt like we time warped to Texas! Good cheeseburgers and it felt very safe and "american". Also close to BJoe on Bole Rd. La Pariesienne had THE BEST macchiatos and chocolate croissants. BEST. I am wishing for a nice Ethiopian macchiato right now.....mmm. Also very close to BJoe. Tamoca was another great coffee shop, but kind of far away from the guest house. We bought all of our beans to bring home from there.
There was a great church bazaar on the weekend we were there (last weekend of the month) where we did almost all of our souvenir shopping. Tons of great handmade Ethiopian goods made by local NGO's. Great causes and great items! If you ask your drive about the Evangelical Church Bazaar, they will likely know what you're talking about.
Did I mention bring some tuna salad kits? Oh, I did. Well, it's worth mentioning again. Bring them.
It was muggy and pretty hot in Addis. I wished everyday I'd brought more lightweight cotton tops. Knits just felt clingy and hot.
There was a hairdryer in the room at BJoe, so that was nice.
I got eaten alive by mosquitos in Addis (thank goodness there isn't malaria there!) One of the drivers said, "oh yah, it's mosquito season here". I wished I would've brought insect repellant. I have a weird reaction to mosquitos though, the bites get HUGE on me and very itchy. So...30+bites later, I really wished for repellant in the evening/bed time.
We stayed in a downstairs room at BJoe, which I think was a little cooler than upstairs, but it felt pretty dark. We were in our room quite a bit, and it started to feel like a cave after awhile. After getting so many mosquito bites, I wished we'd brought a little fan for night time when we kept our windows closed to keep us cool and the air moving around a bit. It was stuffy with the windows closed, but it was the only way to keep the mosquitos out.
That's all I can think of for now. BJoe's is about 5 minutes from the Airport right off Bole Rd. It was very conveniently located to most food places and sightseeing. The Gladney care center was about 30-40 minutes away depending on traffic. You only have one scheduled visit there, so I wouldn't necessarily pick somewhere to stay based on being close to Gladney.
:) It was an amazing and hard week. I will write more about that later...