But let me back up, because I must say a couple of things about the journey here. My, what a travel experience! I mean, it was uneventful for the most part. Following a short flight to Seattle, and an 11-hour flight to Frankfurt, we found ourselves on an approximately four hour layover in Frankfurt. We spent the first two walking because we were desperate for it. Then we started to hit a wall, found our terminal and took a short, fitful nap across the chairs in the waiting area. Then we got on our seven hour flight to Addis. When we arrived we had to purchase an entrance visa for $20. In the line for the visa we met Rachel from Florida who had come to pick up a four year old girl to join her family through CHI, another agency.
Fortunately my email correspondence with our hotel’s manager prior to departure had worked, and there was a driver with a King’s Hotel sign as we walked out of the security area. We stepped out into a very pleasant evening, it was about 9:45pm and maybe 65 degrees. We followed our driver to a surprisingly large bus with the hotel logo on it, and drove for ten minutes or so through the city to the hotel.
The King’s hotel is, well, a hotel in a third world country. It has everything we need and at $50/night (which is expensive here) including a hot breakfast buffet, it’s the right price. But the walls and carpets are filthy, the bathroom smells of sewer, one can barely fit into the tiny circular shower. All that said, we have a door that locks, a comfortable bed with sheets that seem relatively clean, and hot water. Oh, and a towel to share, and a bar of soap. After unloading we went down to the restaurant and were delighted with the food. They have rice, which Charles can survive on in the worst of circumstances, and we ordered a delicious, spicy mixed kebab. The people are beautiful and gentle and friendly…very endearing.
We got a good night’s sleep the first night, and woke up to the bright sunshine ready to start our adventure.
Breakfast was great. There was a large group of several people who were clearly together, and I overheard ‘Spokane’ more than once, and heard one man mention the silver mine in Wallace, Idaho, not far from where we live. Curiosity got the better of me and I introduced myself, told them we were from Sandpoint, and asked about them. The whole group was from Spokane, and they are here doing mission work through two churches. They are helping create sustainable businesses here, teaching men to fish, so to speak. What are the chances of our first encounter with other hotel guests in Ethiopia being people from Spokane? They all were from the two churches, but of course from different walks of life. One man works for Purple Turtle, a software company in Spokane that we are familiar with through software circles. It is a small, small world!