Aidan Birhanu Miller Robinson

Friday, March 18, 2011

First trip to Ethiopia (day 3)...

So, the third day found us waking up EARLY. We never did catch up on our sleep while we were there. For the most part, we slept 3-4 hours each night and then tried to catnap during the day for about an hour. Funny, I was never really tired. I think the excitement of meeting Aidan and our court date fueled me on.

Holt did an exceptional job of putting us up at very nice hotels. Both the Jemimah Guesthouse and Awassa Hotel were lovely to stay at and VERY clean. The beds were a bit hard, but that's just the difference in cultures and preferences. The two years that Liam and I lived in Korea we got used to hard beds. The staff at both hotels were wonderful at trying to prepare us western style food if requested and were so friendly. If you're ever planning a trip to Ethiopia, I highly recommend both places.

Here's a few photos of the outside of Awassa Hotel. I forgot to take any of the room.

Mulu, Liam and I. Mulu is an amazing social worker and doing such wonderful things in and for his country and people. It's so inspirational being among people that care so much for the poor and destitute, especially when they are children.

We had agreed to meet around 7am again (gotta love early mornings) for breakfast. Getting ready that morning was a bit more tricky as the electricity kept going out and I didn't have the right converter for my hairdryer. Oh well.

We ate again at the hotel restaurant. I had the BEST egg sandwich and tried a mocciato for the first time. It was pretty good, but again, I'm not much of a coffeee drinker so Liam finished it for me. Here's a picture that Liam took of Mulu and I at breakfast. Notice all of the bottled water. :)

After breakfast, we boarded the van for the 5 hour drive back to Addis. Before we left Awassa though, we stopped off at Awassa Lake and resort and took some pictures. While we were there we found a cute gift shop, so Liam and I purchased our first suveniers of the trip; a traditional Ethiopian guitar and drum for Aidan and a picture of various Ethiopian instruments. At the bottom, it reads "remembering" in Amharic and then at the top it reads "Ethiopia"...Remembering Ethiopia. We thought that would be poinant for Aidan's room.

Monkeys that we saw outside of the resort/lake area. Liam only took pictures of them in solitude, but we also saw pretty large colonies running around. I think our Ethiopian friends thought we were a bit funny getting so excited about seeing monkeys running around in the middle of the city. :)

The next few pictures are taken at the lake/resort area.

And finally, Liam with some American military guys that are stationed at the Awassa resort in Ethiopia. Leave it to Liam to go as far away as Ethiopia and still find fellow soldiers.

So, once we were finished at the resort, we made our way through Awassa.

A picture of the oldest church in Awassa, though the name of it escapes me at the moment.

Taxis were everywhere. Can you see the steeple of the church in the background?

As we were driving away from the church, we saw a large fence with posters depicting the different tribes of Ethiopia. There are over 80 different tribes present in this wonderful country. Aidan's tribe is Kembata. Great warriors, we were told.

Our friends that joined us on the trip had children from the Wolyta (or Wolaita) tribe.

Throughout Awassa were the largest birds that I have ever seen in my life. They were the stuff of children's nightmares really. One swooped down near our van and I pictured a scene from The Wizard of Oz when the flying monkeys took off with Dorothy. They resembled dinosaurs. I kid you not. Too bad that we only got them perched in a tree and not in full flight. I know they may look like ordinary cranes, but I've seen cranes, and these were not! Maybe prehistoric cranes!!!!

And finally some pictures of our journey back to Addis. The landscape is breathtaking at times and unfortunately, no picture can do justice to it. I will cherish my time in Ethiopia with its history, landscape and wonderful people as long as I live. I'm so excited that we'll be back there in a couple of months!

And finally...

We arrived back in Addis and the Jemimah Guesthouse at around 3 or 4 pm. Liam and I were pretty exhausted, so we took a 3 hour nap and then went out to eat with the Andersons at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant. It was so yummy!

At first, we were a bit disappointed, because the restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived around 6:30. I think Ethiopians eat later than we do, because around 7-7:30 everyone started to arrive. Before long, the restaurant was full.

They had a musical group that was playing traditional Ethiopian music and then several dancers that danced the different dances of the tribes throughout Ethiopia. It was such a wonderful experience.

While we were there, it started to rain. Our driver came to get us and the staff at the hotel held umbrellas over our heads until we made it into our vehicle. Talk about royal treatment. I think I'm going to start requesting that at every restaurant that I go to from now on. :)

We had a busy day ahead of us the next day with the Holt orientation, court, our birth parent meeting and shopping. Not to mention, our airline flight at 11pm. I'll write more about the whirlwind of March 8th in my next post...

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