I slept well my first night in Ethiopia. I think it really helped to divide up the trip with layovers in New York and Dubai. Liam said that he woke up about every 2 hours, but for the most part he slept well too. Part of the issue is that Ethiopian beds are EXTREMELY hard. We were kind of used to this because Korean beds are similar in that they don't give very much. However, Ethiopian beds don't give AT ALL. It's like sleeping on a hard wood floor with a rug on top.
I ate a bit of breakfast and then since we were up so early, we got a fresh start on the day. We didn't get to adventure out of the guesthouse on our last trip (mainly because we had spent most of our time traveling south to the Durame), so this time Liam and I decided to walk around Addis a bit to "see what we could see".
Addis is very safe, but the one thing that you have to worry about is panhandlers and pick-pocketing. It's understandable in a third-world country, and honestly, the little children that approach you for money, break my heart. It's dangerous, however, to give them any, because a few children crowded around can quickly escalate into a mob situation.
We visited the largest church in Africa, an Eastern Orthadox Cathedral. We were able to take pictures and tour the inside. It was awe-inspiring. I don't know about you, but I love old churches. This one was only about 6 years old, but the feel of it was old. The stain glass windows showed scenes depicting Christ's life and several of the painting were of the disciples and stories from the Old Testament. Up front there was an altar that led to a room of the back that was called the "Holy of Holies". Only the priests were allowed in the room. The scenes above the alter were that of Christ's birth, the Holy Trinity, and Christ's transfiguration and ascension into heaven.
After our tour- our guide turned out to be a runner, so as you can imagine, he and Liam had quite a bit to talk about- we found a little shopping center to browse around. We wanted to visit the National Museum, and since we had no idea where it was, we flagged down a cab.
The National Museum of Ethiopia is quite large (about 4 stories) and it's biggest boast is that it contains the skeleton of Lucy- the oldest "person" whose remains have been uncovered. She's estimated to be around 3.3 million years old. The rest of the museum was interesting too. Ethiopians are very proud of their history, mainly that of prehistoric times.
Terry, our cab driver, had waited for us while we were in the museum. He next took us to do some shopping.
The first place was in a traditional Ethiopian market with little huts housing goods of all kinds, especially Ethiopian clothing. I bought my nephew and nieces all traditional outfits. It's hard to choose, because their are no sizes, so you have to guesstimate how big or little you need to buy. I know the one that I bought Ava is too big, but that was the smallest they had. After getting it back to our hotel, I think Ella's might be too small. So, I hoping that at least Jake's is the right size.
After, we went to the Friendship Center which is their equivalency of a shopping mall. We just browsed the stores, but didn't buy anything.
We had Terry return us to our hotel, ate dinner- where we met Jennifer and Aaron who are here for court, and just "laid-low" a bit.
I thought I'd get some sleep, so I laid down at around 4:30pm and my 2 hour catnap turned into 5 hours. I woke at 9:30pm and was up until 4:30am and slept until 8:30am. I had been so proud of myself that I had accustomed myself to Ethiopian time, but clearly I was wrong.
We met SEVERAL families here for court in the morning and planned an impromptu lunch and shopping get together. Since Liam and I had already experienced Ethiopia we gave several suggestions for things to do. Liam had also made plans to meet with an Ethiopian man that ran track and field for Liam's old coach in Ireland. After asking the front desk to make arrangements for a taxi, all 9 of us (with 2 more meeting us at the restaurant) piled into the taxi.
After our lunch at Top View Restaurant we had thought to go to Entoto Mountain, but it had been raining, so we knew that we wouldn't have a very good view. Instead we made plans to return to the two places that we had gone shopping the day before. I bought Aidan two traditional Ethiopian outfits in different sizes, Kirk and Joy and Nichole and Jason Ethiopian crosses, and Lindsey an Ethiopian shawl.
We returned to the guest house and some of the friends that we had met the day before (from the yahoo board) had returned from making the journey down south to Durame, so we decided to eat at Yod Abyssinia- a traditional Ethiopian restaurant that we ate at on our first trip. I sat NOT watching the dancing and listening to the music, because all I could think about is that I'M GETTING MY SON TOMORROW!!!
Now, it's nearly 10pm and I'm experiencing a mixture of excitement and feeling like I'm going to throw-up. Earlier I returned to find a crib in our room, so it's all seeming very real now. This is my last night without my son!
Please pray that Aidan accepts Liam and I and has an "easy" transition. I'm off to bed now, but will try to post pictures tomorrow. Love you all!