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January 11, 2008

Just Arrived

Made it! Safe and sound. And tired.

Here's what I had to say upon arriving in Addis Abeba this morning, after my flights from Denver to Chicago to London to Addis (via Amman):

In the Addis View Hotel freshly under the covers, in a lovely room with pretty wood furniture and a large bed. I've got a separate living room with three chairs and a TV. I'm excited to get organized, and I could start now since I've got the energy, but sleep seems like a wise idea.

5:38 AM. Our flight came in late--4 or so? Overall, a long period of travel--I left my apartment around 7 AM Jan 9 Colorado time and arrived here at the hotel at say 5:20 AM, which makes for a (with a 10 hr time difference, which I *think* is right) 7 AM one day - 7 PM the next --> 36 hour trip. Could be worse.

On the flight from Chicago to London I was seated next to a man in his 60s with an accent from Virginia and boots from Texas. He lives now in San Antonio, teaches at a Southern Baptist seminary, and was asking me questions about what I do and stuff he's seem on the History Channel--and the age of the Earth and global warming. First, though, when I said I was in science, he asked, "Now, you wouldn't know how to use a GPS by any chance, would you?" When I told him it was actually my specialty, he thought God had sent me. He and his colleague had a handheld GPS they'd borrowed and didn't know how to use. When we disembarked in Heathrow, we found a window and I gave them a little tutorial.

Dogs take turns barking.

Tim and I got to chatting with the man sitting behind us, and then his son as well once he moved over from his seat across the way, while we were on the ground in Amman. The man had grown up in Ethiopia--his father constructed missions and medical clinics--but hadn't been back in 35 years; his son gave him the trip for his birthday. we talked of the Afari customs and events: The man said when he visited Afar the custom was for young men, in order to take a wife, to present a man's testicles to the potential father-in-law. Tim had heard and I had read as well that men to come of age killed another man from a rival tribe. But, Tim said, he's pretty sure they've put an end to that practice now. Afar is pretty strongly administered, he said. [Note: It's a very, very harsh place to live and resources are amazingly scarce, which probably accounts for the violence.]

I hear music from outside. A loud radio? Something broadcast from the church?

I was almost ecstatic coming out of the Addis airport. Giddy is a better description, I guess--standing and walking, the smell of a developing country (what *was* it this time? It's not heat and humidity here--was it mild rot? Pollution?), the cool air, and we got all our stuff through customs--no hold ups! They looked at the little printer I brought (to print off and give pics to folks we meet in the field) and that was it. Fantabulous. No delays there, then. (Last time, my luggage got held up in customs and we had to make multiple trips to the airport to get it.)

The road outside the hotels is torn up; Tim said they did it in November saying it had to be done in two months, but it's still rubble. They've bulldozed part of the shanty town across the street to make room for it.

It's past six now, so I should to sleep.

Will be nice to get clean tomorrow.

Cat screaming. And doors sliding somewhere close, the sound of someone going up or down stairs.

It's good to be here. I'm looking forward to breakfast...!

Posted by beth at January 11, 2008 11:14 AM

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Can't wait to hear tomorrow's news. So glad to hear,from your mom, that Stanley made it with you. Hope he gets back in time. It was great of you to take him.
Have fun. I love an adventure and yours are REALLY wonderful.
Aunt Pat

Posted by: Pat at January 11, 2008 6:06 PM

Sounds interesting as always BABs!!! Hope all is well! Andrea (Dre)

Posted by: andrea at January 11, 2008 8:46 PM

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