Okay, so I'm starting with the trip over because there's not a whole lot to say and I'm hoping by tomorrow I'll be inspired to delve more into the details of our time in Addis.
Sergio and I were originally going to spend 3 nights in Rome when we were supposed to leave in May, so when the time came to book our flights and we were going to be flying out of JFK we decided to fly in one day early and spend the night in NYC. (Not exactly Rome, but at least it was one night alone somewhere)
What we wanted to do while we were there was take some self guided walking tours through different neighborhoods but it was WAY too hot and humid to just be out walking so we had to change our plans. When we went to NYC a few years ago the one thing we didn't get to do was eat some good food, so we made that our goal for this trip. We went to a Cuban Restaurant the first night, then ate in Little Italy the second day and of course had some yummy New York pizza too! In between eating, we went to the Empire State Building and Times Square Friday night, then to Battery Park (just to look at the Statue of Liberty) and walked around China Town and Little Italy a bit on Saturday, being sure to stop into any air conditioned building we could find! Here are some pictures of our trip.
We flew out of JFK to Dubai Saturday night. It was the flight I was dreading because it is 13 hours long and a lot of it is over water but God is so good and faithful and I barely had any anxiety aside from the takeoff and the anxiety I did have was about a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 which for me is a miracle. The flight went by pretty fast and before I knew it we were landing in Dubai!
We got in around 7:45 pm and the plan was to go straight to the hotel our travel agent had supposedly booked for us, but just like in NY there was a slight change in plans. We got into the airport and found out there had been an oversight and a hotel had not been booked for us or one of the couples we were traveling with (Paula and Ryan). We were supposed to get a hold of our travel agent and have her call to arrange things but it was a Sunday morning in WA and we couldn't reach her. Then we found out that because Sergio was traveling with a Mexican Passport he would have to get a visa in order to even leave the section of the airport we were in. We didn't know if it would be worth it because at that point we didn't know for sure if we would be able to get a hotel to stay at so the couple we were with decided to go to a different part of the airport and see if they could find some help. After quite awhile of waiting for them to return, a man from the Emirates Airline counter we were sitting near walked over to me and told me I had a phone call. It was Paula telling me that she was not being allowed to come back to the part of the airport we were in! At this point it was getting late and I was not that comfortable with staying at the airport all night so we decided to book a hotel ourselves without our travel agent. First we went to the visa counter so that Sergio and I could go through customs and meet Paula and Ryan to book a room somewhere, but when Sergio was called up we were told they would not give him a visa unless they had proof we already had a hotel booked. So I ended up having to leave him, go through customs by myself and find Paula and Ryan, book the hotel and then have them fax a letter to the visa counter. They questioned him for quite awhile but finally gave him a visa (it cost 230 US dollars!) and a very friendly man met him at customs and showed him to right where we were all waiting for him. The hotel was beautiful and clean and although we couldn't sleep we did rest and shower before returning to the airport at around 6:00am.
At the airport we were reunited with the second couple we were traveling with Julie and Mike. Their hotel had been booked properly through the travel agent so we hadn't seen them since getting off the plane the night before. The flight was short, only about 4 hours and when we landed I honestly felt like I was in a dream. It looked like Ethiopia but I didn't feel like I was half way across the world. It felt just like being at home.