Sunday, October 5, 2008

Intrepid Lounge Adventurers

We’ve made it to Addis Ababa. It is step 1 in a many-citied adventure!

Our general flight itinerary has been as follows:

Saturday October 4th - 8:30pm depart from Dulles

Sunday October 5th - 10:00am (Italian time) arrive in Rome

Noonish: Depart Rome (do not deplane)

Sunday October 5th - 7:00pm Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Monday October 6th - 9:45am Depart for Kinshasa, DRC

1:15pm - Arrive at Kinshasa, DRC

With luck, our pickup will be at the airport in Kinshasa to get us and take us to the hotel. I’d imagine we’ll be REALLY tired since...

We are stuck for the next 11+ hours in the Addis Ababa airport. The airline had prepared a hotel for us, and as we’d finished getting our transit visas and mosied towards the exit, we were stopped by customs who spotted my laptop peeking form my Ren Faire purse. D’oh.

He informs us that ANY valuables we have need to be taken over to the Customs table, declared, and then LEFT THERE overnight while we’re at the hotel. Laptops, cash, projector, cameras. Everything. This is the “Customs Rule.”

Let me tell you that this is NOT going to happen. Nowhere, no how. I don’t care if they write me 12 vouchers and sign them in blood, I’d rather assume the risk myself of carrying my items with me to the hotel than leaving them at the airport.

The customs guy is typically riding his power trip, refusing to let us talk to anyone else about this and just continually repeating that we need to go to the line for Customs (which PS is SO LONG and filled with people with at least 4 huge bags).

And if we don’t like it, we can go back into the airport.

So, we do.

Of course, we talked to a few more people who kept us waiting the requisite Pole Pole Africa Time and I laughed, telling Adam that it was a pretty perfect welcome to Africa.

So we’re in the Cloud 9 lounge, which is far from heaven but is certainly better than the alternative: airport benches. The last time I came through Addis Ababa, I was only laid over for 7.55 hours, which didn’t entitle me to a hotel room. So I wandered the cold, empty halls of this airport from 7pm to 3 am. It was fabulous!

I don’t know yet if we’ll sleep -- we sent off some emails to let people know we’d arrived. The wireless in Cloud 9 is sadly down, but I might go over to their free desktops and browse the net some more. Or doze off while watching X-Files.

But I’ve got more back-dated blogs to write! T-minus 11 hours til our next flight takes off.

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