04 December 2007

letting off the happiness.

En route back from my visit to Assela, we decided to stop in Addis for the day to get some not-nauseating food and have an extra few hours of freedom. Candace and I got to Adama in a record hour and 15 minutes and changed busses for Addis. That's when it all went wrong. Before we left, the driver got off to get a wrench from someone, which is never a good sign. We broke down a few kilometers outside Adama, and the driver and money guy spend a few minutes smearing paint into the engine (perhaps for lubrication? We weren't sure) and tightening things before we got back on the road.

A side note on public transportation in this country: Ethiopians have a pathological fear of any sort of fresh air entering a moving vehicle. Hence, all windows are sealed tight on public busses, and any effort to crack them for even a brief second garners angry stares and slammed windows. Compounding this problem, deodorant is an unknown concept. The women in the seat in front of me took advantage of the ride to paint their nails, adding the smell of nail polish to the general perfume of burning paint, exhaust, and unwashed flesh. Thank god there was no livestock on board. There is a near constant cool breeze blowing in much of the country, but you wouldn't know it on a bus. The siding of our particular bus was rotting away, so occasionally the breeze would enter through a hole in the metal and slip into the back of the bus through the flapping paneling. Not often enough. I never experienced motion sickness until I came to this country.

We broke down again a half hour later, this time for longer, and Candace left the bus to try to hail a passing minibus. Unfortunately, all were full, so we got back on our original bus when they finally fixed it. We broke down for a third time within sight of the city limits of Addis Ababa. Frustrations mounting, we collected our bags and started walking towards Addis, trying to hail a ride. We finally found a minibus, who took us closer, instructed us to get off and take another minibus to another destination. This continued for no less than seven minibusses to get us to the main bus station, where we were meeting Sinead for lunch. All of this with our giant hiking backpacks, which don't really fit well into vans already crammed to the brim with people.

The two hour, 175 km trip ended up taking about 4 and a half, which is actually quite good by African standards. We originally intended to grab lunch in Addis and hit the road to Wolisso that night, but the thought of getting on another bus made Candace and I want to cry, so we crashed at the house of four of Sinead's friends who are teaching in Addis. We sat around watching movies and eating popcorn all night, then devoured a box of cereal for breakfast. It was a lovely evening after a hellish bus ride.

We were going to leave the next morning, but instead decided to get one last good meal at Blue Tops and raid a firenji grocery store, finally making it back to Wolisso at 7 PM, in time to collect the massive amounts of mail that had accumulated in our absence. My family had gone on a mission to repair the television and didn't get back until 10 PM, so I had a few hours of peace and quiet to decompress and write some letters. Then the kids came home and all semblance of silence was shattered. Two more weeks of screaming and bad food, and I can live independently again! Sadly, our television has been repaired, so no more peaceful nights of reading.

We're in the home stretch here in Wolisso - a few more days of (useless) language training since PC is insisting on testing us in our original language, not the one actually spoken in our towns, last minute training sessions, goodbye party with the community, and we're out. We have a swearing in ceremony and reception at the embassy next Thursday, then we hit the road for our sites on Saturday.

After ten days of no mail, it was an exciting welcome back to Wolisso. J^2, I got your letter and am anxiously awaiting the Hanukkah package. Grandma, I got your letter as well. Responses are in the mail. Dad and Mom, got packages from both of you - firenji football game this weekend! Ruby, your package was made even better because it was a complete and utter surprise (and Rose, the Rice Krispy treats were delicious - excellent packing job, they still tasted fresh after two weeks)! You have excellent taste in candy and reading materials - a letter is on its way back to you! Thank you so much!

Happy birthday little bro! Write your sister.

Extra-special Christmas edition wishlist:
-Cheddar goldfish crackers
-Sourdough pretzel nuggets
-Butter-flavored popcorn salt
-Marshmallow fluff
-Peanut butter
-Buillion cubes
-Apple cider mix (does this even exist?)
-Matzo ball soup mix
-Ramen noodles (oriental)
-Kraft mac and cheese
-Reese's peanut butter cups
-Butterfingers
-Baby Ruths
-Brownie mix
-Chocolate-covered gummi bears
 
Non-food items:
-Books!
-Yarn (variegated bright blue and any other colors)
-Right Guard Xtreme invisible solid deodorant
-Gillette Venus razor blades
-Zip-loc bags
-Whitening toothpaste
-Home waxing strips (non-microwaveable)
-Body lotion with sunscreen
-Pantene shampoo/conditioner combo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tebow did win-first Soph. to do so!