Sunday, June 7, 2009

Getting to Addis (Part 2)

Captains Log – Bloggen from 35K on our way to Addis

May 31 …. Rise at 3 aaaa yammmm – after only two hours sleep following a crazy SoundersFC vs. Columbus 1-1 tie. The radio broadcast was a high wire experience with Kevin Calabro (he is the best and my hero). Quickly pack 70 lbs. of Sounders’ jerseys and Soccer Saves T-shirts for kids and coaches in Ethiopia. Make the mad dash to the airport for an incredibly full 6:10 flight to Chicago. Who flies at this time on a Sunday morning? Oh wait, we are. Never mind.

The first leg of the trip I shared with a professorial seatmate with an Amish fedora that turned out to be a farmer from West Virginia who raises Alpacas. Nothing special or crazy about that except, after a lifetime of farming he decided to pursue his PhD in hydrotherapy studies believing man can raise cattle, horses and survive more successfully UNDER WATER! When he finally came up for breath he asked what I was doing on the plane! Answer: Headed to Ethiopia and Nairobi to sink the stakes in a program designed to reach out to 900,000,047 teenagers who desperately need education and support to help them with making the right healthy lifestyles choices. HIV/AIDS, gender equity and a better grasp of reproductive formulae wasn’t exactly what he had in mind for the 4 hour journey to Chicago but by the time we landed the professor was ready to sign on and ride an Alpaca to Addis Ababababababa with me. Hmmm, maybe this answers the question "what type of people are flying at 6 aaaaay yam on Sunday morning".

Hit Chicago, on to Frankfurt and then to Addis. At some point in our journey an Air France Airbus 300 was leaving Rio for Paris. The news does not look good. Prayers ascending to those that vanished and their family and friends.

We arrive in Addis and after a comical visa application “process” we were greeted by one of the truly special people in Save the Children clothing, Dennis Walto, whose story I will cover later. Sufficient for now, we made it and after a quick libation and a bite to eat we went off to bed in Addis Ababababaaaa’s wonderful Hilton Hotel! Thank you, Baron and Conrad, for including Ethiopia on your list of inns!

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