Some wonderful friends who live in Houston drove across town to pick up our car so we wouldn't have to pay to park it for a week. See, Donnie rode to Houston with Jessica's parents and I drove me and Jess and Evie. In Houston I traded my wife and youngest child for a traveling partner. They rode to Louisiana with her parents, my car went with friends, and Donnie and I boarded the plane. The opposite transaction will occur upon our return.
It was all somewhat uneventful. I hate removing my shoes to walk on tiled airport floors. I'm a slight germ-a-phobe. All that will soon go bye bye. We left Houston around 6:30pm on black Friday flying to Dubai. It struck me at some point that we were leaving our country on a day drenched with materialism to travel to country where poverty abounds. We were in the air about 14 hours and landed at around 7pm on Saturday. Crossing time zones is weird.
Donnie and I have less than 12 hours in Dubai so we'll ride the Metro to the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. Both are incredible sites. Look up the Burj tower. Crazy. We are staying at a hotel overnight in Dubai and will board a plane to Addis in the morning. Going from the airport in Dubai to the airport in Addis is serious transition. Someone is there to pick us up. He found us after only a few minutes and we were off to the guest house.
Drive time is very short so we didn't really see much of the city on that little trip but what we did see shocked us- at least some of it. I don't know if I expected the mountains. Rolling hills maybe but not full grown mountains. The land scape is beautiful. I also didn't expect the pollution. Jessica warned me. I didn't know the extent of it. We are talking about standing between a city bus and your grandpa's tractor on a windless day while they try to see who can rev their engine loudest. Burns the nostrils...and the throat...and the eyes. The rest I was prepared for. Hopefully one never gets used to seeing that level of poverty but I had seen it before in other countries I've visited. Animals and pedestrians on the street are nothing out of the ordinary in other parts of the world. One other thing was quite odd though. The trees there are purple. I'm kidding.
The guest house was close to what I thought it would be. Plain, humble, old, but clean. By the last day I will even allow my unshod feet to touch the floor. It is a gated two story house with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom downstairs along with a kitchen, dining, and living area. A spiral staircase leads to 3 more bedrooms and another bathroom plus a suite with its own bathroom. We are occupying the two downstairs bedrooms on each side of the bathroom. We're unloaded and ready to go meet the kids...