I've just had to give up on making this flowery since i'm so busy with our new-and-bigger family, the stomach bug that keeps on biting, and the move to the ole DS. I am still processing alot of what i saw and experienced in Ethiopia, so this will be kind of a nuts-and-bolts posts from a been-there-done-that to help my fellow sojourners in Ethiopian adoption.
Sunday- Arrival day:
THE AIRPORT::You may want to exchange some money at the airport. Or you can get David (the AW driver-Et name Dawit) to do it for you. If you allow someone to help you with your luggage you need to tip them. They are very persistant, and they will take American money, so you could tip them with that if you don't want to change money at the airport. We chose to wait inside the airport until all of our AW families had found their bags, and ready to leave. Trust me, you do NOT want to be stuck out in the van with 20 guys fighting to be the one to help with your luggage for 20 minutes. We felt safer than we expected the entire time in Ethiopia, but the poverty is overwhelming if you have not traveled to a "developing" country
YESABI GUEST HOUSE:: We settled in to the Yesabi Guest House and found it very pleasant. The staff is wonderful, facilities VERY clean, and whoa that cook is awesome! DH and i actually weighed the exact same thing (down to the ounce) the day we got home as the day we left:) We NEVER got sick. They change your towels out every day (you get 2 big and 2 hand towels). We brought a washcloth and baby towel from home. They do make your beds and there is a safe in every room. We never figured out how to redo the code on the safe, so we just took the key with us everywhere. BTW: we actually forgot the key one day and left the safe open w/ about 500$ and our cameras in it & when we got back everything was still there. so, it is safe to say that the maids had a lot of integrity.
Good to eat: At Breakfast: the omelets, the pinapple juice, coffee, croissants, donuts. if you eat the cheese, peel/cut off the outside. This is a good time to take your motion sickness pill. Take it. Seriously. It also helped me with the nausea from the smells of smog/car exhaust, and altitude. This is my #1 recommended med for Addis. I handed them out like Tic Tacs to others in my travel group.
At Dinner: There may be one or two options. They are bound to be good. The fried fish was the BEST i have ever had...and i am a Floridian living in Louisiana! If there would have been cheese grits i would have thought i was in heaven! Chef's tomato sauce is so fragrant and delicious...ahhhh! It is on pasta, on chicken, or rice. The portions are some nights a little smaller than some men would like, but we did just fine sharing with JG once we had her. The toddlers & older kids will try to gorge themselves, so prepare yourself for that. I also found that whatever was on our plates somehow mysteriously looked better than what was on JG's plate, so if you have a picky eater you might want to try that angle.
Electricity: You will most likely have electricity every-other-day. We once went 3 days straight with none. They turn on the generator every night, and while cooking. This is when we would run downstairs with Dean's iphone and post to Facebook. The iphone was our key to American communication. It is possible to call home, but it was too painful for me to think of hearing my boys' voice. It is possible to use your laptops, but after we had JG we just collapsed at around 8.30 and did not even try. The internet connection is slow if you have regular electricity. If the generator is on then it runs even slower. Also, when the generator comes on for breakfast, boil your water in your hotpot. You can use this to sterilize bottles, or to mix with the cold water to wash your face/hair in the sink. I took MANY cold showers...Dean took many hot because he is the early bird. We were lucky enough to be in room 103 (first floor). If you are in one of the higher floors i hope you are ready to be winded...that is where you will notice the altitude. There are BEAUTIFUL views (about 300 degrees?) from the rooftop. Great for the camcorder.
Random on Yesabi:: they give you 2 small bottled waters a day. You also have a minibar with cokes/sprite/fanta (shout out to Britney y'all!) and beer and sm/med/lg water. YOU MUST DRINK LOTS OF WATER for altitude! You can get wine by the bottle from downstairs. A doctor traveling with us claimed that the alcohol helped kill the buggies, and most of the group was happy to accept his Rx:) Be careful though w/ the interactions with your drugs (Ambien for example). After we got J-G on wednesday we no longer needed sleep aid and were adjusted pretty well. Earplugs are a must for the nightclub nearby. You should save around 100$/1200 birr for the last day to settle accounts on Friday. Our food/drink bill for 2 adults was 750 birr & we tipped the staff on top of that, as well as the 2 drivers for the week (200 birr/each. A US 20$ would also work if you were out of birr). You will not be able to change back your birr to US dollars, so be careful with that. But if you have extra you could use it for luggage tips at the airport, or gifts for Robel's street kids/ministry.