We slept in until 8:30 this morning as our itinerary for the day is not super full. Breakfast this morning was Spanish omelettes with chicken sausages (straight up wieners) with toast and some fruits (passion fruit, tomato fruit, bananas and mango). Again, it was quite tasty but not very filling (which would come back to haunt us later…).
After breakfast, we piled into the van along with Jerome (one of the guesthouse staffers) whose family owned a local craft shop. He promised us the very best prices and that the quality of goods would be better… I don’t think the girls cared where he took us as long as he came along for the ride… His shop did have a selection of good quality items and everyone seemed happy with their bargaining outcomes. The girls were definitely not happy that Jerome was not going to be staying with us for the morning… After Jerome’s, we headed to a much larger and much more chaotic market. Marie and I were in heaven and did some hard bargaining to pick up some souvenirs for ourselves and for people back home. Then we headed to a local bookstore and coffee shop for a drink and to browse their selection of books on Africa… they had an excellent selection of books on foreign aid in Africa and on genocide in general but their prices were a bit on the high side. Their drinks were delicious but a bit pricey.
After the bookstore we hightailed it back to the guesthouse to pack our purchases and finish packing our bags and then it was time to head to the airport (a short drive away as Kigali’s airport is right in the centre of the city – at least until construction of their new airport is completed). On arrival, we had to exit the vehicle and walk through security screening just to get on the property. While we were walking through, the van was put through a car wash style chemical and X-ray screening of its own. Then we piled back into the van for the short drive to departures where we said goodbye to Patrick and then headed into the airport. Unfortunately, Craig was not able to join us because his flight was 2 hours later than ours and they wouldn’t let him enter the airport with us… so we said our goodbyes to Craig and headed through security and on to the Ethiopian Airlines counter to check in and drop our checked bags. Marie and I had woken up a 4am yesterday to go online and reserve seats for all of us and to check in. We were able to select seats but were not able to complete the check in process for some reason and had to do it when we arrived at the airport. It took almost an hour for us to check in due to computer and printer issues but eventually we were all checked in and ready to head for passport control. Where we also had to wait… And then through security again. By the time we got through to our gate, it was 4:05 and our flight was boarding. Which coupled with a complete lack of water and/or food at the gate meant we were all a bit concerned as to whether they would be feeding us on this flight or not.
Our takeoff was delayed by about 40 minutes while the pilots waited for documentation from the company (at least that’s what the pilot said) but we are cruising along comfortably at the moment and have – thankfully – been well fed and watered so all is well. We should be landing at Addis Ababa in about an hour and will have about a 2 hour layover before boarding our insanely long flight from Addis to Dublin with a scheduled 50 minute equipment stop there where we probably won’t deplane and then on to Dublin. In all, Marie and the kids have said that we’re scheduled to spend about 16 hours on the plane but with time changes and whatnot, I haven’t done the math to confirm this… whatever the end time, it will be a long, long time to be on a plane. And when we land, assuming we’re on time, we have only 90 minutes to make our connecting flight from Toronto to Vancouver… with having to clear customs in Toronto, it is a crap shoot at this point whether we’ll make it or not but that’s out of our hands at this point… whatever happens, we know that Noah will be sleeping in his own bed before we make it home as he will be leaving us in Toronto.
I will try to post this blog post and yesterday’s while we’re waiting in Addis. After that we will be out of touch until we land in Vancouver as I doubt we’ll have time to do anything in Toronto other than dash for our flight… unless we miss it of course, in which case, I’ll have plenty of time to comment in Air Canada’s service…