Damn, it’s been a long ride. And I’m still an hour away from Addis Ababa, according to the moving map on the bulkhead in front of me. It finally occurred to me to ask myself, “What kind of nut job travels half way around the world for a great cup of coffee?”. You would think this would have crossed my mind weeks ago, but the trigger was when I looked at that real-time GPS map and realized that if I were merely going to see the pyramids, I would have been there hours ago. So that will seem like a short trip when I finally make it, at least.
Don’t let me fool you – I am psyched out of my mind to be visiting this, the birthplace of coffee. Hell, the cradle of civilization, really. I’m still wondering, candidly, how I came to be on the invitation list with some of the Who’s Who of specialty coffee. But I am not about to look that gift horse in the mouth. I genuinely believe that the things you regret most in life are rarely the things that you do; it’s the things you don’t do. So here I am, at 35,000 feet, having just left the sad little desert town of Khartoum, Sudan, whose airport is apparently where old planes go to die, judging from the rusting hulks being reclaimed by nature at the edges of the runaway, amidst what look to be anti-aircraft guns.
But since I’m not there yet, and I’m kind of bored as I try not sleep anymore lest I fail to sleep tonight, you have to suffer through details of the journey. Any of you who travel know what drudgery the journey can sometimes be; this trip has been no exception.
My route took me from Raleigh Durham (why do we say that like it’s one place?), to Detroit, through Amsterdam, then Khartoum, and ultimately on this leg, to Addis Ababa. There will be more later; this is all I can contemplate tonight.
I did write about the trip to Detroit in the Day One post yesterday, so I’ll pick up with the leg to Schipol. The flight itself was uneventful, the typical overnight flight to Europe, where the plane fills with thin people who haven’t showered in a while, dressed like they stepped out of some hip fashion magazine. And me. After selecting the vegetarian meal option, something I have to remember to do more often as the food is generally better, I managed to sleep half the way, with the help of my cushy Brookstone eye shades. (As an aside, you’ll notice my strategic product plugs. I get nothing from them, but all travelers like to hear about what gear really works, as opposed to most of the junk out there.). We touched down in a pretty thick fog at 7:30 AM. I found a shower (I love that about Europe, that you can shower in the airport for 15 Euro), had some fair espresso, and some kind of smoked fish and bread thing, with an odd cheese. That left me just enough time to look for the deodorant I forgot, but alas, no luck. You can buy condoms anywhere in the airport, but no deodorant. Seems about right for Europe. I caught the plane for Africa with another eclectic group of fellow travelers.
Now, the trip from Amsterdam to Ethiopia is deceiving. Most people think it would be kinda short. It’s not. It would be the same as going from northern Canada to Venezuela, so like 9 hours. I passed the time reacquainting myself with SLR photography, and making a jukebox on the plane’s entertainment system. Jenny will be happy to know that whoever selected the music had a thing for ABBA.
We made a dusty landing to drop off some passengers in Khartoum, Sudan. I got to see the airport, and out the windows. This place is the stuff movies are made of – dilapidated desert, where old planes go to die, judging from the rusting hulks being reclaimed by nature just off the runways. A quick takeoff, and I find myself in the moment – shortly from arriving in Ethiopia. Stay tuned.
And hopefully I’ll have some photos to post next time, too.