Monday, March 16, 2009

Ethiopia - Day 9: African Tourists

Day 9 we left Nazareth and it's 5 a.m. truck traffic / wake up call, smog, and mosquito netted beds to head back to Addis. This was to be our tourist day and we headed out to a resort and spa called Sodere. I really was excited to be going back to the Ghion hotel and it's pay-by-the-minute dial-up internet service. It was so hard not to be able to communicate with T for 3 days!

Now before all of you who helped to support my missions start calling me and complaining about our spa trip - let me just say - I DID NOT have a massage, I DID NOT have a pedicure, OR EVEN a manicure. But we did have a good time and it really was a neat and interesting place to visit. So thank you for my couple hours spa experience.

Sodere is the home of natural hot springs. I had expected that we would be driving up to a creek or a mini pool of water, bubbling up like a babbling little fountain or something. But instead, Sodere's hot springs looked like this:

On our trip was a family of 6 that was just awesome. The young girls from the trip got in the pool and said, "this is HOT!!". I'm thinking - "it can't be all that hot... Maybe bath-tub water hot?"

Let me digress by mentioning that my roommate Gina was also a microbiologist. Her job is to test water and hunt for protozoans and bacteria. Well, she was NOT getting in that water. But my curiosity got the best of me so I lower myself into really, really, HOT water! Cause, you know, I'm only in Africa once (kind of like when I tried everything on our buffet that first breakfast and puked all day afterward?) I'm not really a fast learner when it comes to new experiences ...

Anyway, the all-natural hot springs pool was actually pretty soothing but like a too-hot jacuzzi, after about 10 min., I was done. So my friend JoAnna and I stroll down the path on a safari for monkey viewing. I figured we would see about 5-10 but those little jokers were everywhere. And they really weren't scared of us at all. We could get within about 3 feet of them to take their pictures. I was a little squeamish that one of them was going to take a flying leap for my face.. But I loaded up on monkey pictures to bring back to my little monkeys. See, mommy WAS in Africa after all?!?

We also wandered down the the adjacent river beside the resort and were treated to pretty scenery ala putrid smell. I joked with JoAnna that I had better not fall in that polluted water or Gina wouldn't allow me to step foot back in our room due to my bacteria count!!

is JoAnna's room at the Ghion. I never took a picture of mine.)

Speaking of bacteria, after a cheeseburger lunch, most of us had sherbet ice cream which was 'probably safe'. Yeah.... I'm thinking not so much, as about 10 min. after eating, I was pretty sick again. Don't I ever learn?!? To make matters that much more pleasant, immediately after eating we board our fun-bus on the 2 1/2 hour drive back to Addis. Let me tell you - it is no fun to have a bacteria wreaking havoc on your stomach with no Exxon's in sight!! Thank goodness for Gina whipping out the Cipro antibiotic or I may have been 12 pounds lighter by the time I touched on American soil again.

When we got back to Addis Abada we were headed to the open air market to buy our souvenirs. **Here is where I could politely skip over the fact of making our bus wait for me (and a friend) outside of an Addis Piano Bar while I run in and praise God for the hugest sign EVER which says "Toilets". I really think I could also hear the angels singing at that point! And yeah, that seemed safe. Two female Americans running into a dark bar in a foreign country? But when a girl's gotta go...** At the market I was really at home, since I am a bargain shopper by nature. I, seriously, spend 4 hours in a huge warehouse twice a year to buy all 3 children the cheapest (but yet stylish) brand name consignment clothes at about $300 for an entire season. So to haggle over a pretty little Ethiopian embroidered dress? Got that $12 bargain for only $8!! In addition to a coffee pot (which the airlines broke) and a little girl bust for my display table, I also bought myself grand-baby #452 for Addison to love on - it is hilarious. His feet are about as big as mine! I really thought customs may give me a hard time about having huge brown baby feet sticking out from the top of my carry-on. But she loves him. And really, how often can you bring a foreign baby into the states for $7.50 without even paying for a passport??

No comments: