Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 6 – Part III – 37 Hours and counting

Day 6 – Part III – 37 Hours and counting

Now that we are finally through all the check points we immediately start looking for a place to get some water, juice or whatever we can find. I have brought two large bottles of water with us but I am saving them for the plane. I want to make sure I have plenty of water to make food and formula. Hubby finds a kind of bar/eatery and waits at the counter for help. After 15 minutes I head off with Jocelyn to find something else before Jocelyn begins to have a meltdown. I find a duty free shop with water and proceed to the cash register where I am informed that they need my passport and airline ticket for me to purchase the water. Seriously?! I can’t even enter the airport without a passport and airline ticket! Why should it matter now? It’s water for heaven’s sake! I immediately turn on my heels to look for somewhere else to buy something to drink. As I leave the duty fee shop, I hear the lady calling to me “would you like me to hold these two waters for you?” I would think she knew the answer to her question before she asked it.

I finally find a place at the other end of the airport where I was able to get some Pepsi for us and mango juice for Isaac and Jocelyn (they didn’t have a lot of options). To my surprise the pop wasn’t warm but had actually been cooled a wee bit. This was a big blessing considering it is usually served warm. Yes, you can get ice but since their water is not clean it is not advisable. On the way back I notice a money exchange booth. I make a mental note to let Hubby and mom know since we still had birr to exchange back to American money.

By the time I make it back to everyone, Hubby is holding his own Pepsi. We didn’t mind having the extra pop and he was unable to get anything for the babies. I popped open the mango juice for Isaac and Jocelyn and they sucked it right down. After downing a couple of bottled pops, we decide to take the last one with us. We were not far from the bar/eatery when a man comes running after us telling us we can’t take the pop. Charlie explains that we paid for it. He informs us we can’t leave because he wants the bottle back. I am beginning to think we stepped on another planet when we entered this airport. While Charlie argues with the man I begin chugging the Pepsi. I will be darned if we are giving him back the bottle full. It cost $10 (American) for the two pops. I finished the pop and we walked away with Hubby still spouting a few choice words at the man. Yep, you guessed it. My calm, patient hubby has finally gone over the edge where I have been since the ticket lady told us that she didn’t have any tickets for our sweet peas. We all have our breaking points and this was his.

We find a couple of the other families who will be traveling back on the airplane with us and discuss when we will know where to go to catch our plane. There has been no announcement as to what gate the plane is at nor is our flight showing on the reader board. Finally…we hear our flight being announced and head toward the gate. To our surprise we see that we will yet again have our luggage screened before we can enter the gate area. A man at the screening area informs me that the large bottles of water I had been saving for the 18-20 hour flight are not allowed. I explained to him that it was not for us but for the babies’ food and milk while we travel. They would not budge. I proceeded to make formula for 2 sippy cups and 2 bottles. I then make as much oatmeal as possible in the two small bowls I had packed for the plane ride home. My Mom, Hubby and me stood there and drank as much as we could before handing what was left over to the screening person. The most frustrating part about this was that I thought I had read everything about what we could and could not take both in the US and in Ethiopia. I never remember reading anything about liquid limitations in Ethiopia.

I am thrilled to see that there is a large open area next to the seating area inside the gate. Charlie and I agreed this will be perfect to let Isaac and Jocelyn run off some of their pent up energy. They have been cooped up in the van or the Ergo Carriers for the past 4 ½ hours. I also read the label on the mango juice after they drank it; a whopping 37 grams of sugar in a 12 oz bottle. Hmmm this is not the ideal drink for a 20 month old before boarding a plane. It will be good to get them worn out.

Isaac takes to the open space like a duck takes to water. He runs everywhere with his head tilted sideways laughing the whole way. It is so much fun to watch his free spiritedness in action. Jocelyn learns that there is a ledge along the rail of the floor to ceiling windows. It doesn’t take her long to realize she can step on the ledge if she holds onto the railing. She looks at us with the biggest grin as if to say “see how smart I am.” A man in uniform comes over and tells us we need to go sit down. He directs us over to 4 seats that allow about as much room as the plane allows for space. Wow, I can’t believe this is happening. Our kids were not disturbing anything. They were just playing. Now we have to spend the next 45 minutes in a confined space before we spend the next 18-20 hours in another confined space. I know Hubby and I are thinking the same thing “why didn’t we upgrade to first class?” Oh, that’s right. It was an extra $1,000 per ticket. At this very moment, a $1,000 doesn’t seem like much.

We board the plane and learn we have been upgraded to business class. Praise the Lord! It doesn’t have the room of first class but on a 767, this is a big deal! We flew on a 767 on the way over and there is no leg room to speak of. Hubby is only 5’11” and his knees were hitting the seat in front of him. It will definitely make it easier with our babies. Charlie and I settle into the two seats that are together while Mom settles into the seat across the aisle from us. It is perfect. Isaac and Jocelyn will be able to keep each other company during our long flight.

One of the lead flight attendants comes up and greets us and asks us about our babies. She doesn’t ask the typical question of did you adopt them. Many families travel on Ethiopian Airline to bring home the children they have adopted. So it is an automatic assumption if you are white with an Ethiopian child(ren) you have adopted. Her questions start with things like how old are they? How are they adjusting? I thought it was so wonderful to have someone taking such a keen interest in our sweet peas. But I soon realize there is another agenda unfolding before us. She informs us that we both can’t sit together with the kids. One of us is required to sit in the middle section of the plane. It is the rules she tells us. We tell her we will switch before we take off. At this point the kids had just settled in and we weren’t ready to upset things knowing full well it would take some time to get everyone aboard. She looks at us and says “yes, you switch now.”

Once Charlie settles into the center section of seats, the attendant notices Isaac sucking his thumb and takes it upon herself to tell him in Amharic that men don’t suck their thumbs. She then pulls his thumb out of his mouth and when Isaac tries to put it back in his mouth, she again pulls his hand away. Isaac immediately gets upset. How do you tell a flight attendant that you don’t want to offend at the start of the trip “don’t touch my child?!” Do we really need to make a 20 month old baby cry before we have even left the tarmac? As far as we are concerned Isaac could suck his thumb until the cows come home. I kept wondering if there were a pair of ruby slippers stashed somewhere. I so desperately wanted to put them on close my eyes and say “there’s no place like home…there’s no place like home…”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Free Blog Counter