We got up at 07:00 again and packed our bags. By 07:20 were sitting in the restaurant and ordered Ethiopian bread with honey. By 07:50 it had still not arrived. Just as our driver came to call us the food and tea arrived. We quickly gulped down the tea and took the bread in our hands and went to the taxi.
At the airport, we were again more than early enough and continued to watch the Netflix series. We wanted to take everything as hand luggage, but were told we cannot take the Shiro powder, we have to check it in. We then just checked in the whole backpack, hoping for the best.
The plane was the same small propeller type and this time it was scheduled to take an hour. After an hour of a noisy and turbulent flight we started to descend. Addis Ababa looked much smaller than the previous time. After landing Hugo checked the GPS on his phone and saw that we were in fact in Dire Dawa in the South East of Ethiopia almost further away from Addis than we started. An announcement was made, something about the runway in Addis, but we couldn’t make out if it was weather related or something else. We had to stay in the airplane and wait for the runway in Addis to clear and to be refueled. After about half an hour we took off again for another one hour flight to Addis.
In between this all we are just getting sicker and were running out of toilet paper and tissues. In Addis we luckily got our backpack again without any trouble. It was raining in Addis and we had to walk from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, almost a kilometer through construction sites and traffic jams, avoiding calls for taxis.
At Terminal 2 we bought a box to put the Shiro in so that we don’t have to check in our backpack. Our flight was luckily scheduled for 16:40 so the delay from Lalibela didn’t cause too much trouble. For lunch we ordered Shiro for old time’s sake in the most expensive Ethiopian restaurant ever, although the prices were actually on par with SA prices. After lunch it was almost time to board so we went through the security gate to Boarding Gate 10.
Up until this point everything was still OK, except for not feeling that healthy. We, however, started to get the feeling that something was wrong when there was still no plane outside the window close to boarding time. People had been standing in line for almost an hour, we luckily chose to just sit and wait. Some commotion then broke out when it was announced that there is a delay of an hour. The people in the line then also went to sit down for an hour. After 40 minutes people started waiting in line again, but there was still no plane. Watching from afar we heard some commotion again and people forming a circle around someone. Countless bystanders starting recording the spectacle. No official announcement was made and we had to get information from people who were close enough to hear what was going on. Apparently, the flight has been delayed for 5 more hours and there were talk of taking an option to go to a hotel to get a morning flight.
This was quite problematic for us, not because we’re on some tight schedule but because we were going to meet our travel companions for the next month at the airport in Nairobi. They are flying in from Malawi and were going to arrive after us, but now we will be arriving after them, possibly only after midnight.
We followed a Spanish girl and American woman to the Ethiopian Airlines lounge where we received dinner. After dinner, we were chased out as another flight’s passengers who were also delayed had to come in to also get dinner.
Our new boarding time was scheduled for 21:00, so after wandering around and sitting in a restaurant we went through the security check again at around 20:30. At 21:00 we went to Boarding Gate 5, but there were another group of people already waiting in line to get to Cairo even though their flight was only scheduled for 23:30. Long after our 22:00 flight. We met a South African guy who said they have been waiting for 3 days on the airport to get a flight to Cairo. Another group of passengers who were heading to Beirut were frantically running from gate to gate as new information emerge about which gate they would be departing from. News then came that we will only be boarding at 22:00 another hour later. We started recognising all the people on our flight and joined a group of them moving together. 22:00 drew closer and still there were no indication of which gate we’re supposed to leave from.
Finally, news came that we are boarding from Gate 3 and 4, people were scrambling and pushing like they would somehow not have a seat or miss the flight if they are not in front. We got into the packed bus and were taken to the aircraft.
Midnight dinner was served in the air and then we tried to sleep for the last hour until Nairobi. Upon landing Hugo received the message that our guests were waiting for us on the airport since 21:00, it was already passed midnight. We were the first ones to go through immigration, we got another 30 days for Kenya. We then waited and waited for the Shiro. Hugo later went out to meet Daniel and Sekar, while Caro continued to wait. In the end we just left without the Shiro, luckily it wasn’t our bag that was missing. We took an Uber to Jungle Junction where we only arrived at 02:00 in the morning to the surprise of the security guard. We knew Ethiopia had be rough when driving through Nairobi at 01:00 in the morning felt like coming home and like we could ‘relax’ for the first time in 10 days. Luckily we had a spare key for the car as the main key and carnet is kept by Chris in the case of an emergency. We set up camp where the vehicle was parked between the other overland trucks and went to bed after a long tiring day.