Once on the plane I kept thinking what would it be like to be coming
back for good. That thought made me quite excited, and I realised
that I would have quite liked this to have been my final flight.
Possibly not the most positive thought, but one that I definitely
As we flew it was like the sun was playing a game with me - it would
highlight everywhere there was water. Bounding ahead to show me where
the next river was with brilliant reflected light, like a dog
running ahead of its master to show where the best smells can be
found. Clearly there was still water to be had, whether any will
reach Tigray is a different matter though.
On the flight I met some Americans and a Brit who had been out in the
sticks for three months treating eye infections. The Brit was coming
back to Frimley Park Hospital, and seemed happy when I told her that
I knew it quite well.
The flight arrived early and I went through baggage collect quite quickly.
One of the first things I did in baggage claim was to turn on my mobile
phone. I wanted to see if there would be any messages. I was rather
dissapointed to find none. Not even Vodaphone with their welcome
to the network message. The phone had not worked in Ethiopia - In some
African countries mobiles are now more popular and useful than land
lines because you don't need to put up wires.
Of course, the moment I had been waiting for was meeting Sarah again
after four months away. She was waiting outside of the arrivals gate
and I am glad it is was not Ethiopia. Kissing in public is not the
The car was loaded and we went onto the M25 and got stuck
in a traffic jam caused by an almighty downpour. Yes, this
I am being careful not to show only the brown, dry side to Ethiopia as
you will see in the photos. However, the amount of green in the UK
was a feast to what I now realised had been green starved eyes.
Here are some of the other things that I noticed about england. Traffic
moves very quickly on the road (and there is a new type of Fiat). When
you have a credit card you are not constantly planning to make sure
that you have brought enough cash with you. It is so easy to buy food
and there is so much available. I would love to take one of the
students and to put them in the middle of a big Asda or the like.
I think that they would freak. We went to one Asda that was as big as
Mekelle Airport. The temperature during summer felt like that in
Ethiopia - i.e. Mekelle/Ainalem is rarely *really* hot.
Probably the only other thing of real note as the fact that I was
quite ill. An excess of food produced, as had been predicted
by most people (myself included) an excess of the squits. It
got so bad that I had to see the doctor, and they gave
me some anti-biotics that that did the trick almost
immediately. I think I will follow the advice in the health book
and have a dose of anti-biotics when I return.
I had to try a self fix, which didn't work. I got Sarah to buy
some of the Actimel drinks with the 'good bacteria'. I hoped that
they would slug it out with the bad bacteria. I drank a couple on
the way back from the airport, but as can be seen this did not
work. Worth a try though.
I had to get up early for my flight and I stumbled
down to the reception area of the hotel. When I got down there, the
guard and his friend a taxi driver were asleep. They woke up
and asked me whether I wanted a taxi, and I argued a price with them.
However, once outside in the dark, cool night I could see that the
taxi driver had been drinking. A short exchange followed and
I told him no way quite bluntly and walked off. I found another
taxi quite quickly, and one that asked for 25birr immediately. This
was a reasonable price and I accepted. The driver also seemed
alert and friendly.