As I hit the lounge to grab a quick pint before takeoff, I noticed our Ethiopian Airlines plane was pulling in. One of the staff members came to inform that the plane was here, and I should hurry down to get on it. I paid no attention: boarding wasn’t for another 45 minutes. The bathrooms in the lounge were in renovation, so I descended to the basement to use the bathroom once before boarding this plane (you never know what to expect on an airline like Ethiopian Airlines). As I was relaxing, I heard an announcement “Ethiopian Air flight 814 service to Addis Ababa is now boarding.” That is funny, I thought. We are supposed to board for 30 minutes. “Now boarding Group 1. Boarding Group 2. Now boarding Groups 3 and 4. Group 5.” At this point I began to worry they might leave without me. “Boarding Groups 6 and 7. Final call for boarding.” I practically ran upstairs, and as I arrived to the gate, “Oh Mr. Weichmann, you almost missed this one.” Seriously?! It was still 10 minutes until boarding should have begun. I guess lesson learned.
Our next stop was a layover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was hoping we would be able to venture out into the city in our 4-hour layover. But I was informed that this was not possible. No one would explain why. But the staff that I spoke with seemed all out confused as to why I would leave the airport. I think they had just never seen anyone like me in their life. But after my previous experience with Ethiopian Airlines, I didn’t want to risk it. I relaxed in the lounged and spoke with two ladies who informed me that they had actually been left for 4 days before by Ethiopian Airlines. Wow, just wow.
I had heard amazing things about coffee, or Kaffa, in Ethiopia, so I was eager to try it. I met a lady named Tsega, who shared a cup or two with me. It was fun to hear her story just a little. And I wish her luck on her restaurant. I had heard wonderful things about the women of Ethiopia, and Tsega confirmed these thoughts. It was now almost time to start boarding our next flight, so I headed out to the gate. I found Ali and got ready. Well, in addition to leaving early without announcement, Ethiopia Airlines will also delay boarding and change gates without warning. We waited. We waited some more. Then we found out we were waiting in the Dubai flight line. Finally, we boarded our flight.
Once aboard, I took my seat in Business Class and began reading through the in-flight menu. I was reading about the Traditional Ethiopian fare, wats, and I was very intrigued. Then the flight attendant pushed a cart from the galley with three trays. I asked her which was the least spicy (after my only experience with Ethiopian food at Hany’s place, I knew I could not handle their spice on a 6 hour flight), and was told “oh Honey, if you’re asking dat, den dis ain’t fo’ you.” Well… Okay… I guess I will take the roasted chicken and potatoes.
The flight went smoothly, and we arrived in Johannesburg with a nice layover to rest up before we headed onward. The short time in Ethiopia has piqued my interest. I want to return to visit Lalibela and try some real wat.