Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To Addis and Back (Part 4) Shopping and the city.

Nom, nom, nom ....... everything in the mouth......

Today was the day we went shopping.

Initially, I was told nannies were coming from the care center to watch over our children and free us up to go shopping, have lunch at a nice restaurant, go to the museum (and see Lucy!), then do more shopping and finally have dinner at the highest restaurant in Addis with a great view.


I was not sure how I felt about that. On the one hand, I was tired and aching from carrying Charlie and needed a physical break. On the other hand, I was concerned at the confusion she might experience from seeing her nanny again and whether that would set back the positive strides in attachment we had made in the past 2 days.

I was then told, a few hours later, that nannies were NOT coming and we were to take our children with us for this extremely long day.

I almost fainted at hearing that news.

Who on earth plans a schedule like that for a group of new parents with infants??? And one couple had twins 8 months old! Another couple had a boy, 4 years old, with an amputated leg and a club foot who weighed 50 pounds and needed to be carried everywhere. I mean, really!

I almost didn't go.

But I went.

As I thought, it was hot, hot, hot. Not weather-wise (it was actually a cool 70 degrees and beautiful), but in between my body and Charlie's body. We both started sweating almost immediately and were soaked by the time we reached the shopping area.

The shops were a row of stalls along one side of a busy street. The van drivers followed us around to ensure our safety (pickpockets). The wares included typical Ethiopian dresses, *silver* crosses, drums and statues, basic touristy stuff. I got a few outfits for Charlie in various sizes so she will have them as she grows up. At one point a kid came up to me begging and I handed him some Lance crackers. Before I knew it, a woman with a stick came and chased him away. I think he ran fast enough to get away, but this was not a good area to give to beggars. I had been warned there was a "bad" area to give, but hadn't realized this was the spot until I saw the woman with the stick. Yikes!

Shopping went on for an hour and Charlie got too hot. She started whining and writhing and I finally had to take her out of the Ergo and feed her a bottle in the van.

We then went to lunch at Blue Tops, an Italian restaurant. Charlie helped me pick out lasagna.
She was patient for about 30 minutes, although trying to get her hands on everything (like the spoons, glasses, menus, place mats, etc). After about 45 minutes all the members of our party received their food but me. I took Charlie outside for awhile to distract her. My food finally arrived after an hour waiting. A long day was getting longer....

After lunch, some brave souls decided to go to the museum. My mother was among them. But I don't think anyone with infants went. we had all had it by then and were ready to return to the hotel for naps. Charlie took her typical 15 minute nap, so that by the time I finally got to lie down, she was ready to rock and roll!

We played in the guest house for a few hours and then went to a restaurant on top of a mountain where we were treated to a view of all of Addis. Unfortunately, Addis is so polluted now there is a haze hanging heavily above the whole city, blue and gray, and looks so thick I wasn't sure if it was fog or pollution. It was pollution.

The meal was good though. We had filet mignon, and one portion included THREE filets (!!!) all for a whopping price of $6.00. So that couldn't be beat. Charlie was very good at dinner. She let my mother hold her and feed her. We had a picture taken of my mother feeding Charlie, while I was feeding my mother a bite... three generations being fed by one another!

I also managed to do a one-kneed diaper change as I'd forgotten her changing pad and the bathroom floor looked a bit... not pristine. So I thought that was a real "mom" moment and was proud of my balancing skills. Charlie looked a little uncertain, and precariously balanced at times, but made it through with a fresh nappy and a smile.

On the ride back to the hotel, in the dark, through Addis, I noticed many of the same people who had been squatted on the sidewalks earlier, only now they were lit up by the faint glow of embers under their teapots. I realized they probably spend all night out there, on the sidewalks. As we were climbing into soft beds that night, and every night, thousands of Ethiopians are trying to stay warm on the sidewalks of Addis with their tea kettles. It really puts things in perspective.

Charlie fell asleep on the ride home and missed the kettles and embers.


Angela said...

Charlie may be a tall girl as she grows up. Boy are her legs long. She's such a cutie. I said it for you.

Leesavee said...

She is so deliciously cute...I'd be nom-nom-nom-ing on those chubby cheeks and thighs!

How did you feel about the center in Ethiopia? How did you feel about the care they were getting there?

Woohoo on the one-kneed diaper change. You are a champ!

Adopting1Soon said...

The care center was GREAT! The nannies love on those kids a TON, it's super clean (not one dirty diaper smelled or seen), and the kids all seemed joyful (considering what they've been through.)