Friday, March 15, 2013

Trip Report: Bahir Dar

We have one more trip post from our first trip to Ethiopia!  After our hike in the Simien foothills, Abebe took us to the bus station and found a bus for us to take to Bahir Dar.  We sat on the bus at the station for about an hour, watching as people got on and off.  We never understood why so many people got on the bus and didn't stay.  As we were in motion, pulling out of the parking lot there were still people hopping on the bus.  The drive was about 3.5 hours to Bahir Dar.  When we arrived in Bahir Dar we were greeted with a pleasant sight - streets lined in palm trees.

We had some dinner at our hotel and then I checked my cell phone and found that our friend, Dawit, had texted us and said to let him know when we had arrived because his mom had prepared a meal for us.  Whoops!  Dawit met us at our hotel, with his sister, Diane, and we rode in a bajaj to his home.  We met his parents, three sisters, several cousins and neighbors.  Everyone else was fasting for Christmas, so Dawit and Christie and I were supposed to eat ALL of the food that his mom had prepared.  Just as we would start to make a dent on the platter, she would serve us more food in its place.  We were stuffed beyond belief, but we really enjoyed the food and the opportunity to meet Dawit's family.

The next morning we took a boat ride out on Lake Tana with a group of people staying at our hotel.  The lake was really peaceful.  We passed several fishermen out on their tankwa canoes.

Not long after we had gotten out on the water our driver spotted hippos in the distance!  They ducked under water before we could get very close, but we were close enough to see them flap their ears before they disappeared. 

The lake has many islands and each island is home to monasteries, known for their Biblical paintings.  Many of the monasteries do not allow women inside, so our tour group visited the monasteries located on the Zege peninsula, where they allow both genders to visit.  In all, we visited three monasteries and we also got to see where the Blue Nile River begins.

The following day we traveled by van to the Tis Issat Falls, east of Bahir Dar.  There is a hydroelectric dam which diverts water away from the falls and we had been warned by some other tourists that the falls had not really been flowing just a couple of days before.  The van took us most of the way and then we hiked for about 30 minutes to reach the falls.

It was another really nice hike and the falls were amazing!  There is definitely more water flowing over them during the rainy season, but the flow was really good while we were there and the water was not muddy brown, like it tends to be during the rainy season.

The guide let us up to the top where the water falls off the cliff.  You might notice my eyes are looking up in this picture.  Just as Christie was taking this photo a vervet monkey came running from out of nowhere, jumped in the tree behind Christie and ran across the branch over her head!

We walked upstream a ways and then took a boat across the river to get to an area where the car could meet us and take us back to Bahir Dar.  The boat that crossed just ahead of us was filled with kids going to school.  What a cool commute!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Home with our baby!

We were back in Ethiopia from February 17 to 22.  On February 19 we took placement of our little angel baby!

We had our embassy appointment on February 21 and were back home on the 23rd, greeted by friends and family at the airport.

We have been enjoying our time at home, getting to know one another and learning all of our little girl's cute faces and mannerisms.  She is an incredibly cute baby and loves to squeal and babble.  She also loves to be held by her mommy and daddy and suck her thumb while holding a piece of fabric.