Thursday June 22, 2017

Day one of travel. Relatively uneventful…if you don’t count the usual foibles of travel: missing passports and vaccination cards, broken straps threatening to spew more than a half-ton of luggage onto I95, (not to mention the risk of giving Fred a coronary). I thought I handled everything quite well given the 87 minutes of sleep I had before the trip.

Ethiopian Airlines always promises a unique traveling adventure. There is a reason they are “reasonably priced.” They utilized a two-prong approach to keep us travelers on our toes.

Phase 1 was feeding us salty foods, but forgetting to provide liquid refreshment afterwards. Phase two was putting Binladen’s evil sister, (we’ll call her Helga), in charge of the water rations. She was having a bad day. At one point a small child from the seat in front of me wandered into Helga’s territory, the aisle. Helga slowly lowered herself to the child’s level and fixed her with a withering gaze. In a soft, steely voice she informed the frightened child that she needed to return to her seat and not interfere with Helga again. A chill ran down my spine as I watched a traumatized child slink back into her seat too frightened to cry. Later, I tried to take matters into my own hands with the water. I strolled up to the “kitchen” area and discovered a water bottle with several ounces still in it. I quickly poured some into a cup with fantasies of slaking my thirst at last. I was 2 ounces into my pour when I heard, “No, no, no! That is not for you.” Busted by Helga, she grabbed the bottle and the cup away from me. Like my brave cabin mate, I too refrained from crying…but mostly because I had no moisture in my system.

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