One of those days consumed by travel. I got up, did a few housekeeping things, and set off for the airport. I chatted with the driver a bit (both of them, because we stopped at the city centre and switched) about the difficulties of finding employment. I told both of them my story about finding a job, but felt hopelessly Pollyannish in the face of South Africa’s unemployment crisis (around 40% I think?). There are times I feel terribly American and like I should keep my mouth shut and this was one of them.
My plane was delayed it turned out so I spent the rest of the time shopping like a mad woman, I am ashamed to say (my bout of feeling overprivileged clearly did not last long enough). I then went to the gate to find Gracian and Vimbai waiting for me which was a surprise since I hadn’t checked me email and didn’t know they were going to be connecting in Jo’burg. It was great to see them and we caught up a little bit before we got on the plane. Then it was off to Addis—five hour flight. I know our the flight attendant must have been amused when he got to our row. It was me—all laryngitical if that’s a word—and then the guy beside me was deaf mute I think. All kinds of fun taking orders.
We got into the sparkling new Addis airport around 11 PM at the same time as this musical group. I found out later form Gracian that they’re a pretty famous Congolese group based in Paris. All I could tell was that they were stylin’—clearly on a whole ‘nother level. There were about 8-10 guys. The manager or arranger or whoever reminded me a little of Samuel L. Jackson in that film where he’s a drug dealer who wears a kilt. It was like Yohji Yamamoto or one of those crazy Japanese designers got a hold of the outfit from that film and had fun with it. Yellow knit golf cap, yellow pullover, grey checked widelegged pants, and yellow shoes. Then there was the guy in th modern day zoot suit with the neckless guitar (you know, the kind you used to see in 80s videos) who was playing it and singing in the terminal. And the rest of th guys in very sober dark suits but some of them handpainted, some of them with watch chains, cool shoes, the whole nine. And later came the backup singers/dancers—these women in fitted white striped suits, patent leather white platform boots and club shoes, and colored thread in their braids. It was awesome, esp.after a long flight ad stepping back into that surreal terminal space.
So after that and the customs and luggage dance, the ILRI driver picked us up and packed us into the truck (reminder-less luggage next time) and we headed off to the ILRI compound which is really a compound (gate, security, the whole nine) and managed to settle in after a it of a mix up on rooms (nice accommodations though—I have a sitting room, bedroom and bathroom) and crashed for the night.