After touring Lalibela, I spent the next day in the city just hanging out. I woke up early to go to the pre-dawn mass, but couldn't really be bothered and just took it slow for the morning. I went to the immaculate Mountain View Hotel for lunch and to take in the spectacular views.
And I got to have coffee in the afternoon at the house of my guide Hailu, who was kind enough to invite me over. After coffee at his home, I rushed over to Ben Abeba to get some pics of the sun setting but was too late and a storm was coming.
On my last morning on Lalibela, I did catch a bit of the morning mass, and it was lovely.
Not wanting to be on the bus for two days, I opted to fly back from Lalibela to Addis for the 1.5 hour flight by way of Gonder. I met a nice fellow on the trip, who was a DJ in Dallas and split the cab back with me from the airport to Piazza. He had been complaining about the prices for expats were just barely lower than that of faranji.
It was nice to return to the Taitu Hotel, where many of the staff recognized and remembered me. I connected with a friend of my friend Phillip--a nice Jewish man named Izak who was living at the Taitu. He had been traveling the world for years and years, and we got to chat a lot about the Road. We also had a nice dinner with some Spaniard friends and I got to work on getting my Spanish back up to snuff ahead of my upcoming adventures in Central America.
I also had an amazing meal of fatira- a fried dough pancake with egg and honey inside. Yum. Also a glorious Swedish massage on my last day to make up for the rigors of the road and upcoming trek.
I left Addis in the wee hours of the morning for an unenviable trip home. I flew from Addis to Jo-Burg, some 6 hours and then had a 6 hour layover so I was met by an old friend Ryan whom I knew from the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship I did in Uruguay in 2007. We caught up and he took me for a kosher burger in Jo-Burg. He took me back to his house so I could relax ahead of my flight back on the longest direct route in the world.
I took the Jo-Burg-Atlanta flight back, which is seemingly endless. But end it did after almost 16 hours. I arrived back to 'Murica and greeted myself with a welcome home breakfast of Chickfila. Nothing could be finer.
After 35 hours of transit, I arrived home yesterday. I spent the day trying to stay awake long enough over the game Ticket to Ride before I could finally passed out. Back for a week or so before I head out again!