I arrived back to Tripoli at about 4:30am this morning, 24 hours later than expected due to a missed flight in Addis Ababa, and a day of reading in bed at a hotel. Sure, I would've loved to go exploring in downtown Addis, but there were a number of factors against me. 1 - I had no money, the unexpected cost of issuing another ticket and a hotel voucher cleaned me out. 2 - It was really raining cats and dogs. 3 - The little laminated piece of paper on the desk in my room advised "do not walk anywhere. Always use a reputable taxi company." 3 - The view of the slum below my first floor window didn't inspire much confidence.
That being said, as I was peering out the window some little kids spotted me and started waving madly. I waved back and opened the window. "How are you?" they chorused in unison. In typical response in any country where English isn't the first language, I replied "I am fine, how are you?" "I am fine!" they each replied. "What is your name?" one giggling girl asked me. "My name is Carly, what are your names?" And so I was introduced to Hannah, and Galina and the little boy whose name escapes me now. They asked me where I was from, did I like Ethiopia, is Australia nice. We had a lovely little chat, and then one of their mothers called for them, so as they departed, they stopped and turned back to me, each one calling out "Bye bye Carly, I love you," and blew me a kiss. Cute.
When I got back to the airport, drenched from the knees down following a run in the rain from the carpark to the terminal, I saw the man who I'd been stranded with the night before. He'd been so upset to have missed the flight as he had to get back to Lebanon to make preparations for his upcoming wedding. I caught his eye through the departure gate and gave him a thumbs up. We knew that we wouldn't miss this flight. We gave each other a high five as we walked down the stairs to the waiting bus. Of course, while the flight had left the previous night bang on time, our flight was delayed a good hour and a half. Such is air travel. And of course, I was seated across from the tired mother and undisciplining father of two boys, who had run riot in the departure lounge and proceeded to scream most of the 4 hour flight back. Not much sleep for Carly.
I've come into the office to finalise all the things I didn't have time to do before I left, like handing back this computer, and having a final discussion with my boss (who kindly took me out for coffee which is what seems to be propelling me now). Now it seems real that I'm leaving tomorrow. Japan awaits, with super duper high speed internet, and plenty of time to upload some of the fantastic shots I got on safari.
Peace out Lebanon!