Well, this was certainly going to be a Xmas to remember and not in a good way. We left Lalibela extremely late on our Ethiopian Airlines flight and then had to endure most of the full tourist circuit as we took off and landed in Gonder and then Bahir Dar before getting to Addis. Since we were an hour late when we landed in Gonder, they advised us that the ground time would be 3 minutes and it pretty much was. However, all their attempts to make up for lost time could not compensate fully and when we landed in Addis we had only 25 minutes to make our next flight to Dire Dawa, 500 km or so east of Addis.
We flew through the airport as if in training for the Amazing Race, bags in hand and despite the radioing ahead in Lalibela where we had been told that there would be someone in Addis to meet us and expedite us through, there was no help. Breathless we got to the counter and they called to the plane and agreed to let us board. We ran through security and down the stairs to the bus to the plane. Our bags were on a tractor with some mail bags right beside the bus.
As we sat down Kurt saw our bags being driven away from the plane. I tried to tell 2 Ethiopian Airlines staff about it and they just dismissed me. The plane took off and we had a very sickening feeling in our stomachs which turned out to be warranted. Upon arrival in Dire Dawa we had no bags. Merry Xmas from Ethiopian Airlines.
We will spare you the gory details and the profanities about the terrible treatment that we have received to date from the Airline which started with them kicking us out of the airport in Dire Dawa. We had to cancel our plans and return to Addis to look for our bags and 6 days later there is still no sign of them and so far our compensation from the airline has only been $50 which it turns out does not go very far when you need to buy new clothes and toiletries in an expensive city where they try to make you pay even more as a “farengi”.
It is safe to say that we are not and have not been having a good time since Lalibela. There are moments of fun, but all we want now is to come home and get over our flea and bed bug bites and eat good food! We are waitlisted on an earlier flight, but will have to fight with the airlines to see if we can make it so. In the course of our troubles we have heard horror stories from other travellers so realise that this is a common occurrence and our plight is not really that bad.
Depending on our mood I may or may not write again. Since I lost my card reader I can’t download any photos which is why there aren’t any with our last story and we have also both lost our battery chargers so can’t take any photos – not that we are inspired to do so. Please keep your fingers crossed that they actually find our bags and it’s a good New Year.
Otherwise, we wish you all Happy New Year 2008 and look forward to catching up with you at home and as my New Year’s resolution I vow to never complain about Air Canada again! : )