Where do I being? Well good afternoon from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yesterday (Tuesday) I boarded Ethiopian Flight 503 at 11:00 AM and arrived in Addis at 7:15 AM local time today (Wednesday). That was a flight like none I have experienced. Apart form it being an approximately 13 hour flight as advertised, I could have never guessed beforehand how it would unfold. To start, when I checked in online I chose a seat 5 rows down from the one assigned to me, as it was an isle seat which had an empty seat beside it and I hoped it would stay that way. But, as I made myself at home for the long journey I met the two people I shared that section of the row with; a woman born in Rwanda but raised in Toronto and a man from Cameroon who was raised in Canada, studied at the University of Frankfurt, and now is an officer within the Canadian Armed Forces. I now believe that it was God putting us three beside each other. I enjoyed a fine fish dinner, equipped with Ethiopian style and authentic cuisine specialities, and accompanied by a few very nice bottles of French dry-red wine. The flight began to take form very similar to the many flights I have been on, until an announcement was made by the flight crew that there was a medical emergency on the plane and any passengers with medical experience were asked to come forward. Although I don’t have medical experience, I am CPR certified and have had to respond to crisis events over the course of the last four years. Almost simultaneously, the Canadian Officer beside me and myself stood up and approached the flight crew member nearest to us. We were brought to a passenger who at first glance seemed unresponsive. She was a French speaker from Cameroon, traveling alone, who’s circumstances we only knew based on some brief conversations she had with other passengers prior to being unresponsive. After laying her down at the back of the plane, doing the ABCs (Airway, Breathing, and Circulation), and being told by another passenger that she was a diabetic with high blood pressure and heart problems, we then calculated her heart rate. With it being slightly lower than normal, we concluded that she was at least okay for the time being while we tried to solve the mystery. After a pharmacist (who appeared to be from an Arab country) and a physician (who appeared to be form the Northern US) joined the cause, we were able to conclude that she was in a state of Diabetic shock due to the lack of food and drinks she had since boarding. With this conclusion, the physician was then able to connect her to an IV and provide the appropriate ratio of fluids to bring her vitals back to a more stable condition. We then brought her to first class, where she was coherent and able to rest until we landed in Addis. Thank God she was okay and there were people on the flight to help.
I must say, of all the airlines I have traveled with and stewardess staff I have had, I really think Ethiopian airlines topped them all off. Between the fine cuisine and wine, the exceptional service, quick response to the emergency, and being able to provide updates to the Captain and Co-Piolit, it was a 10/10 experience. I am thankful to God that she was okay, because believe it or not medical response is somewhat limited when you’re in a tin sleeve, cruising at an altitude of 40,000 over the Atlantic.
Although I didn’t sleep much on the plane, I was able to watch shows like Thor, Die Hard, and Aquaman. Towards the end of the flight, my attention was shifted towards the window because we were beginning our decent into Africa through Egypt. The view of Ethiopia from he plane was excellent! I haven’t felt such excitement in a long-time. One thing I did notice while getting off the plane and onto the tarmac, was that the majority of first class was white with few in economy. Was not expecting such an obvious separation like I saw. Literally First class was almost all white wile economy was almost all black. Anyways, once we landed, my journey through the airport and to the Monarch Hotel was smooth. I was given a complimentary check-in upon arrival, even though that was 4 hours before the usual time, and had an amazing Ethiopian styled buffet breakfast with a delicious Omelet made for me. I then had I think the nicest nap of my life after an extremely refreshing shower. My room is very nice and has a view of the hotel. But I must say the highlight of my stay so far has been the staff. I have already made a friend. He is studying geography and political science at the University of Addis Ababa, but works here to support his sick mother and poor family. Great guy! He started me off with a fine Ethiopian strong beer, followed by a traditional medium-sweet red, which is what I am enjoying while writing this. I am sitting at the bar, with a fine glass of wine and, it would appear at least, am the only white guy at the hotel it seems – great find mom! After this I plan to journey down the road to Medhane Alem Cathedral, which is apparently the largest Church in all of Africa. I have been warned that the kids in Addis are excellent pick-pockets who work in pacts, so I will use extra caution. Then I am meeting up with a friend who I can finally put a face to- PK.
Well, that’s Day 1 so far. Want to thank you all for the ongoing prayers and overwhelming support. In the words of a good friend of mine, Rabiah, peace and love.