There are few enviable components of 37 hours of airports and air travel. Worse still is lugging two backpacks through the process with a sling and four broken bones. Addis Ababa airport is icing on the proverbial cake (if you’re curious why, ask me in person and watch the subsequent contortions of my face). Nonetheless, there were two high points to flying Windhoek->Addis Ababa->Dublin->Washington DC->San Francisco: I witnessed incredible (but sadly un-photographed) fires blazing in the dark deserts of Egypt from my window seat, and I met an awesome researcher from Berkeley working on a solar probe for NASA on the last leg.
San Francisco meant friends, family, recovery, and the pains of leaving once again. I turned 33. I had a party. I ate all the foods I’ve missed in Michigan and Africa. I drank beer that wasn’t middling pilsners and lagers. I witnessed a friend crush a reading comprehension test while getting a lap dance at a burlesque show. I danced on stage with Girl Talk. I sang along with the songwriters from The Animaniacs. My shoulder began to feel fine. My ribs improved remarkably. I got sunburned. I slept in, or didn’t. Mostly, I was reminded about the amazing community I have in what’s been my chosen home. To all those members of that community, you once again have my heartfelt love, appreciation, and respect.
Two months of love and amelioration and it was time once again to return to Southern Africa. The proverbial show must go on. My path was nearly the same as before, but became a nearly 40 hour affair due to an unscheduled stopover in Lusaka, Zambia, supposedly for refueling, followed by a dauntingly long immigration queue in Windhoek (thanks in no small part to a large group of Chinese passengers in front of me who took over every immigration agent while the one of them who spoke English translated for each and every individual member of the party). Finally, I was dumped into the morass of jet-lag and the friendly hands of Sam, the owner of the C’est la Vie guesthouse, who had agreed to pick me up at the airport and take me to my last African home. We stopped for a beer on the way back. Windhoek Lager never tasted so good. Cheers to more adventures with an extra helping of safety!