The last two days have been pretty horrific. After almost three weeks in Axum we were due to fly back to Addis on Tuesday morning. Everything was going smoothly - we got to the airport at 8am, checked in and even went through to the "departure lounge" when disaster struck. The plane - a rather flash Boeing 737 - arrived and the ground staff tried to get the steps out but they jammed. After lots of step pushing and shoving they still wouldn't move - the passengers onboard had to climb down a ladder put on a trailer to make it high enough.
To cut a very long and hideous story short-ish we spent 11 hours at the airport on Tuesday as other Addis-bound passengers came and went. We couldn't go on those flights for some reason we had to wait for technicians to arrive and mend the steps - which they couldn't.
At 6.30pm we were sent back to Axum for the night. The next morning it all started again. We went to the airport and waited.....and waited....a flight coming from Addis for us had to be turned back. Other flights - again - came and went.
At about lunchtime it all got too much for me and after shouting at Mr Ethiopian Airlines man I burst into tears. Must be feeling particularly hormonal at the moment! Little good it did - we were sent back to Axum for lunch. The restaurant in the airport has been closed.
We eventually left Axum airport at about 4pm last night - miserable, irritated and exhausted.
When I was thinking about blogging yesterday I was so furious I couldn't think of anything good to have come out of the experience. Ethiopian Airlines failed to tell us what was happening, we never got priority over other passengers and no one apologised until we actually boarded the plane to Addis two days after the ordeal started.
But now I'm back at home and feeling less angry the one thing that was good was the camaraderie with the other passengers. There was a group of women villagers, some other journalists and a couple of Ethiopian/Americans on a pilgrimage - they were all great and helped keep us informed and cheered us along when our spirits were flagging.