If there’s one thing I enjoy even more than 20+ hours on a plane, it has to be 20+ hours on a plane while sick and taking Cipro, proving once again that my superpower might just be my ability make travel uncomfortable.

I just wish I knew how to use it for good instead of evil.

I’m writing this from Ethiopia, where the Internet service at the guest house oscillates between appearing to be there (but not really — gotcha!) to not being there at all, which is frankly a lot better than it was the last time.

What lies ahead is the trip home, and while I’ll never look forward to time spent in the flying aluminum sausage, I can’t wait to be back.

Ethiopia remains a beguiling place; a poverty stricken country that is experiencing real economic growth, but still suffers all the usual third-world ills — most of which are on display right along the roadside.

It’s a place that makes me appreciate all I have (and if you read the Underground, you’ve probably got a lot) yet practically demands another visit.

Which obliquely brings us back to the part of the trip that weighs heaviest; we met little M2 at the orphanage and she’s sweet and happy and took to us right away, but at the end of the afternoon the best we could do was kiss her, promise her we’d come back for her as soon as we could, hand her back to the nanny, and try not to trip over the seams in the sidewalk because we were blinking back tears.

It’s not an experience I recommend.

imageI’m fully capable of ranting about the opaque nature of the international adoption process and the glacial work rate of the agencies involved (just ask the L&T). But I also have to acknowledge the unhappy reality that the fine line between adoption and the outright sale of children appears to have been crossed on occasion, and caution is probably the right course.

At least for everyone else.

We fly Saturday night, and should be at S.F. International by late Sunday, though probably not home until Tuesday or so. I expect I’ll occupy an ecological niche between cogent human being and living dead, but at least I’ll occupy it at home.

See you going home, Tom Chandler.

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