Pole to Pole
Day 83: Addis Ababa
The coffee, needless to say, is excellent, sharp and fresh and powerful.
The ceremony, Belai tells me, should take an hour - twenty minutes for the preparation and forty minutes for the drinking. We spend at least forty minutes drinking and talking over the recent 'take-over', as people here prefer to call it. Someone points out that the removal of Mengistu was not a revolution, that the revolution happened in 1974 when Haile Selassie was overthrown. What happened in May was just putting it back on course.
Neggar is optimistic that things will get better, particularly if farmers are allowed to farm their own land and sell their own produce, but at the end of it all Nick sums up the difference between now and then.
'Six months ago we couldn't have sat here and talked like this. Under Mengistu Ethiopia was to all intents and purposes a closed country.'
Belai's hospitable wife and family have prepared supper for us as well and it's my first experience of a staple of the Ethiopian diet - injera. Injera is made from a low-grade cereal called tef. It is not unlike a rubber mat in size and consistency, sour to the Western palate but very useful for mopping up the various side dishes - an all-purpose spicy stew known as a wat, spinach, and a feta-like cheese. A meady liquor called tej completes a collection of unfamiliar tastes.
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