Tuesday, October 14, 2014


My organs still a little frozen, I ate a breakfast of toast and local honey, amazing Ethiopian coffee and drove to the city of Gondar. 

I relaxed in the sun and fed my fingertips with injera (a spongy pancake), spiced lentils, lamb and beets.  For dessert, I watched a coffee ceremony.  A woman knelt on dry grass and roast coffee on a skillet.  The plumes of white smoke were holier than incense.  She smashed the beans with a mortar and pestle and fed them into a clay pot with a spout so long and narrow, the grounds never poured out into the cups.  The cup was small.  The coffee was silky and sensual.  Folgers seems like the distant memory of a bad lover who stole my wallet in the morning.

After lunch, I visited the castles of Gondar.  Gondar used to be the capitol city of Ethiopia and generations of Kings built their stone castles there.  My favorite story was of the young woman who saved the traveling King’s life with medicine for malaria.  He brought her back from the village to his castle, died, and she became the ruler.  And among many other accomplishments of consequence I’m sure, she built a sweet underground stone sauna.  The steam rose up through circular holes in it which women on the top could bend over and use for facials!

The Italians screwed up some of the original stone by stuccoing it when they tried to take over for like 2 seconds.  But Ethiopia remains the only country in Africa that wasn’t colonized. 

After resting in my hotel WITH A BATH, and a little bit of the new Bridget Jones book, I went out with my guide to the Dashen beer garden, home of the famous Ethiopian Dashen beer.  I ate chicken and drank two beers of Dashen on tap.  Dashen is an amber beer with hops that hit all the right places.  Exactly the kind I’ve been missing in Uganda. 

It’s an interesting time to be living in Africa.  There’s a lot to talk and drink about: Ebola, Obama, Al Shabab, Anti-gay bill, Rhianna…  I promise you, if the shit hits the fan in Uganda or if Rhianna gets back with Chris Brown, I’ll leave.  

But until then, here’s to Obamba giving Al Shabab Ebola.   And god bless Rhianna.

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