(Ethiopia : The historic route, a John Douglas Art video on Youtube)
My friend Mohit often talks of his childhood in Addis. He tells me that great weather, ditto food and a benevolent despot made for a good time in the sixties Addis. So, we have decided to do a trip back there; ‘a return to roots’ for a beef-eating, hard-drinking, wise-cracking, displaced baniya from UP.
Co-incidentally, the last issue of the National Geographic magazine featured an Ethiopia tour among the 50 Tours of a Lifetime. So, the gods seem to be telling me to go. And in the face of such clear signs, I cannot hesitate. So sometime in 2008, I shall go to Ethiopia.
My knowledge of Ethiopia is heavily coloured by the many Time magazine cover photos of starving children and I cannot escape a certain squeamishness. But, I also happen to know some little bit of the ancient culture of the Amharic people, their Christian roots, their Islamic heritage and their food. So, it does look like a place real travellers go to.
Plus, in my stamp-collecting days, long gone now, I had a vivid blue stamp of Haile Selassie. Talk of signs.