From the Publisher
“The Bradt Guide has almost everything you need to read about the country’s history, tourist attractions and hotels, and proves itself to be an invaluable companion while in the country." SX News
"Thorough and reassuring, it provides all the practical and background information to make readers leap from their armchairs and visit this vast, magical country." The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"Essential reading for anyone with the remotest interest in Ethiopia ... a complete reference book to Ethiopia as well as an excellent travel guide." Travel Africa
"Highly personal and informative guidebook ... his enthusiasm is reflected in every chapter." Business in Africa
"An indispensable handbook for anyone wishing to visit Ethiopia." The Guardian(UK)
Read an Excerpt
I don’t know where else to put this, and you do eat it! Chat is a mildly stimulating leaf that is traditionally popular with Muslims (who are forbidden from drinking alcohol) and is now chewed throughout Ethiopia. For readers who have visited Kenya, it is pretty similar to miraa, though I gather not exactly the same plant (and you see few Ethiopians with the manically glazed eyes I’ve come to associate with miraa-ed out Kenyans).
Chat ceremony is generally a social thing. The idea is for a few people to gather in a room, where you each grab a few branches, pick off the greenest leaves, pop them into your mouth one by one, mush it all up into a cud, chew for a few hours and then, with whatever strength is left in your jaw, spit out the remaining pulp. Ideally, you devote the afternoon to group mastication, then go for a few beers to neutralise the sleeplessness that the leaves induce. The leaves taste very bitter so a spoonful of sugar helps it all go down. Now, I must admit that to me the effort involved in spending the afternoon chewing myself into foul-tasting oblivion holds little appeal especially when all sorts of cheap, pleasant-tasting, no-effort-required alcoholic substances are available in Ethiopia but chat has its devotees among travellers. It must be said that not everybody will spend their spare Ethiopian afternoons dashing about towns, plotting maps and checking out hotel rooms. As an Ethiopian friend says: ‘chat ceremony is good for killing time’.