Road To Ethiopia, The Travel That Broadens The Mind
As the world shrinks and high streets start to look more similar across the world, it is rare to find yourself somewhere that really feels different. Ethiopia provides that wonderful feeling of strangeness. It reminds one that travel can still broaden the mind. The famine-torn Ethiopia of 1984-5 is a distant memory, although this is still a very poor country and very much two countries in one. There is the massive building boom in the capital, Addis Ababa, where modern glass buildings are going up side by side with tiny street lock up shops.
Many of the women dress like in any European capital. People talk on their mobiles. There are good restaurants and hotels. Out in the country, one steps back in time to wooden ploughs drawn by oxen, women in traditional dress, children offering to shine your shoes for pennies, poverty but with enough to eat. I never saw a child with a bicycle.