04 December 2007

the crazy and the Ethiopian food

Random quote from my sister’s friend after I whined about the other drivers on the slippery pass through the mountains: “Yeah, people up here get a Subaru and they think they can drive 80 over the pass.” (I saw what he meant yesterday when I noticed a tiny little Subaru station wagon – all wheel drive, like that gives you free rein to drive like a maniac on icy roads.)

As I was driving back down through the pass on the way home from Denver, in the dark, I drove around a curve that seemed very, very familiar. The only problem is that the curve I know that looks exactly like that is in Rwanda, about a kilometer before the bridge when you are going from Kibuye Province to Gitarama Province. “They are reusing scenery again.” I told my sister.

“Reusing it?”

“Yeah, I think they’ve used this curve before, in Rwanda.”


“Like the Truman Show, you know? The set designers are reusing scenery in the movie of my life.”

She might have thought I was a bit crazy.

Denver, by the way, is cool. I could live there. I’ve been there about 8 or 9 times, but always in the suburbs, which could be anywhere in Boring, U.S.A. This time we went straight downtown and shopped at the downtown mall. Except we didn’t buy anything except burritos at illegal pete’s, which is like chipo.tle or q.doba, but BETTER, because it’s local and also it’s a bar. Beer AND quality non-mass-produced burritos? What could be better?

I don’t like beer. So that could be better. But it’s the atmosphere I’m talking about.

Then we managed to buy all the Christmas presents for D’s family. The girls, at least. It’s hard for boys to shop for their sisters, apparently.


I’m only talking about that part so that I can talk about the GOOD PART, which was the copious consumption of Ethiopian food. When I first ate Ethiopian food, back in college, I wasn’t sure about that sour bread stuff. I felt like the sauces we had (it was a vegetarian Ethiopian restaurant) were not quite spicy enough to cover the fermented flavor of the injera. Then I went to Rwanda, where I happened to be friends, or at least acquaintances, with most of the Ethiopians in the country. I ate a lot of Ethiopian food.

(One time, I was invited over to this Ethiopian family’s house in Kigali and I was really excited, because I loved Ethiopian food, but unfortunately, the dad of the family had recently been having stomach problems and had been told by a doctor that goat was the best meat for his stomach problems, so all of the dishes involved goat meat. I hate goat meat. I hate goat meat because this one time we imported 85 big, meaty goats from South Africa, and the smell of 85 goats when they have been stuck in a pallet for 14 hours in the back of a DC-10, pooping and peeing and doing what goats do, is utterly terrible. I couldn’t breathe. The ammonia was burning my lungs. And there is the slightest hint of that smell in goat meat. So I can’t eat it. I had to literally choke down the sauces that I otherwise would have loved. But then their two little kids danced to Russian music – they had lived in Russia for a while – and spoke Russian to me, and it was so cute that I got over the goat meat.)

Now I love the injera. Plain, with sauces, whatever way I can eat it. I do still love the spicy sauces most, though. Doro wat, for example. A had to break out her favorite slogan during the meal: “Eat through the pain.” We did.

1 comment:

Monday's Child said...

"eat through the pain"??? can you explain please :-)