A Travellerspoint blog

Day 194 – Habesha 2000

3rd April 2012

sunny 20 °C

With all our paperwork moving as fast as we could make it, it was time for us to get the car parts and take a breather. What should have been an easy day became very stressful as tensions rose for no apparent reason other than we were stuck in traffic and clearly not communicating very well. After a long detour we found our spare parts dealership and all the parts we needed bar for the alloy wheel nuts that caused our original problem.

We replaced the rear windscreen and Laura met a group of three Swedes and two Americans who invited us to join them for dinner at Habesha 2000. Habesha is Amharic for Ethiopian, the ‘2000’ suffix probably made it sound modern and trendy fifteen years ago, for now it sounded like we were going to the kebab house but we’d heard big things about Habesha. It was a place where traditional Ethiopian music and dance was combined on stage whilst you tucked into a little bite to eat.

Seven of us commandeered a minibus to take us across town, but unfortunately too many cooks, combined with a local lady who was going int the ‘same’ direction led to a back and forth journey across town searching first for an area called ‘Howlett’ and secondly for a road named ‘Howlett Road.’ The second proved more successful and tiptoeing across used tyre ‘stepping stones’ across a huge puddle of city filth we found Habesha 2000.

We ordered traditional food, one fasting and one non-fasting, and we tucked into the injera and spices. The dancers were something else. Beautiful men and women shaking shoulders, breasts bellies and hips at unbelievable frequencies. Singers supported by an on stage band of drums, tin whistle and three variations on string instruments, two plucked and one bowed. The dancers even ventured into the crowds to dance with the would-be spectators that had become, not always voluntarily, participants. It was an incredible evening, despite there being a number of white faces in the crowd, it was about fifty-fifty, tourists and locals and it was the locals who shone when a dance rquest was placed upon them. White men can’t dance, nor can white women it would seem as big nervous smiles made up for an awkwardness that would fundamentally prevent stylish dancing. The Ethiopians however, seemed to have been born to do this, they jerked their shoulders at rate that made focusing difficult, they shook their heads so fast that their long curly hair stood vertically on end as it flashed through the air and generally went one on one with the dancers for artistic supremacy. Like bashful Brits we avoided the disgrace of dancing like dropped jellies; we really didn’t want to spoil it for everyone else.

Posted by ibeamish 21:47 Archived in Ethiopia

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