Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Final Wander in Harar

My final day in Harar was spent walking and exploring in search of those places i had not yet found. (Yes, i know i could have just paid someone to show me all of the hidden gems of the old city, but it is more fun for me to find them myself.)
I changed some money at the bank, which was slow but painless. At this point, after three days here, everywhere i go - including the bank - i am running into people i have already met. It's a bit more friendly social interaction than i am used to, but everyone is very nice and, contrary to what i had read beforehand, not everyone is after your money.

Anyway, i walked back through the colorful chaos of the market around the Shoa Gate and went through the part where the sell the incense used in coffee ceremonies. I then wandered somewhat aimlessly, but with the goal of leaving no nook unseen. I walked down to the livestock market, which is a large open area outside the city walls where there is a daily sale of cows, sheep, and goats. It seemed to lack any order, but i had a nice time walking through and taking in the scene.

I then found the one one thing that had been eluding me, even though i had, as it turned out, walked by it several times: Emir Nur's tomb. Emir Nur was the fellow who apparently built the walls around the old city, which is notable and i understand that it is a very important shrine for the city, but the reason i wanted to see it is because it looks so weird, like a spiky, green avocado.  It was not only weird looking, but very peaceful and was worth the hunt.
After that it was time for a coffee, which i had in what appeared to be e back room of a shop, under a roof made of UN refugee tarps. They went through the whole coffee ceremony, lighting incense, roasting the beans over hot coals, pounding the beans in a mortar with a pestle, and the boiling the coffee with water in a clay jug over a fire. Fantastic. I don't know why they aren't offering this manner of coffee preparation at the slow bar at Seattle Coffeeworks. They could charge $20 a cup and hipster coffee fiends would gladly pay.

Anyway, while i was waiting for the coffee, it started to pour rain to such a degree that leaving became an impossibility. So i waited it out, watching the rain and the group of people who had also taken shelter within. When the rain stopped, i meandered back to my hotel for smoking and reading.

That was pretty much my day. Satisfying and relaxing. I'm ready for the next stop on my itinerary: Gondar.

1 comment:

Alan Forsythe said...

I think someone needs to bring really slow coffee to North America, and yes by someone I mean me. It's sounds like it might just be the best coffee in the world, and you're right hipsters would pay $20 a cup for it. Isn't great that a I can turn a centuries old tradition in a far off African country into an idea for filthy lucre - yay capitalism!