Robert Schrader

Lalibela Made Me Sick

Lalibela, too, is purported to be more impressive when the land is greener (are you noticing a trend here?), but nothing could destroy the hype I'd built up about Bet Giyorgis, a cross-shaped, rock-hewn church that is perhaps the most ubiquitous monument in all of Ethiopia. It didn't disappoint, even if a guard stubbornly refused me entrance to it just minutes before the official afternoon opening time. (To be fair, he did absolve me later that evening by allowing me to photograph sunset.)

The rest of Lalibela was a huge let down, though, a tourist-town-in-the-making aspiring to be something like Siem Reap or even Cusco, but lacking reason to visit apart from religious pilgrims. (From being one or seeing them—I'm told they make for the most striking photos, even better than the lushest greenery.)

Lalibela disappointed me, but it was actually some soggy injera bread that made me sick, or perhaps one of the Ethiopia finger foods plopped on top of it. The silver lining, of course, was that I knew I wasn't missing anything as my food poisoning ate away at me, for the entirety of my second 48 hours in Lalibela.

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