In Defense of Long Layovers
A long lay-over brought me here to Haile Selassie’s palace – and to history. Save for a period of Italian occupation during World War II, Haile Selassie reigned over Ethiopia from 1930 until 1974, at which point famine and mutiny drove him into house arrest for the remainder of his life. But the presence of the 225th and last emperor of Ethiopia still stalks the capital of Addis Ababa, where his palace — set among palm gardens full of smirking undergrad couples — now holds the capital’s Ethnological Museum. There, in Selassie’s well-preserved chambers, visitors can contemplate in quiet solitude one of the strangest artifacts in a city choked by traffic and propelled by the engine of Africa’s fastest-growing economy.