National Geographic : 1965 Apr
isolated is it that we went in by helicopter. A young woman in Western sports clothes stepped out of the crowd ringing our school yard landing field. "I'm Hirut Desta," she said, extending her hand, and we knew her to be one of the Em peror's granddaughters. During our Lalibela stay we often saw this trim, most democratic of princesses. She was building a modern hotel against an expect ed flood of tourism, and she was not above grabbing a tool from a workman, I suspect, and showing him how to use it. Once, when our chartered helicopter came to fetch us from outside the village, we saw that it had a 560 passenger. Out stepped the lielt (princess). "I hope you don't mind my hitching a ride," she said. "It's fun to fly." "What could a man do?" said our French pilot. "Not only is she a princess, but she has such beautiful eyes." Princess Hirut had a Land-Rover, one of those sturdy English vehicles built for rough cross-country travel. "You must have had it flown in a piece at a time," I remarked, for although we, too, used a Land-Rover, a special one with bunks, cookstove, and a winch for pulling itself out of mud (page 553), we had not dared tackle the rugged road to Lalibela.