National Geographic : 1931 Jun
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE assistance in the development of our coun try." A recent step in this direction istheap pointment of an American financial adviser. The Ethiopians are convinced, and have convinced me since I have lived and trav eled in their country, that while modern Ethiopia may not come to be, with respect to our world, what ancient Ethiopia was to the world of Solomon, it does have geo graphical position and exceptional natural resources which entitle it definitely to a place in the international spotlight. My friend the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs says: "We are the only purely native-governed State in Africa. We have a culture as old as any, with our own literature and our own grammatical language. Our country has the longest continuous history of stable sovereignty in the world." CORONATION DAYS IN ADDIS ABABA BY W. ROBERT MOORE Staff Photographer,National Geographic Society FOR years Ethiopia had high position in the list of special places, selected in my map wanderings at home, which I se cretly hoped to visit; yet it seemed highly improbable that I should ever have my hopes fulfilled, when, out in Bangkok, Siam, a fairy waved her wand in the form of a radiogram from the National Geo graphic Society giving me the assignment of visiting Ethiopia to make a natural-color record of the coronation ceremonies. I read unbelievingly, faltered, and within two weeks had temporarily deserted my family and was on my way to Singapore to embark for Djibouti en route to Addis Ababa. Djibouti, on the French Somali coast, at the west end of the Gulf of Aden, where we disembarked early one morning, is the chief gateway to Ethiopia. After a wait of three days in this sweltering port I proceeded by train to the capital. DIPLOMATS DON GOLD BRAID AND PLUMES Our train stopped for a time a short distance outside the city to allow the dip lomatic representatives to plunge into the depths of their trunks in the luggage van, so that when they emerged from their cars at the station they appeared in all the gold braid, plumes, and glittering medals of full official dress; for as the various delega tions arrived at the capital they were greeted with official honors, in a brief re ception at the new railway station, by the Crown Prince and high officials. Then they were escorted by a troop of cavalry to their respective legations or to the homes they were to occupy during their visit. Upon the arrival of the representatives of the three countries having neighboring colonies-France, England, and Italy His Majesty the Emperor accorded them a special reception, he being present at the station to welcome them to the city. After a day or two in Addis Ababa, I attached unto myself a young man, "Fri day," to act as interpreter and camera bearer. His arms proved to be somewhat stronger than his linguistic abilities or his influence in getting various subjects to pose before my camera lens. But, except for getting himself in police court twice in as many days-once for arising while it was yet dark, in order to come to my hotel on a morning when I was to photograph some priests at early mass, and again for quarreling over changing a bill that I had given him to buy some clean clothes-Friday served me well. For my own comfort, I considered hir ing a mule to ride. But that would have necessitated one or more gun-bearers to make my retinue complete in the sight of the Ethiopians, and, as I had no gun, I had to forego that pleasure and luxury and walk as much as possible to avoid the ex orbitant taxi fares. The taxi men had such a keen desire to let the coronation visitors cover the last payments and the year's overhead expenses on their cars that the Emperor eventually had to issue a bulletin stating the maxi mum rates that could be charged between various points in the city. The hotels, too, were pressed to the limit for accommodations, and prices mounted.