Eating the Flowers of Paradise: One Man's Journey Through Ethiopia and Yemen
Lured by idyllic memories of ancient cities, spectacular mountains and, most of all, dreamy afternoons spent chewing the psychoactive leaves of the Qat tree, Kevin Rushby set out to travel from the highlands of Ethiopia to Yemen. It was a fascinating and dangerous journey, peopled with an extraordinary array of characters -- criminals, Islamic scholars, an exorcist, and Cedric the travelling companion from hell. Eating the Flowers of Paradise combines classic travel writing with an explanation of the rich and varied culture surrounding the drug qat. Legal in the U.K. but banned in the U.S., experts variously claim to be as mild as tea or as addictive as cocaine. In the Yemen, it is central to the life of the country, and, as he goes, Rushby explores our attitudes towards substance abuse and addiction.