Ethiopia is far from being the never-ending desert of Western myth. The beginnings of tourist market centers arose around historical sites like old Azum (1st to 7th centuries AD) or like Lalibela (the site of rock hewn churches considered the unofficial eighth wonder of the world). The immeasurable environmental contrasts are extraordinary: a central plateau of fertile land, wide open deserts, and villages set in dense jungles. These treasures are enough to awe any visitor. The greatest attractions, however, are the people and their variety of traditions and cultures. With every expectation, you’ll be perplexed. In a country ravaged by drought, you’d expect to see deplorable poverty; instead, you find yourself immersed in proud cultures that cause the new observer to become intoxicated by mystery.