Eating the Flowers of Paradise: One Man's Journey Through Ethiopia and Yemen

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Palgrave Macmillan, May 30, 2000 - Social Science - 336 pages
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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.

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Eating the flowers of paradise: a journey through the drug fields of Ethiopia and Yemen

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The title refers to qat, a leaf that when chewed produces a hypnotic effect. When Rushby was teaching English in Yemen, he became enraptured by the drug, which is central to Yemeni social life. Back ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Kevin Rushby has lived and worked in Sudan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Yemen. He is the author of "Children of Cali: Through India in Search of Bandits, the Thug Cult, and the British Raj"; "Eating the Flowers of Paradise: A Journey Through the Drug Fields of Ethiopia and Yemen"; and "Chasing the Mountain of Light: Across India on the Trail of the Koh-I-Noor Diamond". He lives in York, England.

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