Asmara Eritrea - September
After the climb to the Debre Bizen monastery it
is best to take some rest for one day. Muscular pains harass my not so well trained
I decide to visit the Asmara railway station
again. This time I walk between the two repairs shops to make lots of pictures.
They recognize me from last week, so nobody minds when I cross the rails to see
every inch of the terrain and enter the depots.
After my visit to the railway station, I walk to
the nearby Medeber markets. Here there are a lot of little workshops were
all kinds of household utensils are produced. In other workshops they produce a
mixture of spices called berbere. I decide to buy a few bags of these spices for
the girls at the office back home. I ask a man how to find good berbere.
"You can taste it" he tells me. "They usually sell three types
(1) just grinded chili peppers, (2) mixed spices with salt, and (3) mixed spices
without salt". He guides me to one of the workshops. I taste some of the
samples, and decide to buy the mixed spices without salt. 35 Nakfa for a kilo of
souvenirs. I ask the lady to divide it into four portions, so I can use them as
gifts. At the covered markets I buy some small colored
baskets to store the spices. The combination will make some nice gifts.
One of the things I did not manage to find
is the Eritrean business directory. The bookstores advise to try it at the
Asmara Chamber of Commerce. Not knowing the direction, I take a cab. When I
arrive at the office the gate is closed. "It's a holiday, sir", the
driver says to me. I try to remember what holiday. Shit, it is Sunday!. One tends
to forget the day of the week under these circumstances. The guy who is guarding
the office comes to me to ask what I want. I explain my situation and he invites
me to come in. In the corridor, I see the book I want to buy in a small
show-window against the wall.
The guard makes a phone call in Tigrinya, and
then tells me "please wait here, the manager will be here in about 30
minutes." And indeed, 30 minutes later I am sitting in the office of the
manager of the Asmara Chamber of Commerce, drinking Coca Cola and
telling about my experiences in Eritrea. "I will sell you the copy that you
saw in the corridor. We will replace it tomorrow". I pay him the price of
the book and we exchange business cards.
The rest of the day I try to enjoy the sun, the fruit
drinks, the cappuccino's and the food offered by the many restaurants in Asmara.
In the evening I visit the China Star restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal.
The Asmara railway station with maintenance
The diesel repair shop of the
Asmara railway depot.
The steam train depot in Asmara.
Antique loc waiting for
rehabilitation at the Asmara steam depot.
Entrance of Medeber markets and
workshops in Asmara.
Dried chili peppers at Medeber
Women preparing and selecting the
peppers for further processing.
Girls in one of the workshops -
processing "berbere", a mixture of spices.
Medeber markets - boys producing
kitchen materials from empty oil cans.
Medeber markets - more kitchen
utensils blinking in the sunlight.