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Eritrea September 2002
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 2002 Touring through Eritrea
 

 

Asmara Eritrea - September 22nd 2002

 

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 body.

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 railcar

The Asmara railway station with maintenance railcar.

)The diesel repair shop of the Asmara railway depot.

The diesel repair shop of the Asmara railway depot.

The steam train depot in Asmara.

The steam train depot in Asmara.

Antique loc waiting for rehabilitation at the Asmara steam depot.

Antique loc waiting for rehabilitation at the Asmara steam depot.

Entrance of Medeber markets and workshops in Asmara.

Entrance of Medeber markets and workshops in Asmara.

Dried chili peppers at Medeber market Asmara.

Dried chili peppers at Medeber market Asmara.

Women preparing and selecting the peppers for further processing.

Women preparing and selecting the peppers for further processing.

Girls in one of the workshops - processing "berbere", a mixture of spices.

Girls in one of the workshops - processing "berbere", a mixture of spices.

Medeber markets - boys producing kitchen materials from empty oil cans.

Medeber markets - boys producing kitchen materials from empty oil cans.

Medeber markets - more kitchen utensils blinking in the sunlight.

Medeber markets - more kitchen utensils blinking in the sunlight.

 

 
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