Asmara Eritrea - October 10th 2003
The first day in Asmara is reserved for our
financial business and family visits. In the Damera bar we have a cappuccino and
a donut for breakfast. The girls and the waiter recognize us. They started a
pension above the bar. We did not check the facilities, but it must be one of
the best locations in Asmara to stay. Center of the city, balconies, nice price.
"Will you mention our pension in your story?" Of course we will do
At 7:30 (30 minutes before it opens) there
already is a queue of at least 15 people in front of
the Housing and Commerce Bank. Fortunately we meet a friend who works for this
bank. Via the back entrance we pass the guards armed with Kalashnikovs.
"They are guarding a lot of money", our friend explains. He shows us
his office and guides us to the proper desks and offices. Within the hour we are
back on the street.
Then we visit Mebrats mother and
brother in Sembel village. While Mebrat takes a taxi, I prefer to walk the
last two kilometers. So much to see on the streets. Friendly people, curious
kids. A car stops right next to me. "Where are you going sir?" I
explain my situation. "You have family here?" The taxi's are cheap and
it is quite unusual to walk. He must have thought I was lost.
When I arrive at the house of Mebrats mother
she asks if I have seen Alana. The kid went out to meet me, but we did not run
into each other. After half an hour the poor child comes in. She had been
waiting at the bus stop, not knowing I came by foot. I apologize for not
bringing any gifts. They are still in the suitcase at home. We drink Coca Cola
and Eritrean coffee.
After our visit to Mebrats mother Mebrat will
go to the pizzeria of her girlfriend Terhas to make phone calls to the many
people that will receive an envelope of their family in Holland, and to get rid
of the rest of the valuable cargo. I will visit the house of Freweini and
Haile. We drink some tea. Their son Michael will guide me efficiently to the
hotels, restaurants, car rentals and travel agents to check the prices.
At 20:00 I am finished, Michael will go to
his house and I will have "diner" in the Mask Place, a kind of
McDonalds in Asmara. On my way home to the house of Zewdi and Gebrehowot I see a
woman with a small baby sitting on the street. It is clear that she must be in a
very pitiful situation. Not able to talk to her I leave her some change.
House of Zewdi and Gebrehiwot, our temporary residence in Asmara.
Zewdi (l) and Gebrehiwot (r), our friends and host family for 2 weeks.
Luwam, Zewdi and Gebrehiwot's daughter.
Hagosa "hallo Hannes", housekeeper of the family.
City Park, near the government buildings - Asmara.
Catholic cathedral in Harnet Avenue - main street of Asmara.
Fish market in Harnet Avenue - main street of Asmara.
Impero Cinema in Harnet Avenue - main street of Asmara.
Damera bar & pension in Harnet Avenue - main street of Asmara.
Damera bar & pastry in Harnet Avenue - main street of Asmara.