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2003 - Part of the family

Asmara Eritrea - May 12th 2003


In snack bar Cathedral I have breakfast. Even before the breakfast is served a young man shares my table and tells me he is poor and is in big problems. It is almost impossible to ignore him, so I reverse the conversation. "Why don't you try to find a job?". He tells me it is difficult to find a job, and asks if I need a guide. "If I need a guide, why should I hire a man as impudent as you?" I try to discourage him. He asks me if I will pay for his tea, that is already ordered. I do not want more arguments for just one Nakfa, so I promise him to pay his tea if he will drink it at another table. He understands. No chance with this tourist.

I have an appointment with an Italian man who was a close friend of the man that was buried in a grave unknown to his family in the US. He tells me where his friend is buried. But I will not be able to find the exact spot, because there is no monument or crucifix on the grave. Maybe the municipality knows, but it will take some research.

I understand I need an invitation for the ceremonies on May 24th, so I take the bus to the main office of Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice. It appears that the invitations are not printed yet, so I will have to come back a few days before the ceremonies. It will be no problem to get an invitation, but something like a press card, needed to be closer to the show will require a more thorough investigation. I will come back for just an ordinary invitation. The paperwork necessary for the press card may disturb the plans to go to Assab.

When I am back in the center another man intrudes himself as a guide. But this time it is a quite polite man with good knowledge of English. He guides me to various addresses with great efficiency and advises shortcuts to travel from one part of Asmara to other parts, thus saving me both time and money for unnecessary taxi's. He tells me he used to work on ships, but is temporary unemployed. He too needs some money. Although I am free to say no, I think he did a great job guiding me through the town and reward his services with 50 Nakfa.

At the bus station and with the help of my guide I buy the ticket for the trip to Assab on May 14th, the first opportunity. They give me number of the license plate of the bus and the instruction to be at the bus station at 4:00. The advanced booking will result in seat #2, which is the seat next to the driver


Cathedral - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Brand-new Hyundai bus - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Dutch Embassy - Asmara Eritrea.

Painting of the landscape near Massawa - Sunshine Hotel Asmara.

Selam Hotel - Asmara Eritrea.

Reception of the Selam Hotel.

Asmara swimming pool.

Sign-board of the Eritrean railways office Asmara.

The outskirts of Asmara - the "shortcut" to Edaga Arbi.

The outskirts of Asmara - the "shortcut" to Edaga Arbi.


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