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May 2004 - Celebrating the
13th anniversary of Eritrea
 
 

Asmara Eritrea - May 29th 2004

 

At 4:00 the women next to me wakes me up. Although she does not speak English, It is clean that the bus is leaving to Massawa. I get dressed and hurry to the bus. It is still dark and overnight I have forgotten the architectonical peculiarities of the hotel, and I fall from the elevation that serves as the bedroom. The other guest hasten to see if I am all right.

I go to the room where my camera bag is stored. It is still there, a bit hidden behind some cloth, just like I left it last night. Again my worried were unnecessary. The bus sounds its horn as a warning for the last missing passengers. During the two hours drive to Massawa in the dark and sitting on the oil can in front of the bus I exchange e-mail addresses with some girls in front of the bus.

In Massawa I have to leave the bus, and as promised I give the crew an extra 100 Nakfa as a reward for allowing me to share his bus and thereby rescuing me from an extremely hot and unpleasant Assab. The amount actually is less than the costs of one extra night in the hotel in Assab. He is glad with the big tip and makes sure I have a good seat in one of the new mini buses waiting for their passengers to Asmara.

During the trip to Asmara I have some sleep and at 8:30 I am at the bus station. First thing to do is have my shoes cleaned. I look like a tramp after three days dusty Assab and reward the boy who is shining my shoes with ten Nakfa instead of the usual two Nakfa. He is working hard for his money, so I think he earns it.

Second thing to do is to find the food I missed so much during the trip. I do not need a five star restaurant. After three days in the desert, the Mask Place is a good place to have a Mc Donald's type of breakfast. The vitamin tablets and two glasses of cold milk will to the rest to recuperate.

Just before returning to Terhas and Feshayes house I buy two  fresh breads and some Austrian cheese spread and share it with Hiab and Elilta, the children. They enjoy the fact that I, uncle from Holland, am feeding them. After taking a shower and changing clothes, I go back to the city center to walk in a slow pace, visiting the market and shops to buy myself a few souvenirs, resting every once and a while in front of one of the many cafés to have a mineral water (mai gaz) or an Asmara stout beer.

Walking through the center means passing the house of Freweini and Haile and Zewdi and Gebrehiwot. Luwam celebrated her birthday on May 25th. So sorry I wasn't there with a present. She treated me so nice! I did not forget the fantastic lasagna of the Castello restaurant, so I do my best to find this cozy restaurant, a few hundred meters from the Sunshine hotel, to have diner there. And a delicious fruit mix as a desert.

In the Selas Bar behind the Arab shuq I will spend the rest of the evening, celebrating whatever there is to celebrate. with a few bottles of Asmara stout beer. The owner, Berhe and his two daughters, Lem Lem and Freweini, know me by now. But they do not allow me to take a picture. They have told me that UN personnel recently took some not so nice pictures (pornography) and that's why these people are anxious to appear before my camera.

 

Alla Scala Hotel - Asmara Eritrea.

Alla Scala Hotel - Asmara Eritrea.

UNMEE calendar with drawings of Ethiopian school children.

UNMEE calendar with drawings of Ethiopian school children.
With these kind of gestures the UN is trying to speed up the
Eritrean - Ethiopian fraternization, starting with the children. 

Josief petting the baby goat - Asmara Eritrea.

Josief petting the baby goat - Asmara Eritrea.

Yodit and Jerusalem - Asmara Eritrea.

Yodit and Jerusalem - Asmara Eritrea.

Modern interior of the Sweet Asmara Caffee - Asmara Eritrea.

Modern interior of the Sweet Asmara Caffee - Asmara Eritrea.

Old truck in Edaga Arbi - Asmara Eritrea.

Old truck in Edaga Arbi - Asmara Eritrea.

Afabet Street - Asmara Eritrea.

Afabet Street - Asmara Eritrea.

Arab shuq (market) - Asmara Eritrea.

Arab shuq (market) - Asmara Eritrea.

Hellen Meles is playing in a movie! - Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Hellen Meles is playing in a movie! - Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Sunset - Harnet Avenue - Asmara Eritrea.

Sunset - Harnet Avenue - Asmara Eritrea.

 

 
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