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
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.
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.
Yodit and Jerusalem - Asmara
Modern interior of the Sweet
Asmara Caffee - Asmara Eritrea.
Old truck in Edaga Arbi - Asmara
Afabet Street - Asmara
Arab shuq (market) - Asmara
Hellen Meles is playing in a
movie! - Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.
Sunset - Harnet Avenue -