Eritrea - October 1st 2004
Today is reserved for private
activities that will last until 12:00. I take a bus to the center of
Asmara. Halfway the bus has to make an emergency stop for a pedestrian or a cyclist crossing in front of it. Some Eritrean women bounce against my
back. I am launched into a group of women in front of me.
One of them, standing behind
me, continues to hug my body. And when we leave the bus on Harnet Avenue,
she invites me to have a lunch in the Ambassador Hotel. A bit suspicious,
I ask her why she wants me to lunch with her. "You don't like
me?" I tell her that I like her, but I am not supposed to bring women
as souvenirs. My wife will not allow that. The message is clear.
The rest of the afternoon I walk in
the center of Asmara, trying to find the places of interest in my travel
guide. With a perfect climate, friendly people, remarkable architecture
and spotless, safe streets, Asmara is a pleasant place for long walks.
Palazzo Falletta, the name
suggests a palace, but it is the building with the Alitalia banner on the
roof. I must have passed it more then 100 times, not knowing its name. Bar Zilli opposite to the Shida
Monument, not only a building of archaeological interest, but also a nice
place to have a drink and have some rest.
From there in a big circle back
to the markets behind the bus station. There I buy some oranges in a
stall. I use a wooden crate as a chair and, eating the oranges, I observe
the people doing their shopping.
I visit the compound of the
Enda Mariam Coptic church. People are praying in front of it. Others, so handicapped
that they are unable to stand, are asking for some change. Here I keep my
promise to Rick Fortney. I sit down under a tree in one of the corners of
the compound, just watching the people.
In Pizzeria and fast food restaurant
The Sun I have a lasagna for diner. And when it gets dark I visit Bar Selas
to have some dark beers and tease Freweini with my camera. I peel the
Asmara Stout beer labels from the bottles for Hendrik
Children are selling roasted
peanuts for a Nakfa. Others have cigarettes as merchandize. I share the
peanuts with the men at my table, making pictures and fun. Many people
know me here now, and are greeting me when I am walking on the streets of
Pizza and spaghetti house -
Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Coffee ceremony (painting) -
Telecommunications office Asmara Eritrea.
Bar Zilli - Shida Square Asmara Eritrea.
Palazzo Falletta - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Bus station at Eritrea Square -
Nda Mariam Orthodox
Cathedral - Asmara Eritrea.
Nda Mariam Orthodox
Cathedral - Asmara
Pizzeria and fast food restaurant
The Sun - Asmara Eritrea.
Friends, Bar Selas - Asmara Eritrea.
Boy selling cigarettes and
chewing gum, Bar Selas - Asmara Eritrea.