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Eritrea November 2005
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November 2005
Walking through Eritrea

 

 

Agordat Eritrea - November 27th 2005

 

At 6:00 in the morning I wake up by the sound of truck that are leaving. Their drivers were sleeping on some beds in the court yard of the hotel. Their beds are empty. The hotel looks deserted. It is still dark. I wash my face and slip through the back door of the hotel. The place is not illuminated (electricity is switched off in Agordat from 23:00 up to 9:00) so I regret I left the hotel so early.

I decide to go the the district around the mosque, to try to find myself a typical Eritrean breakfast. And I am lucky. A few blocks from the mosque about twenty men are gathered in a kind of coffee shop. They drink coffee boiled in an enormous coffee pot, that looks a bit like an exhaust pipe of a truck.

I am invited by the men to drink coffee with them. A small personal pot (jebena) with coffee, spiced with 'gingibul', tasting a bit like pepper, and a small coffee cup (fenjal). Help yourself. It tastes very good. I order a second pot, as a compliment. A wonderful experience, only available for those who wake up early!  I ask if I can make a picture of the man. It is ok.

After finishing the second pot, I politely greet the men and resume my walk in the direction of the Barka river. Passing a small village with small huts, one of the women opens the wooden gate. I do not speak her language, but the meaning is clear: "come in". I accept the invitation, and shake her hand, but feel a bit uncomfortable, not able to start a conversation.

I cross the (dry) riverbed of the Barka river, joining a group of men, following the bank of the Barka river that is used a a road by the people, some tending their goats, or riding a mule. Hundreds of birds are hidden in the thick vegetation and Akat trees on the border of the river.

I follow a group of men with their goats. I assume they are on their way to Agordat. There is some very large snakes in the area. I know they prefer a goat to a to a tourist, so I feel safe in this group. The minaret of the mosque serves as a landmark to find one's way back to the center.

I spend the morning walking through Agordat, watching the stalls  and the shops, the tailors working in front of their shops and taking some rest and mineral water in one of the many small bars. Around noon I have lunch and find myself a bus to Keren. Three hours later the bus to Asmara is waiting to depart from the Keren bus station.

Just before sundown I am back in Asmara, to enjoy some beers in Bar Selas and diner in the wonderful Rendezvous (Italian) Restaurant in Semaetat Avenue.

 

Coffee for breakfast - Agordat Eritrea. 

Coffee for breakfast - Agordat Eritrea.

Grande mosque - Agordat Eritrea.

Grande mosque - Agordat Eritrea.

Boy in wheelchair - Agordat Eritrea.

Boy in wheelchair - Agordat Eritrea.

Carrying straw to the market - Agordat Eritrea.

Carrying straw to the market - Agordat Eritrea.

Women - Agordat Eritrea.

Women - Agordat Eritrea.

Men herding goats - Barka river Agordat Eritrea.

Men herding goats - Barka river Agordat Eritrea.

Traditional village - Agordat Eritrea.

Traditional village - Agordat Eritrea.

Orthodox church - Agordat Eritrea.

Orthodox church - Agordat Eritrea.

View over Agordat Eritrea.

View over Agordat Eritrea.

Health center - Agordat Eritrea.

Health center - Agordat Eritrea.

 

 
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