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
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.
Grande mosque - Agordat Eritrea.
Boy in wheelchair - Agordat Eritrea.
Carrying straw to the market - Agordat Eritrea.
Women - Agordat Eritrea.
Men herding goats - Barka river Agordat Eritrea.
Traditional village - Agordat Eritrea.
Orthodox church - Agordat Eritrea.
View over Agordat Eritrea.
Health center - Agordat Eritrea.