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July and August 2006
Festival Eritrea 2006
 

 

Festival Eritrea - August 3rd 2006

 

The plan to invite some friends to a kind of birthday party at the Festival Eritrea turns out not to be a good idea. Everyone is hours to late, except the daily rains. With a few friends I spent an hour drinking suwa and beer in one of the temporary restaurants, hiding for the rain. The guests do not have the patience to wait for better weather, so the party is cancelled and the rest of the day will be like most of the previous days of the Festival Eritrea, which is watching folkloristic dancing groups and exhibitions.

With one small exception: a correspondent from the local newspaper asks me if I am willing to do a short interview for the Eritrea Profile. Of course I agree, even feeling proud to do so. I tell him about my experiences during the festival and how I enjoy watching all the cultures of Eritrea, their music and dance, their beautiful dresses, their traditions, and their food, in a short time span and without the need of time consuming traveling through Eritrea. My holidays usually are to short to witness feasts in regions outside Asmara.  And of course I do not forget to tell him about my donation of some blood a few days ago.

I spend the remaining hours celebrating my birthday with anyone that is not in the financial position to make the most of this event: old men and women, children. I buy them snacks, a Coke or a Fanta, and beers. With my comfortable budget, and so many nice price snacks and drinks, it is easy to keep the party going until sundown. A birthday party with 17 bands that display traditional dances and songs. A feast in an atmosphere of familiarity, 6000 kilometers from my hometown, which is Rotterdam. Or maybe I should say, in my second hometown, Asmara.  

When I return to the house of Gebrehiwot in the evening, he and his family have organized a small birthday party for me, including gifts, beautiful roses, and a genuine birthday cake with "Happy Birthday Yohannes" written in chocolate letters on it! How can I ever thank them for all they did? I guess it will be a birthday I will not forget very quickly. With Gebrehiwot, his family, and his friends, I empty the (second) bottle of Johnny Walker from the tax-free shop in Amsterdam that I kept in my suitcase for this occasion.

  

Small scale trade - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Small scale trade - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Camel - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Camel - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Expo exhibition hall - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Expo exhibition hall - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Traditional dwelling - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Traditional dwelling - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Rashaida bride - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Rashaida bride - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Steam train ride - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Steam train ride - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Temporary bar and restaurant - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Temporary bar and restaurant - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Eritrean drama - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Eritrean drama - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Tigre women - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Tigre women - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Afar women - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Afar women - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Afar singer - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Afar singer - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

My birthday party - Asmara Eritrea.

My birthday party (04/08/2006 0:00) - Asmara Eritrea.

 

 
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