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Eritrea November 2006
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Touring through Eritrea
November and December 2006
 
Asmara and surroundings
November and December 2006
 

 

Asmara Eritrea - November 17th 2006

 

The second day again is for family, friends, my agenda. Walking through Asmara, adapting to the Eritrean way of life. no stress, people that make you feel welcome. For some of them I brought some souvenirs from Holland, like a 2007 calendars with windmills, cattle, modern and mediaeval architecture. And small stuff for the children. I cannot satisfy them all. Too many small nieces and nephews. The pictures of my last two trips are most appreciated. 

Any changes or improvements? Coming back after three months, I cannot observe much changes. Prices of agricultural products dropped because of the good rains and harvests, so life is a bit better for those who have to live on a fixed monthly wage or pension. Some buildings in Asmara's main street are packed in blue plastic, architecture on the CARP list, under renovation.

To get a travel permit takes an extra day, because the application will pass an extra security check. Nacfa, Afabet, Adi Quala, Agordat, Barentu and Tesseney - unfortunately - are not an option for regular tourists because of "security reasons". Tourist are complaining, and I am a bit disappointed. But we should not forget that these and other measures are the result of the "no war, no peace" stalemate, which has an immense impact on the poor population of both Eritrea and Ethiopia. Their complaints are ignored by the entire western world, including the United Nations.

Hot news is about the Ethiopians chasing the Muslim militia in Somalia. Abdirashid explains: "The Ethiopians have good arguments to tidy their Somali back yard. The Ethiopians took the Ogaden by force some decades ago. A powerful Somali government will reclaim this area, supported by the Ogaden National Liberation Front. This is a good reason to support a weak Somali puppet government. At the same time the Ethiopians is doing the United States a big favor. The United States - unwilling to burn their hands again in Somalia, and who see Ethiopia as a vital ally in their "war on terror" - will support the Ethiopian incursions with arms that will eventually be used against Eritrea in a new round of wars. For the United States democracy is a noble goal, as long as it isn't a Muslim democracy."

But life goes on for both the Eritreans and their "brothers and sisters" on the Ethiopian side of the, still  not demarcated, border. "The only thing positive about Woyane (the Eritrean nickname for these brothers and sisters) is HIV", is the harsh statement of one of the visitors of the bar. It seems extremely unlikely that the Ethiopian regime will ever exercise effective control over Eritrea as long as Eritreans are so explicit on their Woyane brothers and sisters. While many Ethiopians are still hysterical with anger and grief over the "loss of Eritrea" and Eritrea's acceptance by world bodies, a large majority of the Eritrean people cherish their independent nation.

I drink a few beers with the men, who admire the calendar I brought for Tesfai. Abdirahid wants me to give him a similar one. But I only have a few of them. For those people that made my previous tours to Eritrea unforgettable. Freweini, Tesfai's daughter shows me the euro coins from various European countries I brought her in May this year. She does not speak a word of English. But I guess it is her way of saying "You did not forget me, I did not forget you as well".

The afternoon again is for family visits, coffee ceremonies and attempts to update my agenda for the coming three weeks. I follow the advice of Rainer, a tourist from Germany, to read my e-mail in the Cyber cafe of the TSE office next to the Telecommunications building in Harnet Avenue. Although even in this internet cafe connections are not fast, it is the best place to read your web mail.

Travel House International  takes care of the confirmation of my return flight on December 10, so I can travel through Eritrea when my permit is ready, without any further delays of administrative nature.

  

University Testing and Training Center - Asmara Eritrea.

University Testing and Training Center - Asmara Eritrea.

University Testing and Training Center - Asmara Eritrea.

University Testing and Training Center - Asmara Eritrea.

Commercial Bank of Eritrea - Asmara Eritrea.

Commercial Bank of Eritrea - Asmara Eritrea.

Shops and apartments - Keren Street Asmara Eritrea.

Shops and apartments - Keren Street Asmara Eritrea.

Aster making Hembesha (traditional bread) - Asmara Eritrea.

Aster making Hembesha (traditional bread) - Asmara Eritrea.

Residential house - Tiravolo Asmara Eritrea.

Residential house - Tiravolo Asmara Eritrea.

Fish and vegetable markets - Asmara Eritrea.

Fish and vegetable markets - Asmara Eritrea.

Fish and vegetable markets - Asmara Eritrea.

Fish and vegetable markets - Asmara Eritrea.

Taxi driver polishing the engine of his Hyundai Kia taxi.

Taxi driver polishing the engine of his Hyundai Kia taxi.

Small shop - Souk Asmara Eritrea.

Small shop - Souk Asmara Eritrea.

 

 
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