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November - December 2007
Walking through Eritrea

 

November - December 2007
Walking through Eritrea

 

 

 

Asmara - Children's Day - December 08 2007

 

Mr. Solomon, the manager of the Embassoira Hotel, invited my to witness the celebration of International Children's Day in the lovely garden restaurant of the Embassoira Hotel.

As usual I am exactly in time, and one of the first to come (Guess I will never learn to adapt to the typical habit to add at least one hour to any official announced starting time).

Mr. Solomon gives me a warm welcome at this morning event. Groups of children in immaculate white uniforms, accompanied by their teachers enter the garden party, sponsored by the Eritrean Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare.

The children's entertainment program starts at 10:00 (one hour later than in the official announcement). The children sing songs, are entertained by a group of comedians, engage in various competitions, and finally have a lunch of hamburgers, toast, French fries and fruit juice.

At 12:00 the program is finished. I follow the children to the GS Pre School Center in Bologna Street. I am welcome to visit and see the interior of their small school.

The afternoon I spent visiting family to say goodbye and leave them a financial gift. Before returning to our residence, I buy a few bottles of the local liquor: Asmara Zibib (it should not be stored in the cabin luggage because of the strict regulations on any liquid at the European airports).

There is not much to pack. I will leave most of my clothes in Eritrea, for future visits. The empty space suitcase is used to bring all kinds of stuff for Mebrats girlfriends: teff, berbere, roasted grains, and shiro. It will help to protect the araki.

I take a taxi from the Sembel Housing Complex to the airport.

At the fence there is a passport and ticket check. Before entering the building there is a luggage and physical security check for arms and explosives. Inside the building one is asked to fill the currency declaration form at desk #1. The declaration is checked with the declaration filled three weeks ago.

"Where is the 45 US dollars?", they ask me. I show them the 50 US dollars receipt of the Eritrean Railway. I even brought all exchange receipts of Himbol Exchange, that would further clarify my foreign exchange balance, but there is no need to show them.

Check-in at desk #2, 20 dollar airport tax at desk #3, passport and exit form check at desk #4, another passport check, a physical check of the reported foreign currency, and a second physical check and cabin luggage check.

It is at this last check that I witness that the Eritreans are quite serious with their measures to prevent any tricks with foreign currency. I am asked to show the content of my wallet. It is counted and perfectly matches the reported amount.

A lady next to me has forgotten to declare a few hundred euros. The military show no mercy when they find the money in her handbag. The lady will not leave the country today. And tears and excuses don't help. The Lufthansa Airbus leaves without her.

We wait until 23:30 in the modern waiting hall surrounded by duty free shops and a bar called "Take Off", where people spend their last Nakfa's. A gift box for the Martyrs families invites the passengers to think of the families of those who gave their lives when Eritrea had to defend its border with Ethiopia.

At 00:00 we are directed to the airfield to walk the last 300 meters to the Lufthansa Airbus 330 that will take off 30 minutes later to Jeddah in Saudie Arabia and Frankfurt Germany.

Goodbye Asmara and Eritrea! We will meet again in May 2008 to celebrate Eritrea's 17th Independence Day on May 24 (and one week of festivities before this National Holiday).

 

Celebration of Children's Day in the Garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the Garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the Garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Mr. Solomon (hotel manager of the Embassoira Hotel) and his family.

Mr. Solomon (hotel manager of the Embassoira Hotel) and his family.

The staff of the Embassoira Hotel - Asmara Eritrea.

The staff of the Embassoira Hotel - Asmara Eritrea.

Garden restaurant of the Embassoira Hotel - Asmara Eritrea.

Garden restaurant of the Embassoira Hotel - Asmara Eritrea.

Celebration of Children's Day in the Garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the Garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the Garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the Garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

Celebration of Children's Day in the garden of the Embassoira Hotel.

GS Pre School Center - Bologna Street Asmara Eritrea.

GS Pre School Center - Bologna Street Asmara Eritrea.

A Merry Christmas from Asmara Eritrea (Semret Tekle).

A Merry Christmas from Asmara Eritrea (Semret Tekle).

Tigrinya seasons greatings - Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

 

 
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