From Keren to Asmara - Eritrea October 27 2014
Hansu told me that there may be transport
problems. So just to be sure I leave in the dark to the bus station at 05:00 AM.
With my flash light I find my way on the now dangerous rough road passing
small river beds to the Keren bus terminal. An
alarmining number of people is waiting in severeal queues for the various
destinations. I Ask for the Asmara queue and join the line of waiting
passengers. When I am close to boarding there seems to be a problem. I am
supposed to have a number written on my hand to mark my position in the
row, but I haven't one.
Some passengers have to laugh. No number
means line up again in the back of the queue. With his flashlight the
driver checks the numbers on the hands of the passengers. "Step
aside" he addresses me. When all passengers have boarded, the last
seat behind the driver is for me. business class and with a nice view on
the road in front of us. The ultimate Eritrean hospitality towards the
tourist, unfamiliar with the boarding procedures for the buses.
At 06:00 AM the bus leaves to Asmara with a
few stops just outside Keren to add cargo that will be accompany us to
Asmara. Just before 09:00 we arrive at the Edaga Hamus bus station in
Asmara. I invite the driver for a lunch. A meal does not fit in his
working scedule, but I give him 50 Nakfa for a lunch anyway to show my
appreciation for solving my problem at the Keren bus station.
Compared to Keren I experience the climate
in Asmara as pleasantly cool, with plenty of sunshine under a perfect blue
sky. A comfortable breeze further adds to a moderate climate 2.400
meters above sea level.
After I have a shower, and fresh clothes, I will visit
various governmental offices. At the Eritrean National Chamber of Commerce
I meet Taddese Beraki to talk about business development and information
in Eritrea in an attempt to revitalize the Eritrean economy. The ENCC is
financed by the Eritrean enterprises. Hard times for their business means hard
times for the ENCC as well, delaying its programs.
Second is the Eritrean Airlines office in
the Alhashime Mall, where I have tea and a very nice conversation with
Almaz Berhane, sales manager of Eritrean Airlines. The airline survived
the worldwide economic crisis, but is now operating as a regional airline
with four or five destinations in Africa and Saudi Arabia, leaving the
intercontinental destinations to Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, and Yemenia.
Negociations with Qatar Airways may result in improved accessibility of Eritrea for
the potential visitors. The US banned leasing of aircrafts to Eritrean
Airlines, as a step in imposing of sanctions on Eritrea. The airline is now
operating three Airbuses with Bulgarian registration codes.
On my way to the Corea Housing complex I
pass the Ministry of Tourism. It is almost lunch time, but I should give
it a try to visit the office. Greeting the secretary of the minister, she
suggests I should meet de minister herself as well. I am welcomed in her office,
where I have a pleasant conversation with the minister, Askalo Monkorios,
and another guest. I explain my program of this years visit to Eritrea. It
will include an attempt to deliver the flyers of a UK organisation called Legs4Africa.
Ther minister advises me where to deliver the information (I should visit
the new location of the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare in Godaif. It
used to be Askalu Monkorios ministry in the recent past).
At Classic Pastry, opposite to the Ministry of Tourism
I buy one of my favorites in Asmara: two mini pizza's: bread decorated
with chily, onion, tomato and spices.The bread and a large bottle of
mineral water will be my lunch for today.
From the Ministry of Tourism I walk to the Ministry of
Labor and Human Welfare in Godaif. It is a 30 minutes walk. The ministry is
still closed because of the lunch break. The guard offers me a chair on
the stairs at
the entrance of the building. The ministry is moving in from the old
location in the Expo area. A 60 year old Mercedez Benz truck is used to
move the furniture. When the person responsible returns, I explain my
mission to get the message for Legs4Africa
Eritrean National Chamber of
Commerce - Denden Street Asmara Eritrea.
Orotta Medical Surgical
Referral Hospital - Aarerib Street Asmara Erittrea.
Denbe Sembel Junior and
Secondary School - Asmara Eritrea.
Housing and Commerce Bank -
Bahti Meskerem Square Asmara Eritrea.
Bar Zilli - Shida Square
Nakfa house shops and
offices - Mereb Street Asmara Eritrea.
Fiat Tagliero garage and
fuel station - Asmara Eritrea.
Patriarchate of the Eritrean
Orthodox Tewahdo Church - Warsay Street Asmara Eritrea.
Shops and apartments (Alpha
Supermarket) - Warsay Street Asmara Eritrea.
Container converted into a
small grocery shop - Expo area Asmara Eritrea.
Road to Nda German and
Kushet - Asmara Eritrea.
Space 2000 Housing Project -
Tank and truck graveyard -
Alhashime Mall - Warsay Street Asmara Eritrea.
Fish Market - Harnet Avenue
Wikianos Supermarket - Harnet Avenue Asmara
Al Khulafa Al Rashiudin Grande Mosque - Asmara Eritrea.
Salena! (picture us!) Nda
Mariam Coptic Cathedral - Asmara Eritrea.
Nda Mariam Coptic Cathedral
(detail) - Asmara Eritrea.
Bus stop - Nda Mariam Coptic
Cathedral - Asmara Eritrea.