Asmara Eritrea May 15 2016 - Hello
At 3h20 AM we arrive at Asmara
International Airport. The Turkish Airlines plane arrived a few minutes
earlier. The passengers of the two planes are separated in two times two
queues for the passport and visa check that is now fully computerized.
After 30 minutes I have my entry stamp. Computer says YES without any
hesitation. I proceed to the luggage belts. One for Turkish and one for
EgyptAir. Patiently I walk up and down the belts to wait for my clearly
tagged suitcases to pass by. When almost all passengers left with their
luggage, I realize that mine must been been left behind in Cairo. And it looks
like I am not the only victim. Unhappy passengers search the left overs,
that must be the luggage of passengers arriving 24 hours before.
I fill the baggage irregularity form,
and realize it would have been smart to make a picture of the suitcases in
Amsterdam, showing exact brand, color and material. I will have to check
tomorrows EgyptAir flight.
At the small Himbol exchange
counter I change 100 euro's into 1708 Nakfa's to have some money for the
very expensive taxi's waiting outside. My 2014 left over Nakfa's were
worthless after December 2015, as Eritrea issued its new currency and
recalled all outstanding Nakfa currency to eliminate the profits and
'business' of criminals and subversive entities, like human traffickers and the Woyane regime (Eritrean nickname for Ethiopia).
My Nakfa's found their way to Eritrea thanks to my network, and ended in
the pockets of the poor in Asmara, who were happy with the gifts.
I leave the airport compound
with my cabin luggage only, that contains all the necessities, including
24 batteries for my camera's, notebook travel plans, and all other
essentials to survive my three weeks stay in Eritrea. The rucksack is not
worth the luggage check. Guess the airport staff wants to go home as well.
I am surprised to meet Dawid
at the gate to pick me up at the airport. With no luggage I could have
walked to the center of Asmara, but another problem arises: The Egyptian
food from the plane or the hotel must have contained bacteria unfamiliar
to my body. Fortunately the 'essentials' in my rucksack include basic
medicine to kill them. I sleep for some hours, but as always I am too
excited to go out and smell Asmara.
Dawid hands me the key to the
gate, so I am free to go in and out any time. First to visit is Freweini
and Haile and their kids Michael, Yodith, Yerusalem, and Josief who live
in a small house behind the Cinema Asmara. They find me an invitation for
this evenings drama performances in Cinema Asmara.
I stroll the center of Asmara,
handing out some of the October 2014 pictures and enjoying the atmosphere
of recognition and feeling at home. At the PTZM bus station I have some
rest and chat a while with the PTZM staff.
At 2 PM I return to the house
to have a shower and some sleep, so I will feel okay during the evening
The entry card for Cinema
Asmara is not necessary. "Welcome my friend!" The men at the
entrance know me from previous visits to Eritrea in the Independence Day
time span. I am one of the first to enter the cinema anyway. The
invitation reads 18h30, but the program starts at 19h15. It is a comical
drama in Tigrinya. I do not understand the Tigrinya language, so I can
only try to imagine what it is about. No problem to make some pictures. To
prevent problems at the entrance I only carry my passport and a small
After two hours the program is
finished. I will try to have a good nights rest, hoping for an overnight
Kohayto Street, my temporary
residence - Cinema Roma area Asmara Eritrea.
Shawit, Dawid (my host) and their kids - Asmara Eritrea.
Total Fuel Station - Sematat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Yerusalem (my niece) preparing injera - Asmara Eritrea.
Asmara University Training Center - Asmara Eritrea.
Adulis Club Independence Day Banner - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Decorated Wikianos Supermarket
- Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Peter and Yordanos - Bar Selas Akordet Street Asmara Eritrea.
Grain & spices market - Souk Asmara Eritrea.
PTZM buses Nda Mariam bus hub - Asmara Eritrea.
PTZM King Long City bus Nda Mariam bus hub - Asmara Eritrea.
Decorated Salem Fast Food
- Eritrea Square Asmara Eritrea.
PTZM staff - Mede Ertra bus station Asmara Eritrea.
Young driver and his sister - Kohayto Street Asmara
Cinema Asmara (restaurant) - Harnet
Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Tigrinya drama - Cinema
Asmara Asmara Eritrea.
Tigrinya drama - Cinema
Asmara Asmara Eritrea.
Iluminated Harnet Avenue - Asmara Eritrea.
Iluminated Sematat Avenue - Asmara Eritrea.
Eritrea's Silver Jubilee of
Independence - 15-05-2016 Hessen Germany