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May 2016
Celebrating Eritrea's
25th Independence Day
 
Congratulations Eritrea
Eritrea - May 24 2016 - 25th Independence Day
25th Independence Day
 

 

Asmara Eritrea May 19 2016 - The trip by bus to Arbaroba and meet & greet with Dehab Faytinga

 

In the morning I visit Adiam Berhane, manager and owner of Oasis Travel Agency. We chat about tourism, the airlines connecting Eritrea with the rest of the world and more. I will be the Oasis guest during one or two tours, depending on the Oasis program for the coming weeks. I suggest we visit Keren & Mariam Dearit after the Independence Day celebrations.

Next to visit is the Housing and Commerce Bank, where my friends Isac and Kibreab run the IT department. Or actually the HCB as a whole. What is a bank without its IT infrastructure? Kibreab is happy with the many Logica pens. I appointed him to divide them among his colleagues and their children. Some 'special' pens are for the managers of the IT department and the general manager of the bank.

A few more visits to tourism service providers, and the PTZM bus station at Eritrea Square to picture the modern brand new King Long buses and to have a 'nice price' extra large fruit juice at Salem Fast Food. One of the buses is not numbered, but only shows a text in Tigrinya indicating its destination. I ask the driver to translate the text for me. It reads 'Arbaroba'.

Arbaroba is the name of a small village 12 kilometers out of Asmara, and the first railway station on the Asmara Massawa line. I planned a hike, following the railway line, and I guess it may be wise to go by bus to check the distance and the possible obstacles I may encounter climbing up from the railway line to the Massawa road.

I spend an hour in Arbaroba. Its houses are scattered in the hills on both sides of the Asmara - Massawa road and the asphalt road touches the railway, the hike from the Asmara railway station to Arbaroba should be a piece of cake. And there is an optional PTZM bus to return (both from Arbaroba and half way Biet Gheorgis).

In a local bar I find my coke. The owner of the bar makes sure I have his best seat and adds a small table for my coke. And when I am finished he guides me up to the railway track that runs through the village.

Children are following me asking for a pen, caramela, mastika, and Nakfa's. Although I brought some pens, there are at least six children. I am sure if I hand out a few pens, the other children will be unhappy. Or I will be surrounded by many more kids. The children do their best to talk the pens out of my pocket. Even they perform some theater: they cry without tears. I imitate them. They have fun, but no pencils.

After an hour I have seen it all and I wait on a stone near the virtual PTZM #29 bus stop. After 15 minutes waiting I decide to make gestures to indicate I need transport to the private buses that are passing Arbaroba. Good chance one of them will have a seat for me. It proves a good idea. A small intercity buss stops and 15 minutes later I am back at the Massawa bus terminal in Asmara.

From there I walk to the City Center Snackbar. It is one of my favorites places to eat. A modern and clean restaurant / cafe just behind City Park. I have ful with oil for lunch / diner. Grinded beans with a separate dish of tomato, onion and chili. And two very fresh breads that may serve (in pieces) as a spoon. I get a steel spoon anyway, so I can choose to eat with my hand, or with the spoon. 40 Nakfa for the ful and a Fanta. A simple but healthy meal.

Around 6 PM I prepare to attend this evening Independence Day Celebrations in Cinema Roma. Again I make sure to be in time to have a nice seat in the front. The Asmara police checking the guests for arms and explosives know me by now: "Get in!". No checks for me. I have a seat on row #1, almost on stage for a nice view on the performing artists, and close up pictures. Again it is a mix of drama and singers and dancers.

Again I experience a great surprise. When Abeba Haile does her Tigrinya performance, she chooses to leave the stage and continues her act in front of the first row of the audience. Suddenly I am in the middle of a singer and an enthusiast audience dancing right in front of me.

And 15 minutes later my happiness will be multiplied. In a mix of Kunama drama, dance and songs one of my favorite Eritrean singers, Dehab Faytinga, beautiful, dressed in traditional Kunama dress and hairstyle, an elegant dancer, with a unique voice is the star of this Kunama act. Where I went forward two days ago to show my appreciation for the artist, I do not have the guts to repeat my action.

But when this part of the show comes to an end, Faytinga does not leave the stage backstage, but chooses the chair next to me, that happens to be free, to watch the other performances. A small miracle? Happy to have my camera with me. I hand it to an Eritrean for a picture request to freeze this moment for my travel blog, and proud to show it to my colleagues and family.

The remaining show singers interaction with row #1 seems superstitious. When the last singer is performing, the public comes forward to dance. I join them for a moment to share this joyful event.

  

PTZM #29 bus to Arbaroba - Nda Mariam Square Asmara Eritrea.

PTZM #29 bus to Arbaroba - Nda Mariam Square Asmara Eritrea.

Local shop (road to Massawa) - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Local shop (road to Massawa) - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Bar Bizen (road to Massawa) - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Bar Bizen (road to Massawa) - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Railway bridge - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Railway bridge - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Cargo train Arbaroba railway station - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Cargo train Arbaroba railway station - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Traditional houses (road to Massawa) - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Traditional houses (road to Massawa) - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Outdoor kitchen - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Outdoor kitchen - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Chapel (road to Massawa) - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Chapel (road to Massawa) - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Arbaroba Eritrea.

Arbaroba Mosque  Arbaroba Eritrea.

Arbaroba Mosque Arbaroba Eritrea.

Invitation / entry card for Cinema Roma Independece Day Celebration May 19 2016.

Invitation / entry card for Cinema Roma Independece Day Celebration May 19 2016.

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show (Abeba Haile) in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show (Abeba Haile) in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea. Abeba Haile - Cinema Roma Asmara May 18 2016

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show (Dehab Faytinga) in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show (Dehab Faytinga) in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Meet & greet with Dehab Faytinga in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Meet & greet with Dehab Faytinga in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Thomas Alazar in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Thomas Alazar in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea. Dehab Faytinga - Cinema Roma Asmara May 18 2016

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

Evening show in Cinema Roma - Asmara Eritrea.

  

 
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