Eritrea May / June 2016 - The
preparations to celebrate Eritrea's 25th Independence Day
May 24 2016 Eritrea will
celebrate its Silver Jubilee: 25 years of independence. So I ordered my
ticket in time, as one might expect thousands of Eritreans from all over
the world to visit their homeland to celebrate this joyful event.
processing may take some time as well, so just to be sure I applied for my visa
two months in advance. Although I am sure it is granted, I will have to
respect the check, double check, triple check of the Eritrean authorities,
that may take several weeks.
A comprehensive travel plan
and agenda for three weeks is essential, as the celebrations will be the
main entertainment up to May 24. The remaining ten days require twenty
ideas, so there is a plan B for every day of my visit. Several 10-20
kilometer walks, a visit to Keren, networking to find the unexpected, some
special requests received by e-mail. I trust the Eritrean people will do
the rest, as they always do, as long as you don't hide in your house or
hotel. Plan C is updating my Eritrean information pages, visiting tourism
service providers all over Asmara, checking and correcting the data. And
to add some new entries.
I designed and printed
customized t shirts that will add to the many decorations of shops &
offices in Asmara. In 2011 they proved to be a very good investment
and an enjoyable project to participate in the Independence Day celebrations.
And I printed a few hundred flyer's to hand out as small gifts. More than
100 pens traditionally prove to be a nice gift for the kids. Eight boxes
of chocolates, Fifty small packs of chewing gum and ten family packs (the
Eritreans love to eat it all day and it will suppress your thirst during
longer walks). Johnnie Walker for my host, and copies of the 2014 pics to
hand out to the owners of the smiling faces I met in October 2014.
My Eritrean wife makes sure I
will leave with two times 23 kilo's adding gifts for her family. My cabin
case contains all essential items, just in case all my luggage will be
lost, so that the worst case scenario will not completely spoil my stay in
Friday May 13 2016 - The
flight from Amsterdam to Cairo
I do not believe in Friday 13
bad luck stories. But unfortunately the bad luck story starts to unfold at
Amsterdam Airport. I am well in time at
the EgyptAir check-in counter, where a rumor goes around that EgyptAir is hit by a captains
strike. I silently pray the rumors are false, but they are not. When I mention my final destination
Asmara at the check-in counter, I am kindly requested to report to the local EgyptAir manager.
He is authorized to tell me the full impact of the mixed up EgyptAir schedule. The flight to Cairo is delayed for at least four hours and I will miss my
connecting flight to Asmara. So I can chose: go home and come back
tomorrow, or wait some extra hours and end up in Cairo with no connecting
flight (today). It worries me, because what will happen if the strike will
lock me at Cairo Airport?
Quick thinking results in the conclusion that there is no
guarantee that tomorrows flight from Amsterdam to Cairo will be as scheduled,
so I choose to spend
the night in Cairo to start my rest days anyway, be it in Cairo. Guess EgyptAir will provide
accommodation in Cairo.
I am not the only victim of the strike, so I guess they will not let us
down. Worst case scenario will be a hard night & day at the airport of
Cairo. Fortunately I have a survival package in my cabin luggage, just in
case I meet these worst case scenarios. I make a few calls to inform my
wife and her Eritrean girl friend that I will not be on the Saturday
flight to Asmara. They will inform my host and the pick up service in
At the gate I receive a new
ticket for tomorrows flight to Asmara. Bravo EgyptAir! One thing less to
worry about. Just before 8 pm we board the plane for the three hour and
thirty minutes flight to Cairo. Too short to have some sleep, day dreaming
of what I will meet in Cairo.
Independence Day Torch -
Denhimna Southern Red Sea Region.
Eritrea Profile Saturday, 27 February, 2016.
"1991-2016 A quarter century of
"1991-2016 A quarter century of
My banner for Eritrea's 25th Independence Day.
My Eritrea visa 2016.
Bad news at Amsterdam
Airport: MS758 to Cairo delayed four hours.
The plane! Egyptair Airbus at Amsterdam Airport just
before 8 PM.