Friday, September 23, 2005

Assab - victim of a needless war

Assab - old charterer's office

Assab used to be a major Red Sea port handling the bulk of freight to and from Ethiopia. This is clear to see by looking at the docks, container terminal and refinery. All locked up and behind bars now. Almost all the movement in the city now being UN vehicles driving around and Indian UN soldiers handing out free bottles of UN water to mark 60 year anniversary. My goodness was the needed, so hot and humid it was there.

The shops and bars along the front were all empty and crumbling and not just because it was lunchtime. The
international hotel we were staying at with its large terraces and bars, again almost empty. Empty because Ethiopia will not use the services of Assab port while the border dispute continues, preferring to use Djibouti and berbera despite the extra costs of transport. So the ordinary people of Eritrea have to suffer because of the ego and injured pride of a leader they cannot get rid of. Sad.

Anyway, our stay in Assab was spent mostly with
Medhane, who had arranged out trip further down to
Djibouti. His story is for another blog, as it is time
to go now, before the money runs out.

Just so that you know, we arrived in Djibouti this morning and, I, particularly feel very at home here
with 'my' people, the Somalilanders. Colourful, bustling, confusing, hot, friendly. The hotel owner, like many here comes from Hargeisa himself and he
will arrange for us to meet the Somaliland consul here. It seems like we could be there quite soon. But first, we have to enjoy what Djibouti has to offer.

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