Sunday, September 11, 2005

Baroque? And we are not even in Sicily!

The Italian influence here in Asmara is great. The main buildings were built in the 1920-30's by the Italians when they were going through their Fascist period (no coincidence in that either).

Fortunately, the buildings here cannot match the terrors of EUR in Rome or thge countless Post Offices all over Italy and most have some sort of charm.
This building must have been a throw-back to Sicilian Baroque (which had long finished there) and the balcony supports would look perfectly in place in Palazzuolo Acreide or Noto. What do you reckon, Annemiek?

Further, we see the influence of the Italians in the number of caffes, with names like Bar Veneto, Pasticceria Moderna and Cafe Impero, all serving espresso, capuccino and macchiato, for E 0.25 a cup/glass (not only cheap but delicious), large cinemas (Impero, Odeon, Dante), cuisine (pasta and pizza), aperitifs, (notably Campari, which can be bought for E 5 a bottle), fortunately no sambuca, lavanderias, latterias, ferramenta's and so on. We even have a Gina and Gianni Beauty Salon (not tried it yet, vain as we are). There is also a Casa degli Italiani, with a beautiful coutyrad, fiilled with tables and chairs underneath the palm trees, a Biblioteca Nazionale and a Scuola Media Italiana.
Not too many old Fiats (just a few Fiat 850's and one Fiat Cinquecento) or bubble cars, as had been promised in our guidebook, but then not too many cars either. And, we haven't seen any Italians here either. Seems like Eritrea is not the holiday destination of choice. In fact, we haven't seen one Western or Arab tourist since we arrived.

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