Fondest memory: Asmara is located at 2400 meters (7874 feet). The days are never too hot and the nights can be cold. It was only 8 degrees when I arrived the airport at night, December 27. The usual temperature in December/January is 10-15 degrees at night. About 18-20 degrees in the daytime, and sunny weather.
When you arrive Eritrea you have to sign and declare all your money to the customs. Make sure to get a stamp. (See the declaration paper on the photo).
Keep the paper, because you will need it when you shall leave the country. If you have declared exchange of too little money, or no money at all, the custom officers will ask to see your money. And they will count your money.
There are two customs checkpoints when leaving Asmara. The first one is just for paper handling and clearance. The last one is at the security screening machine, just before the stairs to the duty free hall.
The government want Eritrea to be self-contained and doesn't allow foreign aid or assistance.
I guess the situation has changed lately in Eritrea because there are numerous articles on Internet that says Asmara has no beggars. I can confirm that there are beggars in Asmara. And it is not better than Addis Ababa compared with the difference in population. The beggars are sitting along the wall in the streets, and there are especially many beggars close to the churches. Children are walking around in the streets asking for money.
Fondest memory: It's a lot of street traders in Asmara. It seams to be more women than men. The first photo is taken in Harnet avenue, and shows a girl who couldn't be more than 14 years. She was sitting at her space from early morning to late afternoon. She was always smiling. I saw her little brother help her when she ran to the toalet and came back two minutes later.
If you can't find a postoffice, simply use the stationery shop as your postoffice. If you can buy stamps at the shop, they will also send your postcards.
I did that at a stationery shop in the corner of Semaetat avenue and Bihat Street (see photo).
The black market is a big industry in Asmara. Money exhange on the illegal black marked gives twice as good rate than the official rate. Then it's the cheapest country in East-Africa together with Ethiopia. If not the price level is the same as Namibia and Botswana.
Tips: You have to declare your money on a customs receipt when you enter the country. But write down less money than you really have. Keep the customs receipt. At the official exhange offices, change f.ex 100 USD and sign on the custom receipt. Then wait to change the rest of your money at the black market untill you trust somebody you can ask. F.ex. the guy behind the hotel recepcion or the owner of a shop in the downtown. Note that the customs at Asmara airport will ask you to show the custom receipt, and they will also see the money you have left.
Favorite thing: There are no ATM's in Eritrea, so bring enough cash with you. Some hotels will accept plastic, but charge a 10% premium as they have to process the charges through Nairobi. Declare all your cash on arrival and get your declaration form stamped. It must be presented every time that you change money and the remaining balance noted.
Fondest memory: The people of Eritrea are religious. Christians, Muslims and others have lived peacefully together in Eritrea for centuries. About 50% are christians and 50% are muslims.
Fondest memory: It's a lot of shoeshine workers in Asmara. I had running shoes when I was there, so I didn't try the shoe shining.
Favorite thing: I noticed lack of some kind of food in Eritrea. But it is enough fruits in Asmara. And the fruit is cheap.