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It's easy to see the difference between rich and poor people here. Some parts of Asmara have nice houses and fashionable streets. Other parts are so unbelievable poor. Many Eritreans can only afford one meal a day and walk around in dirty clotes full of holes. It's wise to be discreet and use caution. But Asmara is a safe city despite this poverty.
The local people were polite against me, even when I walked by groups of young men. No attempt of pick pockets when I walked in crowded places. I walked alone in spooky and deserted streets at nights without any problems. I had only one unpleasant incident from a beggar who followed me 2-300 meters, but he was harmless.
There are some military personnel in the streets, but no police.
Updated Oct 16, 2009
Traveling out of Asmara is restricted. All foreign nationals are required to get permits to travel out of Asmara.
Applications for tourists are processed by The Ministry of Tourism opposite Asmara Cathedral. You can only get one permit per visit.
Foreign nationals residing/working outside of Asmara can get a travel permit to go outside their normal area of residence. Applications for foreign nationals living/working outside of Asmara are processed by the Department of Protocol in Asmara and Zonal Administration Offices. There may be delays in the issue of permits.
Before I came to Eritrea I knew that some parts of Eritrea was restricted. But not the cities of Massawa and Keren. My plan to visit Massawa was stopped due to this new regulation. I didn't have time to wait for the authorities to issue a permission. Very sad for me...
Updated Feb 27, 2009
Do not take photos in the neighbourhood of the government buildings. I took this photo in the direction of Semaetat avenue. What I didn't know was that 20 meters behind me was entrance to the government area. A soldier shouted against me and clapped his hand to make me aware of taking photography in this area was not legal.
I quickly put the camera in the bag and left the place.
Updated Feb 17, 2009
There has been no local beer in Asmara for six months or more (November 2008). Occasionally there is imported Chinese beer, but it is rare and expensive. Does anyone know of another country which has no beer, excepting those where there are religious prohibitions?
There is wine in the shops and the restaurants, but it is expensive imported or overpriced local.
Written Nov 15, 2008
However, you will find that your roaming mobile does not work in Eritrea. You must get a local sim card, but to get the sim card you need a residence permit, which can take time. So resign yourself to relying on the Internet to call home.
Written Jun 3, 2007
3 Reviews and 13 Opinions Arrived at the hotel after a late night flight from Frankfurt. Staff was always pleasant especially...