Different than expected
Things are usually different form what one may expect. This lies in the natural order of the worlds being, it seems. Take for example bananas: One might think that the big, strong, solid yellow ones are the most tasty. Size matters, right? No, not always! After an intensive research among half a dozen “banana-shops” (which are the regular buy-almost-everything shops in my chauvinistic language) I came to the conclusions that the small, soft, brownish ones have by far the most taste. This is not an easy issue, folks! You need to buy them when they (the small ones!) start developing the first brown spots on the outside. Then you have about 48 hours to eat them before the start having also some muddy spots on the inside (which doesn’t kill you if you would eat it, by the way).
Another surprise came to me in the form of climate. Of course I was aware that Asmara lies on the Ethiopian Plateau (which you probably call different here) and is therefore cooler. But I took my white clothe and sunglasses and now – I’m standing in the rain. Fortunately, the raining-season (which was late this year but provides fruitful falls so far) is not an all-day wet experience but rather some occasional showers. The English would probably call this kind of weather “sunny summer” still.
The same with politics. You have to visit a place to make some sort of judgement about it. Lately it was reported that the ousted Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka had their fighter jets stored here in Asmara. Well, seems reasonable as the Tigers are also a minority trying to break away from a larger entity (sounds familiar? Well, the means between EPFL and the Tigers were vastly different I can tell you.). But from my little office here I can see the airport of Asmara which is basically a field with a landing-strip and a house which stores not much expect the smallest duty-free shop of the world and a lot of left (rotten) luggage – just in case you wonder if you bags gone missing during travelling. But no jets.
I have never been in Somalia but it seems very unlikely, that a place like Eritrea (poor, building on the concept of “self-reliance”) has any means of giving meaningful support to some weird Islamist Terrorists. Sad, that Mr. Clinton, Mr. Merkel and all the others were visiting their fellows in Nairobi and Addis only, but didn’t drop in here. Asmara is always worth a visit – not just for the bananas.