January 19, 2012

Diaries of the Saudi tourist (part III and Final)

by Winta Woldeyesus | Mohammed Al-Nasser, a Saudi tourist visited Eritrea in the 1960s. Following his trip to the country, he published a journal entitled “The Tour through the Green Africa”. On his book, Mohamed wrote his experience, and what he has witnessed in his visit to Eritrea.

Below are some of his impressions translated: After our visit to the town of Keren, we continued our journey to Agordat. The trip to Agordat is quite different than that of Keren. Here, the journey is accompanied by vast plains, and farms of maize and coconut.

On the 80 km trip to Agordat, one can witness variety of birds, rabbits, dears and a number of other animals. The variety animals and their number makes you wonder why those animals aren’t hunted because they are extinct in many parts of the world. Then curiosity gets the better of me and I asked one Eritrean passenger, and he told me that not only hunting, owning a gun is forbidden in the country. This reflects the society is well-aware of the consequence of hunting.

Another thing that attracts Mohammed’s attention on his journey to the town of Agordat is the traditional houses, which have walls made of mad. He also wrote in his journey that there are similar houses in the town of Agordat, and that the town surrounded by agricultural land has all kinds of crops, fruits and vegetables. In addition, to the traditional houses there are also modern houses, and the mosque of Menara is one of the tallest buildings in the town.

Mohammed also pointed out that there is quite different military movement in the town than in the other parts of the country, and tries to explain it as it might be due to the Eritrean struggle movement active in the area.

Despite the fact that Tigre and Tigrinya are the local languages, most of the inhabitants tend to speak the Arab language. Due to the location of the town, the Arabic language spoken in the area have the Sudanese Arabic dialect, there are also many Saudi traders in the area.

Our return to the capital is through the same route we took when we first travel to Keren and Agordat, and Mohammed explained his unique experience in the way back to the capital as follows:
“When we are left with about 9 km to the capital, soldiers stopped our car. They searched all of us, and when we inquire on why was it necessary to search us, the soldiers told us that they were searching for weapons so as not to get into the capital.”

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