The following day was another early start, this time due west to Tesserai which sits on the border with Sudan. I’m not sure why I went. Why not perhaps. the Eritrean plateau is dry and dusty but as you might expect nearing the Sudanese border takes it to another level. Also never mind Eritrea had recently had a war of independence the road was lined with refugee camps filled with Sudanese. There were also loads of checkpoints. Mainly composed of a small thatched hut with one young guard with an old rifle casually slung over his shoulder.
We arrived in Tesserai in mid afternoon to find a very scrappy town. I didn’t see a market, Post Office, mosque, anything. It was just a collection of non-descript buildings spread over the desert. The bus stopped in a large open compound which was surrounded by a collection of low faceless buildings which apparently were hotels but with no signs. Most of the people slept outside on charpoys but I actually managed to secure a very bare room. By nightfall the open area started to liven up, boom boxes start to play music and stallholders appeared setting up barbeques. Despite the barren nature of the trip my diary does note that I did see some wildlife: gazelles, a large grey eagle in addition to loads of wild camels and donkeys.
As there was nothing to see in Tesserai I was off again, back East this time to Agordat, which was a pleasant surprise. On arrival, I was escorted off the bus and taken to the Barka Hotel. Here I was welcomed by the friendly staff and shown to a nice big airy room with a large window overlooking the town. The hotels must have been pretty dire as it is the only room I describe in my entire diary. I noted that on my compulsory wander through town I met a foreigner – my first since Keren. I think he worked for the UN food programme. That evening I walked up the hill behind town and got some wonderful views of the town and the wide Barka river – completely dry now but I was told it fills up in the wet season. I could also see lots of tribal huts beside the town – and that’s where I headed the following day. That night barbequed goat. I also stayed the day after but my diary doesn’t note anything except I visited the old railway station which by then had become an army base but with few soldiers about. So after a pleasant few days in Agordat time to be on the move again. This time to the Red Sea coast at Massawa.
Photos around Agordat: