If you missed part 1, please refer to my previous blog post. From the last post we are continuing outside of Menelik Square towards the east coast of the peninsula down the Blvd de la Republique.
Djibouti is surprisingly a safe city to live and visit. It has miles of desert and volcanic wasteland between it and Eritrea, and the autonomous Somaliland region of Somalia is very close. Between Somaliland and Mogadishu Somalia, is another autonomous region called Puntland. Both of these autonomous regions are stable compared to neighboring Somalia, and its tumultuous capital, Mogadishu. Finally to the west you have Ethiopia after miles of barren landscape. The buffered location, along with the persistent presence of international armed forces, make Djibouti a relatively safe pocket to exist in. I had no trouble walking around at night beyond my neighborhood out in the open. Though I would still never tread beyond the well lit squares and main streets of downtown.
1: A little outside of Menelik Square, you'll come upon a colorful sign that says I <3 Djibouti. Regrettably, I could not get the 'I' in the photo without being hit by traffic. This sign is relatively new, and seems a bit out of place to me. Djibouti has recently relaxed its visa procedures and even instituted an electronic visa system in the hope of gaining more investment and tourism.
2: As a matter of fact, the sign is located near the National Investment Promotion Agency, which was also colorfully decorated with some Djiboutian flags. The agency's stated goal is to "Encourage the promotion of investment in Djibouti through a policy of flexibility in investment operations, a modern regulatory framework and procedures."
I want to start a KFC franchise in Djibouti, who's with me?!
3-4: This relic of a train and tracks is what's left of the original Franco-Djiboutian railway between Ethiopia and Djibouti. The meandering goat is just an added bonus. The railway was originally established in 1917, and after falling into disrepair and disarray, the railroad ceased operations in 2008. You need not worry though, the Chinese recently completed a replacement railway.
5: Our Lady of the Good Shepherd Cathedral, was built in 1964, and it's actually one of the more impressive bits of architecture in Djibouti. Although Djibouti is predominately a muslim nation, there is a small population of Catholics.
6: Football (or soccer for we Americans) is the national sport of Djibouti. Here you can see some youths playing the helipad of a nearby hospital. Djibouti can be a hot country, and even on the hottest of afternoon you can see kids playing football. There is also a national stadium where you can see live matches on occasion.
7: This is one of the few monuments in the city. I'm not sure what the seven pillars represent, but I'm pretty sure the star is taken from their national flag. The monument itself was very dirty and not well maintained for being in such a prominent place.
8: The Odeon Cinema is one of a few that existed during colonial times. There was no movie theater operating until this year when one opened up in the newly built Bawadi Mall. Until it was converted to a Chinese restaurant, there was also an abandoned bowling alley. As you are driving toward the port, you can see a broken down merry-go-round, and what's left of an amusement park. The solar-powered surveillance system in the photo is new, you can see them all around the city now.
9: This is the National Assembly building of Djibouti. It's one of the more well-maintained structures in the city. It is home to the legislative branch of the Djiboutian government.
10: This is the entrance to the Scotch Club, this is one of the more popular nightlife spots in Djibouti City. My first night ever in Djibouti, I was dragged here from the airport to celebrate my arrival. It's a lively spot, and can get packed on Thursday nights, as the weekend in Djibouti spans from Friday to Saturday.
Thanks for dropping by! I hope that you enjoyed my travel photos and commentary, and will return for more travel content in the future.