Côte d’Ivoire – in the capital Abidjan

We arrived in the glamorous town of Abidjan in the early afternoon. The approach was a lovely transition from countryside to village to instant urban slum 

Roadside vendors

The lonely planet lists two major sites – the Pyramide and the cathedral. The Pyramide is a much feted piece of Italian architecture. I don’t know why. It looks like crap.
La Pyramide

The cathedral did look more interesting but there were about 400 military officials surrounding the entrance and we weren’t allowed in. Later we found out that the first lady’s father had died and it was his funeral
Abidjan cathedral

We found a cafe and had an extremely overpriced nespresso and then wandered round looking for inspiration. The town reeked of piss and was full of the dodgy characters you would expect in a capital city, offering to sell us Samsung 7s.
Sign banning pissing – It was ineffective

We did find a nice contemporary art gallery highlighting some of the finest local pieces.

Modern Ivorian art

After a quick stop to buy cheese and bread in the posh supermarket we headed for dinner to the hippopotamus – a French chain burger and steak restaurant – for an acceptable steak and chips.   
African Jesus

Getting back to the hotel on the outskirts of town was a mission as the funeral traffic was hectic, and after a lot of braking and swearing and driving along the footpath we made it back to our air conditioned haven. On the bright side, the cab drivers here seem reasonably honest and whilst we are probably paying slightly over the odds, they are charging what locals told us to expect (which is more than you can say for all london cabbies).

Abidjan skyscrapers
The verdict in Abidjan – I wouldn’t bother :-).  Others on the truck did love the western mall and nice supermarket but I can see that at home.   

The delicate equilibrium of truck peace was mildly discombobulated in Abidjan as our budget didn’t stretch to double rooms each, hence some tent pairs had to split up to form triples (with the third sleeping on the couch and the other two sharing the bed). My roomie and I were divided and we coped, but were happy to be reunited the following day. However in a shock switch up, the two worst snorers were paired together after complaints from one of their tentmates about lack of sleep. Both snoring offenders look tired this morning and wry smiles are being exchanged by the rest of us! Ironically it turns out the original complainer against the snorers is also a snorer who kept his new roommates awake. Worse, he is apparently a bathroom hog who spent 40 minutes doing his beauty regime before he was forcibly evicted from the bathroom. They quietly requested that room assignments be swiftly restored to status quo. 

Abidjan, December 7, 2016

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