Heading outside of Abidjan
Not everyone is an outdoorsman. I guess what I am trying to say that, some of us prefer the great indoors. I happen to be one of those people. I like shopping malls, libraries, nice living rooms -- you know, inside spaces. This may be one of the reasons I'm sometimes referred to as an inside cat. However, even an inside cat's gotta get out sometime. This time it was Jacqueville, a city located about 70 km West of Abidjan.
Since this was my first time outside of Abidjan -- Assinie and Bassam don't count, I didn't really know what to expect. I wasn't sure of how good the roads would be, I had also heard about security issues on the road. In the end, aside from being stopped about 5 times at checkpoints, where soldiers proceeded to try to shake us down (more on that later), everything went according to plan.
We left on Saturday morning, to take advantage of the Eid weekend. Since everyone else had the same plan, traffic was heavy but not unduly so. The real issue was the soldiers trying to squeeze some money out of our predominantly white group. Since I don't come from a place where shakedowns by the military are a common occurrence, I'm not sure how it normally goes, but I find these guys very, very polite. They flag you down, and instead of asking for your licence and registration politely request a cup of coffee. They will tell you it's hot, they've been standing all day, and come on, it's Eid. I'm very annoyed by these shenanigans, because you are essentially being held hostage by a soldier who has a hardened sense of entitlement to your cash lurking beneath the smile. Say no -- we did every time-- and things can get uncomfortable very quickly. On the way back, one of my friends, who happens to be a white Ivorian dressed down the soldier. Her local French and anger made the soldier beat a hasty retreat, and we were soon back on our way.
Jacqueville is located on the the other side of a lagune and a ferry connects the two side. After quite a bit of driving, we ended up in a very long line of cars waiting to cross. When I say long, I mean 3 hours long. We finally made it across, headed to the beach and had an awesome time.
Jacqueville is a lovely remote town where many Ivorians have vacation properties. The roads are excellent, there is electricity throughout, and the people seemed nice enough. I'd love to go back, but I'll wait until there is a bridge to get across.
After a 3 hour wait, we finally made it over!
The Ivorian government is investing in massive infrastructure projects all over the country. This bridge would have made our journey 3 hours shorter.
Abidjan's roads are so awful, we were stunned to see such beautiful roads. It struck me as a bit of waste since most people were on bicycles.
The inside cat side of me was worried on this road. Sure enough, one of our cars got stuck in sludge.
The view from our thatched roof huts on the beach.
The beach made it all worthwhile.