Sunday, January 20, 2019

Man, Côte d'Ivoire, January 20, 2019

I love my room!  After doing some wash, Brian and I hauled two empty propane tanks to the road and got in a taxi in search of gas.  After stopping at a couple of gas stations and then being left at one by the driver - he wasn't too friendly!, we found the spot.  It was a place where they refuel propane taxis using an electric pump with upside down 8 -10 pound bottles.  We were told to sit inside a wooden building and wait.  They would spray propane into the air every once in awhile to empty a hose.  Thank goodness no one smoked however I was a bit nervous when one of the guys starting banging with a metal pick on something metal in the trunk of the taxi being refuelled.  I was hoping there wouldn't be a spark!  Once filled, they carried the now very heavy tanks to the road and negotiated our cab ride home.  We had to pay for ourselves and the tanks!

No sooner back at camp, I returned to the centre looking for a place to repair my watch.  I've lost a pin and have to carry it in my pocket which isn't that convenient.  Anyway, we went a different way from what I am used to and soon the cabby stopped and hopped out to change a tire-

He said it wouldn't take long and that was okay because there were a couple of food stalls nearby I could check out.  I wasn't too keen on the super fried chicken or fish that was on offer.  Once back on the road, a woman from Senegal helped me find a watch repair shop in the busy market stalls-

The young kid had a heck of a time getting the pin in.  Half an hour later he returned with it done and over charged me but claimed he'd hurt his finger so.....

I found the best avocado, onion, tomato and boiled egg salad, got stared at by the locals and looked for a SIM card.  Unfortunately, it's Sunday so none is available.  I found a roadside bar and had a beer with some locals.  One guy was drunk and obnoxious but another man was very friendly.  I learned a lot about the country.  Côte d'Ivoire seems a lot richer than other places we've been.  Their civil war lasted 8 years and they never had Ebola.  Their main exports are cocoa, coffee, oil, cobalt and other minerals.  Schools aren't free and most people go to university but there are no jobs when they finish.  Life expectancy is to about 50 so that explains why a person doesn't see many older people!  They learn French and now English in school.  Their local language, which is also spoken in Liberia and Guinée, isn't taught in school and the younger people can't speak it but they understand it.  The Muslims and Christians get along perfectly and there are many mixed marriages.  People are usually buried the same day they die unless people have to come from far away for the funeral.  There is no cremation and they can be buried in a coffin or just placed in the ground.  I had an interesting afternoon.

A few of us went out for supper and tomorrow we're heading south to Tai National Park.  The trip is thankfully starting to get more interesting! 

Brian is from south east UK - Ramsgate.  He's a retired electrician and now travels for fun.  This is his third overland, having done Uk to OZ with Madventure and Calcutta to Katmandu with Dragoman.  He likes overlands because it's an easy way of travelling and you get into the thick of it, as opposed to just seeing the 'tourist side' of the country.  When Brian isn't travelling, he likes to golf, play crib, play walking football which is like soccer except you walk instead of run, go for walks either alone or with neighbour's dogs and go to the local pub!  He likes to play guitar and sing and he was fortunate enough to find a guitar in Marrakech and now we are often serenaded.  

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