Sunday, January 27, 2019

Grand Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire, January 27, 2019

After enjoying the morning in my air conditionned room, I made my way towards Grand Bassam.  My first stop was along a street lined with shops.  I spent a lot of time in a couple of mask workshops learning about different tribes and their facial/body markings, which I've noticed on many people, as well as the importance of masks in the African culture-

If a woman is having trouble conceiving, a ceremony is held using a fertility mask-

twin's mask-

Two masks are used when travelling: one around your neck and the second is left at the border for a safe voyage-

One of my favourites-

My very favorite complete with shells-

Plants are grown in a healing pot-

Statues are used for decoration inside and outside homes-

In the end I didn't buy one because it's too complicated to try and get it home.  Next door was a shop selling glass and brass maps of Africa.  I'd have loved one but I don't think I could get it home in one piece-

There are lots of shops selling clothes and paintings-

There are also lots of furniture workshops-

Near my lunch stop two men were making batik clothing-

They've made batik tablecloths too-

Grand Bassam was the capital of Côte d'ivoire until a yellow fever outbreak in 1896 forced a move to Bingerville.  There are a few colonial buildings left but they are extremely rundown-

No clothes lines so clothes dry on the sand in the street-

visited a couple art shops-

And bought this one right from the artist.  This painting screams TIA!

Returning home, the taxi driver, taking me to the wrong Jardin d'Eden, also had to pay a $1 bribe to police standing on the street.  He said he has to do that everyday!  There are different vehicles and different colors of pubic transport depending where you want to go.  Minivans run between cities and then taxis take over however there are some collectivo taxis too where you pay the same price for four instead of 14.  I prefer those.  Here, red taxis are in the cities and yellow and green ones are outside.  It's an interesting and awesome setup.  I came out of the hotel complex and immediately flagged down a ride.  How handy would that be at home but there we'd have the issue of seatbelts and I don't think Canadians would tolerate four/seat rather than a comfortable two or three.  I ended up taking a minivan the rest of the way home looking through flags-

There are two workers in each minivan: the driver and the hustler.  The driver drives, listening to the sounds the hustler makes, whether he's groaning something which means who knows what or slapping the side of the van.  The hustler rarely sits down; he stands in the open door of the van, hanging on for dear life but I guess they're used to it.  I saw a taxi today that was filled with 4 passengers but there were six others attached to the sides with one leg in the car and one leg out, often pushing along on the road.  The car was going really fast too.  They were having a good time and thankfully no one fell out while I was watching.  Anyway, back to my minivan.  At one stop, the hustler sprinted about 200 meters down a side road trying to round up riders!  The driver told me I had to pay 500 CFA ($1.13) when I paid 300 CFA (.67) going the other way.  I know that seems trivial but I don't like being taken advantage of.  I asked if 500 was the "white person" price and the driver burst out laughing.  He thought that was the best joke ever and told the hustler who also thought it was super funny.  I was only going partway so they were okay with me giving them 300.  What a place and thank Allah I speak French!  
Once back at the camp, I enjoyed my room again so much I didn't even go in the pool-

It was BBQ chicken in the restaurant for supper.  We are on our way to Ghana tomorrow!

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