It has been four years since I was last in Cote d'Ivoire - FOUR YEARS - why did I leave it so long? Despite everything that has happened here in the intervening period (civil war - referred to by locals as 'la crise') on first impressions things seem pretty similar to when I was last here.
I spent my first day in Abidjan and yesterday went out to Grand Bassam. We left in a bus from Treichville station. There is so much going on at Treichville I can barely decide what to look at. I particularly liked the holes in the wall for ticket purchases - Guichet Bassam in the photo is where we got our tickets.
Bassam was HOT. We wondered round town and saw the old colonial buidings. There is a big lazy lagoon running through Bassam which has clods of water shrubs (some quite big islands) gently meandering downstream along with the current. It is quite mesmerising. We ended up on the seafront where fish is smoked and long colourful boats line the shore. We were told there was a body further down the beach (someone drowned and the corpse hadn't been collected for three days) so we didn't linger.
On the way back into town we were invited to some homemade 'coutoucou' (distilled palm wine). We sat in a restaurant on the lagoon and watched clods of earth and the occasional pirogue float past. Last stop was the crafts stalls on the road back to Abidjan for some batik and mosquito bites.