Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Au revoir, Abidjan....

 I will soon be leaving Abidjan.... time really flew! 

Here are some things I will definitely miss....

-          Alloco: these fried delicacies will greatly be missed. However, I bet my heart/arteries will be grateful.
-          Coconuts on the street: Manna from heaven, and they will cut it open for you to drink right there. 100 centimes. Life doesn’t get any better.
 -          Coffee ladies: three wonderful Baoulé ladies serve coffee and sandwiches on my floor at work. Every morning, they laugh at my accent and bring me coffee with a little milk. Sometimes I get an avocado sandwich from them for lunch.
-          Ivorian mannerisms while speaking: “Yako,” “mmhmm”, “on est là,” “ce qui est sûr…” and various hand gestures that go with them.
-          Jacqueville: Paradise. Though a bit of a pain to get to, it was my favorite spot in Cote d’Ivoire due to its beauty and quiet.

-          Maquis: poisson braisé, poulet picqué, alloco, attieke, and good music to boot. In particular, Chez Helene, Chez Ambroise, and BBQ Inn.
-          My colleagues and our missions: I enjoyed traveling to schools in other cities, and my colleagues were great partners for the trips.

-     The Chargeurs: the guys who get us the car in the morning for work. Some of them confessed their love, while others just preferred to practice their English.
     -    Shocking taxi drivers with my accent.
-          Pagne: Bright colors on men and women alike, in interesting styles. Oumar, our tailor, could make anything we drew for him, as long as we gave him a lot of time (sometimes sitting with him for hours while he finished stuff)

-          The hair salon ladies: $7 for a mani/pedi. They are right across the street so I definitely used their services. They loved to ask us to bring them back a “friend” from the USA.
-           The Hash: Both the classic and the Abidjan Hash, this was the once a week chance to leave the city and walk around with good company. I laid the Classic Hash twice, which merited me a very inappropriate Hash name. Fun times.

Classic Hash, Abidjan Zoo, 16 June
Abidjan Hash, November 10

-          Wearing sandals every day
-          New surprises/challenges every day: walk out the door. You do not know what the day holds… it could consist of making a taxi driver giggle with your sad attempts at Nouchi or arguing with fruit sellers about the price of a mango. It could end with the road being blocked from a land slide during the rainy season or a 2 hour traffic jam caused by incompetent military trying to regulate the patterns. You might learn the merits of polygamy from a colleague during a conference or have to explain to other colleagues how to put page numbers into a document. You could eat bush meat in a sticky okra stew or French fries and Lebanese salad. You just never know, and that’s what’s the best about it.

Won’t be missed

-          Apprentis: the kids that yell at you when you are crossing the street: They want you to go on their Gbaka. But I just want to cross the street.
-          Embouteillage: Sitting in hour-long traffic in the heat with pollution coming in the windows…. No thank you.
-          Internet and power outages: With the rainy season came lots of power outages. And our internet was always up and down.
-          Negotiating: Every price is negotiable. Though this has positive benefits for the pocket, it can get exhausting, especially if the vendor is giving you a hard time because of where you come from.

-          NesCafe: I can’t wait to have some real coffee. The good kind.
-          Nobody having change: See this post.
-          Open sewers and men using them to relieve themselves: Nuff said.
-          Work drama: bureaucracy and politics, lack of funds, and the like… I sometimes found myself in the middle of “palabres” between colleagues.