Another first:  Abidjan, Ivory Coast

2023 HAL World Cruise

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Abidjan is said to be the biggest and most important city of Cote d’Ivoire.  It has a population of about 4 million people and was, in fact, the capital of the Ivory Coast from 1933 to 1983 when Yamoussoukro was designated the official political capital.  However, Abidjan remains the official economic capital.  Nearly all political institutions, as well as foreign embassies, continue to be located there.

Looking into the history of Abidjan, we learned of the long-term, president-for-life, Felix Houphouet-Boigny.  He was the son of a wealthy Baule chief and both socially, and politically connected.  By 1959, he was the prime minister of the Cote d’ Ivoire government.  So, when Cote d’Ivoire won independence from France in 1960, he became the first president of this newly independent country.  His free enterprise policies are credited for the growth of the Ivory Coast into a successful agricultural exporter, creating an economy with one of the highest per capita incomes of any sub-Saharan African nation without petroleum exports.  The Ivory Coast became a cosmopolitan and attractive city.  Then at the age of 88, Houphouet-Boigny died, and the fortunes of Cote d’Ivoire changed dramatically.  Abidjan suffered from negligence, degradation, and corruption.  From 2002-2007 and 2010-2011 Abidjan experienced significant damage during the Ivorian Civil Wars. 

It has not recovered.          

Since we had never been to the Ivory Coast, we thought it would be a good idea to take an organized tour for an overview of the area.  So, you can image our disappointment when the tour we booked was cancelled.  But we figured the ship’s shuttle to the Arts & Craft Market would provide us with a minimal look at the local community; give us an opportunity to take some photos; allow for a little shopping; and maybe give us access to a few lunch venues. 

We were wrong, as the following photos will show:

Pulling into port, we were surprised to see this sand lot next to our docking area. Don’t know what it is but it certainly could be a parking lot?!?!
Once again, shuttles and buses were parked and ready to take us on new adventures.
Off we went looking for the beauty of the Ivory Coast.
It was hard to come by as the market chosen as our destination was nowhere near a beautiful part of town. We never saw the beauty of Cote d’Ivoire. If it still exists, even in a faded state, we were not exposed to the sight.
This unkempt statuary in a roundabout was the closest we came to public artwork.
Before long, we arrived at the market.
The wares appeared to be similar to many we have seen throughout Africa.
We supervised the unloading of newly arrived elephant carvings!!! We did not buy any.
But the giraffe was interesting.
And then before long, we re-boarded the shuttle and noticed the temperature was quite warm. This equates to 104F—we were ready for a cold brew!!!
We opted to by-pass the roadside establishments in favor of the ship’s ambience.
Oh yeah, the verandah was calling our name!!!
May we always find reasons to celebrate, to laugh, and to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Cheers to living in the moment and cherishing each day!!!
We departed Abidjan and are on our way to Banjul, Gambia.

Join us in a few days as we report on Banjul, Gambia and Dakar, Senegal.

The adventure just goes on and on!!!

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