Cote-divoire Travel Stories, Page 2

Ivory Coast, if an Idea is not obviously yes, then say no

Si une idée n'est évidemment pas bon, alors dire non
This is the story of how a 100 Dollar apartment somehow became 1000.

I never realized how sleepy, sedentary and set in my ways I was until I inserted the coin in the slot, and down tumbled a Victoria Secrets Doll into my stable hands. I am talking about this Ivorian girl sleeping in my bed, she is five handfuls of crazy, and she is a normal human. I accept that I am abnormal, she is sleeping peacefully, while I came to this country, I am typing on a computer in a country at war, fretting and feeling frustrated for fun.

The Search for Obvious
I was a primarily a Philosophy, secondarily Psychology, and when not sure an English major at Indiana University (Bloomington). University was a time where I accepted to read books that no sane man would ever read without a looming threat, you read this or you fail the course.

The goal of a University feels to be this to me:
1. Convince you that you are smarter than the normal public.
2. Help employers to take job applications faster, by only accepting the applicants with a piece of paper from an University.

The good reasons to go to University are:
1. To find people that are so smart, you feel stupid and humble, and accept your status in life.
2. Become friends with people from other tribes; in the USA this means, people from other High Schools and cities.
3. Avoid work for four to five years.
4. Find a larger selection of people to marry.
5. To accept that incredibly smart people jump off tall buildings.

My best friend at Indiana University, Steve Alfeder, a Jewish boy from Great Neck, New York often said during finals week,
"Let’s go drink a beer at the bar across from Eigenmann Dorm, and wait for people to jump."

If I was a professor, I would hope to guide my students in learning how to search for obvious truths, non-negotiable truths, answers the world accepts without questions.

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The Secret to Life
Search for the simple answers to lives complicated problems, only accepting the answers that are obviously correct, and saying no until you know why you are supposed to say yes.

Writing this, I want to say, I am a persistent person that will analyze any problem put in front of my brain; I can never finish writing an article, because I never exhaust all the possible angles, corners and nooks where good ideas hide. I do not finish, I just stop talking, this leaves many readers in the lurch, lonely, lost and looking for the last words, which never come.

Confusing Answers Suck
I hope none of you ever learns how the mind of a Philosophy Professor works, there is no obvious reason to talk with people lost in confusion, and enjoying it. If you ask them a question, they will recite something, say the names of people, then tell you to read Descartes, Sartre or Hume, which is to say, go become more confused, I do not know the answer, I am just a teacher.

Again, the Secret of Life in Reverse Order
This is my management strategy for dealing with Bah, who I call crazy, and chaotic. I suspect she is probably the sane one, because I know one time I was declared certifiably crazy. I spent 30 days in an insane asylum --- they called it Alcoholism Treatment, however, years later I know and accept, it was an insane asylum, the place we put people until they can walk around not pissing in public.

Please read take this sentence, and remember it is a secret:
"Search for the simple answers to lives complicated problems, only accepting the answers that are obviously correct, and saying no until you know why you’re supposed to say yes."

Reverse it to:
"Say no, and continue to say no until you see an answer that is obviously correct, you know."

I should also add, never feel bad about converting a yes again to no.

The Apartment Search in Ivory Coast
I am paying 150,000 CFA per month to live in this Hotel.
Bah tells me, she found an apartment for 50,000 per month.
Obviously sounds like a yes, a no brainer.

The man, who she says is rich, lives in Europe is coming from Abidjan on Wednesday to show us the Apartment, therefore I get down to advanced math. I want to know the bottom line, how much money to move in?

500,000, I think to myself, there is an extra 0.
50,000 became 500,000

100 US Dollars became 1000 Dollars.
Si une idée n'est évidemment pas bon, alors dire non
There must be some business terms that explains how what starts out reasonable becomes extreme cost over-runs.

This was all fun, and she said,
"You can trust the man."
I asked,
"Is he African?"
"Then, I do not trust."
She says,
"Then trust me."
I said,
"Bah, I do not trust you with 1000 Dollars."

Convert this Example to USA Dollars
1000 Dollars for an USA apartment, then the final cost changes to 10,000 Dollars. If an American girl asked me to give her 10,000 Dollars, I would say no, trusting a person to spend large sums of money is always a question mark.

Travel Math
After 11 years of owning, I reworked my list of 200 top travel subjects. First, I realized the different between a popularity contest, which is the word "Top" and what is needed. I do not get involved in business popularity contests, they are always graded on a curve and all participants eventually fall off the curve and slide into oblivion.

A business that is popular today will be unpopular tomorrow and out of business.

My Opinion on Math Skills of Tourists
The math skills, for a tourist is the same as the average grade level of math for an American.
What grade level of proficiency in math has the average American?
If you tell me, you are not good at math, then what am I supposed to think?

On the Lighter Side of Life
It appears that a group of armed men working for the candidate that won in the view of the world went into the village of Anyama and 100 people died last night. The mother of my girlfriend lives in this village, therefore the mother called her daughter this morning at 8:00 am to tell her she was ok and alive. I think it is obvious today to Bah, that is not the correct time to rent an apartment, maybe better to go buy a large bag of rice and a machete.

Read this link as the above information will soon be deleted:

Degradable Plastic Could Maybe Clean This Ivory Coast Beach

Ivory Coast, if an Idea is not obviously yes, then say no

PC --- Political Correctness is the Same as Living under a Dictator

When I offend a reader, it is possible to say, I was not politically correct. When you offend a dictator you can be killed, erased, or the regime will correct the offensive problem. I am here in Ivory Coast; there is extreme amount of people telling me,
"Shush, do not talk."

It is easy to know when you being governed by dictators or kings, they put up big signs to remind you, we are watching, these signs were quickly removed in Iraq after Saddam was removed, and up pops new leaders photos.

This was the money in in Iraq in 2003. When you are under the thumb of propaganda, they do not have "Dead Presidents," llke the USA. Then it is normal to have living leaders photos on the money. Iraq Money in 2003

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Tuesday, February 22, 2011


"I am FREE, look at me."

I am proud of this photo; this was a great moment in my life, a day when I was extremely proud to be an American. I took this photo in Mosul, Iraq in September of 2003, a couple of months after the major bombing of Iraq ended, and at this time Iraq was liberated, I spent one month there as witness.

Does it offend you I said --- Liberated?

I took this photo in a Chicken Restaurant in Mosul, Iraq, the owner of the restaurant was happy to meet me; they had just installed a satellite television dish. Many Iraqi men were sitting around watching professional wrestling from the USA and one asked,
"Is this real?"

The owner looks at one man Iraqi sitting at a table and says,
"He is a spy."
"This man was a general."
The man is beaming, he has a smile that was an eruption of happiness, he was bouncing, he was so grateful and happy to meet an American, and he was not able to sit still. He looked at me and said,
"Two months ago, I could not talk with the Spy or the General, or maybe someone kills me, now we are friends."

The small boy grabs a cigar, he start to make mocking gestures, and pretends he is Saddam Hussein. This all seems trivial to an American, because we can mock, talk, hell, we can burn the American Flag and nothing is going to happen. However, what the boy was doing would have gotten him killed before the Americans came to Iraq, he was screaming,
"I am free."

Photos of Iraq boy mocking Saddam Hussein

My Real Life Yesterday and Today

I started the morning today; I was doing some writing research, making two pages:

1. How to find typos?
2. How to avoid typos?

I was typing away, and suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling of worry, and said to myself,
"I cannot make any typos here; it would be the ultimate be stupid page."
Reader would, and could say,
"Andy, you made a page on how to find typos and another on how to avoid typos, and on both of the pages there are loads of typos."
"You are just too stupid."

Hmm, realized, I am worried about many things, why am I walking on eggshells...?

Islamic Restaurant in Ivory Coast -- Maybe if you are lucky, open on Sunday.

I was hungry, so I took Bah, my live-in-the-same-Hotel-room girlfriend to one of my favorite restaurants here in Ivory Coast. We sat down on the stools; I nod my head, and say Bon Jour to the group. I introduce Bah to the woman who I think is the owner, and for sure the cook. Smiling, I am happy, I am going to eat good this morning, I ordered a two egg omelets sandwich with green peppers inside, the cook will cut a baguette in two and serve with a glass of water for one dollar. (500 CFA)

I look over a Bah,
"What do you want to eat?"
She says,
I am thinking to myself,
"Bah, why can’t you be decent? Buy a drink, do something, do not just take up space on the stool where a paying customer could be sitting."

I finished, and say Merci, hold up both hand to wave goodbye, and look at everyone in the eyes as we depart. We start walking down the road, she wants to quickly flag down a taxi, I want her to relax and I say,
"Ok, I get it, you do not like the "Musselman."
She is very angry, saying something like, you are endangering my life, later I agreed and asked her to instruct me, she said,
"We cannot talk,"
I said,
"Then how can I learn the rules?"
"Andy, please do not talk."
"You are endangering my life."

The country is divided, Islamic against Christian, one ethic tribal group against another, nobody trust the person next to them, they all say,
"Shush, do not talk."

Why PC is the same as a Dictatorship?
There is a movement, the world wants to protect peoples rights, they want dissention to stop. This PC movement has given a few people who do not respect freedom of speech the moral high ground. I no longer have freedom of speech in the USA. If for example, I say,
"The President of the USA should be a Christian."
"I do not want a lesbian teaching my son."
"I do not want people who smoke cigarettes working with me."
"Indiana people are nicer than New Yorkers."
"I do not want Hobos sleeping in front of the Hotel."

Maybe you can lose your job, if these words were written by a Politician, the person job would be kaput.

There are rules to follow, nobody has written down the rules; therefore, we only know the rules when we are punished. This is the same as a dictatorship, the only safe course of action is to never talk freely, or you will be punished by death. I am grateful, not that I have freedom of speech, because I know I do not. People who write down the truth are no longer respected; the PC police will for sure punish honestly. There are writers that make everyone happy, why? Because they write what people want to hear, a group of words that makes people happy, they tell a group a lie to keep them docile and clicking on the Facebook like button.

Today, I am grateful because I am know am brave enough to write as if I was free, and I am willing to accept the punishment given me.

There is the another side dictators; the promise, they constantly promise people a lie. Moreover, because the lies are repeated many times, the people finally believe the lie, and if for some reason you say,
"The King is a jerk."
The group has been listening to the lie for so long, they forget to say,
"And why do you think the King is a jerk?"

When a person says something offensive, the first question posed by you should be,
"Is the writer telling the truth as he or she sees it?"

Second question:
"Am I offended because he or she told the truth about me?"

I like to read a typo here and there, I know the person is alive and real, I hate the feeling of reading politically correct propaganda wrapped in make me feel good words. I want to know I am free, I want to be offended, I want to have my mind opened up by reading. I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I believe the writers job is to grant me the one clear and succinct explanations that explains my world.

PC --- Political Correctness is the Same as Living under a Dictator

Two People can Argue over a Fan in a Hotel Room

Compromise happens when enough is enough, and hopefully before the last straw breaks the camels back. I need two fans; it is not easy to share one floor fan with two people. I want to sit at the table and type on the computer with the fan blowing at me, while Bah wants to lie in bed and watch television.

I can turn on the fan so it swivels, however the noise level increase, which is annoying.

Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Sunday, February 20, 2011


Conversations with the Brute Culture
90 percent of the time living in Africa is sharing the world with loving children playing all day in the sun, there is a harmony. However, tell one of the children to stop playing, and there can be temper tantrums and unreasonable talk and arguments. I know that common sense is uncommon to find, it is not something that can be shared between two people. A person who knows they are fighting for the cause of common sense will never give up the battle, there is seldom compromise by the person fighting on the side of common sense.

The Conversation

A. Bah gets the sniffles when a fan blows directly on her when she sleeps.

B. Because of the heat presently in Ivory Coast, I can only sleep when a fan is blowing directly at me.

She turned the fan off, and said,
"Do you want me to get the sniffles?"
(Where does this constant wanting to find blame come from?)

The complicated thing here is she knows I cannot sleep without a fan, but the African culture is brute force, whoever exerts the most brute force wins the discussion. Common sense is only for the mere person, the small people who have no power.

The problem here is I am 100 percent sure; I will win all arguments involving brute force. I do not like brute force arguments; they give me the right to win and take anything I want. I have accepted, too often for comfort my ability to use brute force, I must be a benevolent dictator here in Africa. Generally, the problem is processing time; the time it takes to process what is fair could takes days here. If you think common sense is rare, then treating people with justice and fairly has never existed in some cultures, it just is not a needed social behavior.

Brute force is intoxicating, it is the force of a bully, and when kind people do not stand up to a bully and use brute force, they become slaves. However, a bully is drunk with power, they keep testing the limits, I do not enjoy getting near addictive behavior, because soon what is intoxicating becomes a habit, and difficult to break.

Mental Process in Real Time versus Delayed
Common sense is a mental process that happens quickly for a few, however for the people who does not understand a common sense maxim; it may take their brain days or weeks to accept. With patience, people come around and accept common sense, it may take their brain a long time, the brain which in reality is a small and unused computer weeks to process, however, one day the brain will complete its work and say,
"Yes, that is ok, it only makes common sense."

The person believe they understood quickly, because it took as long as it took, which was normal for that person.

However, for the sturdy and durable person, he or she must stay the course and be a kind, benevolent dictator, soft and mild, but intolerant and unmoved by tantrums while waiting for the computer to process.
"The Father."
"The Boss."
"The Chief."

I need to use brute force in discussions with Bah, I told her yesterday,
"We are going to look at the Apartment now."

Now, in the USA common sense would say,
"I have no right to tell a woman what to do."
The truth is, here in Africa, if I do not tell Bah what to do occasionally, she starts to feel insecure, as if I do not know what I am doing. Two very separate cultures, an astute person must accept there are extreme differences, and negotiate out compromises.

We always have the right to tell a person what to do, providing the person also has the right to refuse.

I am going to buy a second fan.

Video on why to have a porter and help find the bus station?

Two People can Argue over a Fan in a Hotel Room

Ivory Coast Bank ATM Works as of February 20, 2011

As I suspected it is still possible to use a Bank Machine in Cote d’Ivoire to extract money from a USA Bank. However, I am safe whether banks are open or closed for six months.

I reviewed the banking article from Bloomberg, it is technically correct; however, the banks that have or could have closed are not the major banks. Ecobank is one of the primary banks in Ivory Coast and it is still functioning, and I have never seen a Citybank in this country. When reading these type of articles, they feel more real than reality and one is tempted to credit where it does not belong. Bottom line, there are banking problems here, but I do not believe the world is going to shut off Ivory Coast, they will just say they are, and everything will continue to function. As best I can figure out, none of the Expats from France that live here has left.

Money for Living
I have enough money to live here between 6 and 12 months. It appears I could rent a room for about 600 Dollars per year, which would be an expensive room; they go for a little as 300 Dollars per year. I have been paying about 300 dollars per month for a Hotel room, if I plan to stay two months here; I can take this money and rent a room for a year, and allow Bah to stay on there while I leave. It sounds like an abusive situation, as if she is maneuvering me into a corner, and in some ways she is, but either way, I get the same lifestyle, I wlll have a room for two months, but she gets a bonus of having a room paid for a year. The quality of my accommodations would improve if I move out of a Hotel and into an apartment, because I would have a kitchen. I pay the same amount of money and my living standards grow, and she feels empowered, really a no-lose situation, if the location and apartment are acceptable for a white man.

Cote d’Ivoire Bank Situation
Even before the election, trying to understand how Ivory Coast banking works would be difficult because the locals have little to do with banks. I do not have my friends that say to me, they are going to the bank. I have never seen a friend of mine go to the bank. However, I do see people line up at the ATM machine; I believe they are the richer folks, the connected.

I think there is a small run on the banks, what this means is people are lining up to remove all their money. Bah said,
"You need to go the ATM at 7:00 am in the morning."
She refuses to talk with me in anything but an African riddle talk the situation; she is hiding her head in the sand, hoping this all will go away.

Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Sunday, February 20, 2011


Ivory Coast People are Staying Out of Politics
I have been asking my many friends and acquaintances here in Ivory Coast how they feel about the country as of February 20, 2011. Generally, they refuse to comment, talk or think about the subject, and from their tone, and fear in their eyes, I know they are correct, they need to be quiet.

Talking Means Nothing in Africa
I am learning a lot about the culture of Africa, how logic and common sense are truly a luxury on the planet, not needed, and has little to do with the people in the streets. Seeking a safe haven, seeking money, seeking a way to stay out of any storm is their goal; however, this turns them into powder kegs of frustrated emotions ready to explode sometimes.

Example: Bah told me two things.

1. Let us go look at an apartment on Monday.

2. In the French language she tells me, there is going to be a "manifestation," on Monday. Which as best I can understand means there is going to be a protest. She follows up and says, we need to stockpile food because all the stores will be closed on Monday.

It is distracting and frustrating to believe a person I care about does not see the problem with these two statements. She has proposed we do two things, she has repeated each of these statements multiple times, and she does not see or understand the inconsistencies and has no desire to reconcile them. Trying to point them out only make her angry, here brain is sleeping, and please do not disturb sign is posted, as is normal here.

I asked another friend, a Ghana man, and he more or less said the same. I finally had to say last night,
"We go to the beach on Monday; we do not look at an Apartment."
I could have comments on the protest, or her desire to stockpile food, but this just feeds a silly strain of logic. Yet, of course, I allowed her to buy a lot of food yesterday at the Super Marche and she has already eaten all the food she stockpiled.

This is why I say, talking is of no value, there is no correlation between what the people say and what truly happens. Talk is just a noise made to comfort people, to occupy empty spaces, something said in serious but it is seldom ever serious.

She said a generalization last night about African men, she proceeded to tell me they are not serious and they will tell her or girls anything, all they want is sex. They will promise anything and never do it, which is why she likes me. She does not realize she is almost the same, the boys do not lie, and she does not lie, she just is not capable of thinking strictly. The life is so easy here, there is no need to ever become serious; if they become serious, it means they need to snooker their money for the day, by hook, crook, or maybe work as a last resort, they need to find a few dollars for their cell phone credit, food is extremely plentiful.

I do not expect my friends to have brains and use them; I expect them to be as honest as they can be, and to hang around with me. If they are angry or do something that is too crazy, than I walk around and return after they stop.

Talking is entertainment to people, even in the USA, the general population just follows the herd, they wake in the morning, works all day and eats themselves into complete obesity. Both cultures believe they know and understand the world, and they do, all that is necessary.

I do not know the world, I accept this is not possible; however, I continuously ask questions, observe and read about subjects that are the highest priorities in my life. I remember my travel writer who went to Cuba for me and wrote about it, Andreas Hildago, he commented on the Cuban culture.

"They believe they are highly educated, and for some reason the world believes they are highly educated. However, on the ground in Havana, it is impossible to buy books, without books to read and learn they fail to have a bank of knowledge, they are delusional that they have knowledge, they only possess a belief that they are educated which they state to the world with such confidence the world believes."

I value human observation; I value real life experiences more than books. However, somehow, I know people sit around in coffee shops in the USA, talking about politics, and yet, the only read the headlines of the newspaper, not the article, because truthfully, they can barely read. Theu turned the TV station to the weather channel and say, I watched the news. Then onto the sports or soap opera, or they watch American Idol and gossip on Facebook and see this as educational not as entertainment.

I do not believe in education as a way for people to be happy, I think it is best if people stay mildly ignorant. Here in Ivory Coast, they are better off if they do not know what is happening, or what could happen, whether they have knowledge or are just empty headed is not important. Nothing would change, they will react to any situation, and if they become too afraid, they will run.

Visa to Ghana, Liberia, Guinea, and then maybe Sierra Leone
I am prioritizing my introspective life, and realized, I have permission to stay in Cote d’Ivoire for about six months. However, if I need to run, I need a Visa to Ghana for about a year if possible. I am going to go (Heheheh Monday) as soon as possible to the Ghana Embassy and get the longest visa possible. Next, I will apply for a Liberian visa, and continue to map out exit strategies in the event of problems, the airport is less than 45 minutes from me.

Bah says if there are problems, you can go to the Ghana border, however the border will instantly be closed if there are major problems here. She said, you can go around the border illegally, and again she over-simplifies a very complicated thing for a white man, failing to empathize, what is possible for her, is possible for me, her life is simple, and always has been.

We live, we die, we try to avoid stress, this is the normal life of a human, being part of a herd, and becoming very angry when told we are not as smart as we think and believe. To me the only proof of my intelligence is my never-ending pursuit of the truth, and my willingness to tell my opinions to the masses without feeling a need to make them happy at the expense of honestly.

I think food, work, sports, booze and religions are the opiates of the masses in that order, these intoxicants keep peoples brains from knowing what is happening and docile, there is no time to be introspective, and no need. If in doubt, give your friends some food, this solves 99 percent of arguments, keep it simple.

Reclusive Lifestyle in IC
I am 90 percent sure, I am going to stop the world long enough to finish my book, this needs to be done to insure my business thrives. By writing a book, it elevates me from a normal Travel Blogger to an expert in my field. You know, I can be in and they will not delete the pages because there are no "Paper" references. It is always humorous, Wikipedia almost only accepts paper as true citations, and information written on the Internet is not a source to be trusted.

Money in Ho Ghana for Scavenger Hunt Unclaimed
Today is February 20, 2011 and nobody has won the 100 US Dollars by making a video and uploading about the Tarso Hotel in Ho, Ghana. It is possible the cell phone is still hidden, there has been no communication with me on whether the found it or not.

Win Tigo Cell Phone or 100 US Dollars

Moonshine in Ivory Coast a.k.a. Cote d’Ivoire

Ivory Coast Bank ATM Works as of February 20, 2011

2011 February 18 Entered Ivory Coast left Ghana West Africa

Yesterday, I traveled from Takoradi, Ghana to Elubo, Ghana to get my exit stamp. The local Elubo taxi drivers and their commissioned bag carriers swarmed me; they all wanted to take me either across the border, or all the way to Abidjan. I needed to pull my bag away from them and get strict, I finally chose Sylvester for 1000 CFA help me get the Ghana and Ivory Coast stamps and then drop me in Noe.

I was worried, by strange quirk, I took photos of a friend who was a Police Officer, he was very demanding and wanted to know where I was at, as if he was coming to get me. I removed the photos, but there is some strange code in Ghana that believes they can control other people, it is a "Chief Mentality." Maybe a master and slave way of commanding other to obey, I obeyed because no picture of Ghana is worth fighting over, nothing that exciting and photos would be close to impossible to sell.

Putting up a Road Blocks to Collect Money System
The normal system of extracting money from people is to set up a roadblock, a border crossing is the extreme form of a tollgate. It is very common for Border Guards to try to get an extra 5 or 10 dollars for unknown reasons from people crossing a border. They use some reason, maybe you are on the last day of your visa, maybe you purchased some clothing that appears to be imported into their country. I have had problems with my computer and cameras; they want to say you need a license or permits. I did not have a Yellow Fever card with me one time as I entered Niger, no problem, they just asked for 20 US Dollars. Any small reason is translated into cash for the military or police forces, and they carry guns, and can deny me exit of country.

A normal tollgate on the road can be bypassed, it is very difficult to cross borders and without becoming an illegal alien, a person must get an exit and entry stamp. Well, in this case, I knew it was possible for the Police Officer to call ahead and tell the border workers, stop this white man and extract money. In the worst case if the man happened to be very connected, they could put me in jail and get as much money as I was willing to cough up.
"I will make you and offer you cannot refuse."

Extraction of money depends on how much money the person has, and how urgent the need. If I exited on the last day of my Visa, the border guards know I must leave, I have no choice. I do not leave on the last day of a visa in dodgy countries, which is about 50 percent of them.

Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Saturday, February 19, 2011


I made it through the Ghana tollgate, a.k.a. border crossing, I smiled a lot and then my driver took me to the Ivory Coast crossing, where they wanted to know the exact city I was going too, as if to track my travels inside the country.

Maybe you could call this a "Vested Interest Transport System" to cross borders. When I was in Takoradi, Ghana I tried to ride in this van, it was going direct from Takoradi to Abidjan and for 5000 CFA the driver would help with border crossing, 15,000 for the Van, and 5000 CFA for the border crossing assistance.

If you are up to no good, maybe a smuggler, or bad papers, or you want to bring some contraband into a country, this is the way that it is done. Intermediaries collect large fees for trips and magically the border guards let you pass. I wanted to go with this van because the driver agreed to become a stakeholder, I told him, I will give you the 5000 CFA when I am across the border. This is not a direct bribe; it is an indirect way to sweeten the pot, finding someone who knows someone who has a special deal.

He needed three more riders, and finally the direct van next to me loader for Elubo and I changed loyalties and went with the faster transport situation. It could take five hours more to find someone that would pay 10 times the going rate for the direct trip. I was more interesting in speed than sweetening the pot, I also knew I could hire an arranging driver in Elubo if needed, and there is always someone around who will make life easy for money.

I think I would be a great escort for high powered executives who need to come to a truly off the wall country, I could relieve tons of stress by explaining clearly what is happening. It is stressful to just accept what is happening without ever understanding.

Snails Purchased by Private Taxi Driver

Private Driver from Noe to Bassam
I arranged a private driver to take me from Noe to Grand Bassam about 80 miles, and strangely, we had his cousin or someone in the back seal that was going to Abidjan. It cost 6000 for one seat in the shared car or I could buy them all, for many reasons I purchased them all for 20,000 CFA, which is about 40 US Dollars.


The driver stopped for many reason, any reason, to many reasons, first for Snails, next for Crabs, and we almost stopped so he could buy one of the huge rats they eat in Ghana and Ivory Coast. I was happy to not have a dead rat sitting on the floor behind the driver.

New Road Block World Record
The most stops to be checked by immigration police was maybe between Colombia and Venezuela, that record was eight. Yesterday we went 10 between Noe and Aboisso, about 50 miles, then got another five between Aboisso and Grand Bassam.

15 times, they stopped the car, opened the trunk, look in my bag, and asked for papers, sometime my passport, or sometimes the drivers, or both. The extra passenger got out one time and walked through one stop point or barrage and we picked him up later, a proof positive he was up to something, and not just the cousin in the back.

Note: I did NOT pay any bribes to Ghana or Ivory Coast, I have only paid one bribe and it was in Mexico. (Mexico is one of the most corrupt country on Earth and Americans love it.) I have given unknown fees or unexpected five dollars; I did this to enter the Dominican Republic from Haiti, and extra five for the DR.

There are some truly off the path fees that governments can come up with, it is not possible to know all the possible reasons to pay a government and who cares, as long it is small. Nevertheless, to offer a bribe only enables the bribe system to work. On the other hand, bribes can help a person have all the freedom possible on the planet, all you could ever want to buy is for sale. A person can truly buy their way through borders, but I do not recommend you ever offer money, wait for them to ask and always call it a gift, or help for their family.

Travelers love to tell stories on how to bribe, some are very creative, and the normal person would rather bribe than do things correctly. It is like paying taxes, people cheat on their taxes because it is easier than paying, and people consider a bribe ok if they can afford it and it makes life easier.

I Left Poor Ghana and Entered Rich Ivory Coast
I look at the world as a farmer, when a farmer see good tillable soil, he or she looks at it with a lust for land. Ghana does a good job, 10 times better than Togo at farming, which does about nothing, but Ivory Coast is the farming champions of West Africa.

There was a sudden lushness as we entered Ivory Coast, everything was green. Plantations popped up for Rubber, Palm Oil, Pineapple, and a few very large fields of onions. There were now factory size processing plants for these plantations. I left the small boys and entered the big boy world, Ivory Coast feels rich.

No Visa Pushing Please
I am happy to return to Cote d’Ivoire, the proper name, not Ivory Coast as the English world demands to use, but is clear to people from a writing point of view.

I have until September to leave this country, I got a one year Visa in the USA, I requested three months and they gave me a year. Now, I can make good decisions without feeling like a Visa boss is looking over my shoulder.

Bah Bah I am Back with Bah the Ivory Coast Girl
Bah came to see me, she was happy I returned, she is in a safe place. When she entered Ghana, she was in culture shock, relationship shock, and language shock. When people are experiencing these types of shocks, they often become demanding as they try to control an uncontrollable world. If they are in extreme fear, they become passive, and very controllable, well, Bah was never passive.

The saga continues…

I am thinking, maybe I invest two months and finish my book, I need to push onto the finish line and get a completion high. I love the rush of finishing what I started months ago, we are going this presently with the photos project and "My Hobo" the social network on

Video of Pineapple Plantation as I entered Cote d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast

Video of 10 US Dollar Hotel in Accra Ghana West Africa

2011 February 18 Entered Ivory Coast left Ghana West Africa

Ivory Coast Election 2010

Ivory Coast Election 2010

Similar to the USA, people immigrate to Ivory Coast because it is the economic success story of West Africa. Ghana people move to Ivory Coast, it is estimated that 25 percent of the people in Ivory Coast are immigrants; this causes many problems for the present election.

The ink proves she has voted, and stops people from voting twice. I took this photo of my neighbor Angel in Grand Bassam, she was proud to show she had voted, they locals will pull out their very modern identification and voter registration card and shows you, there is nothing primitive, this is cutting edge technology.

Noe, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Border of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana


I am sitting at the Noe Border crossing between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana; they closed the border because of the election. The official at the border says,
"The man in charge went to Abidjan."

Last night for about two hours they count was read off on the radio, the sound of a hard and raspy man read the country from districts in Cote d’Ivoire.

Laurent Gbagbo - The current President has 35 percent.
Alassane Quattara has 35 percent.
Henri Konan Bedie has 27 percent.

The story goes something like this, if there is not a simple majority, whatever that means… then the top two candidates will have a run-off vote on November 28, 2010.

The politicians have been involved in armed combat off and on for the last 5-10 years. If this election goes smoothly, with no violence, than the nation could lapse into a sense of safe and secure. If there is any people killed or murdered, then the next 5-10 years the USA government will be saying.’
"Enter Ivory Coast at your own risk, and your insurance will not be valid."

Ivory Coast Election 2010

Six Abissa Videos from Cote d’Ivoire

Six Abissa Videos from Cote d’Ivoire
Here are six videos explains a week of party in Grand Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire called "Abissa," a NZema tribal tradition.

This is more of a masquerade party, they locals are having fun dressing, not as wild as it seems.

Abissa Explained

Grand Bassam, Quartier France
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Monday, November 1, 2010


Women with Lantern on Head

Truly Sexy Girl Dancing at Abissa

Abissa Fête Femme Sexy Cote d'Ivoire Africa

Fête Abissa Tom Tom Cote d'Ivoire Africa

Abissa Drums Cote d'Ivoire Africa

Abissa Festival Parade with Drums in Grand Bassam Cote d'Ivoire West Africa

Six Abissa Videos from Cote d’Ivoire

Dancing in the Streets in Ivory Coast at Abissa

The Nzima Festival called "Abissa" is vibrating this sand bar I am living on, the drums make the earth move. There is a heaven and earth amount of energy being exerted; this is like trance dancing on steroids, an intoxicating moment in travel.

The Quartier France here in Grand Bassam was built on a sand bar, the streets are sand. My world is sand, this is beach life, and we live on the sand. Now they are dancing in the sand as this calm village is turned into the biggest festival in Ivory Coast.


I was standing at the side, a little boy pulls me down, and decorates my face, and it has now become a daily event.

Grand Bassam, Quartier France
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Ama my neighbor is dressed up all sexy, like an elf, I motion to her to let me take her photo, she motions to me,
"You can kiss this."

Do not go primitive on me, this is not uncivilized Africa world, this is normal is life. What is Ama doing right now, same as the USA, she is giving me attitude. My gorgeous and difficult neighbor, she eats all my food, takes my money, she is women, hear her roar. She sells me popcorn, keeps the change, and wants me to look and not touch.

Starting at about three in the afternoon and lasting until 8:00 pm, these drums echo into the night and people dance madly around them in duel of energy dancing, each person tries to exert more dance as the sand flies.

These are not androgynous looking Asian girls, these are African. This is the calm before the storm; she soon breaks out into a special dance, saying to the crowd, look at me.

Video Below

Girls Dancing Video

The Festival of Abissa is an important celebration for the Nzima people, the place is organized.

There are a few traveler rites of passage, maybe Abissa needs added to the list. A few of you are going to say,
"I have been there, done that."
And for people who come to Abissa, we must stand quiet and listen --- for when you attend Abissa, you truly know you were "out," for one time in their life, they was "outside" your own culture --- maybe they would not understand.

I have already put up four videos; the next missive will be full of videos.

Dancing in the Streets in Ivory Coast at Abissa

Hobo Members save 1000's of dollars by joining HoboTraveler and asking pro travelers questions on the Hobo Talk Wall.