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My Journey Across West Africa part 2 - Travel - UpGhana

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My Journey Across West Africa part 2 by Markito(m) : 12:37 pm

This is continuation of the last episode 'My journey Across West Africa Pt. 1' by Ghanaian Muntaka Chasant

Dear readers,
You must be curious as to where the wind blew me from Abidjan. I hope you find the entries and experience below most enjoying.

Journal entry – Start

Date: 11/11/11

Time: 2:44PM

Currently at about 40km north of Yamoussoukro. We have come through Tiasale and Toumodi.

I am in the very middle belt of Lake Kossou, the largest lake in Ivory Coast. Bouake is our next stop.

Durable roads. Impressive attitude towards road safety.

Yamoussoukro - clean, decent, quiet. Loved it.

Cocoa revenue?

Entry conclusion

I will be a new person at all the places I'm heading to. No one would judge me because I don't have any past there; only the future.

This is rewarding and I have to experience it in the best way I can.

Journal entry – end

Commentary

I arrived at the Adjame area by 7:30AM to catch up with the bus. It was a long distance bus; about 50-60 passenger seats. No, this was not a Youtong or KIA; it was a very large and long old Mercedes bus. The seats were metal covered in rubber leather.

As courtesy demands, I gave my two hosts some CFA franc as my form of appreciation and gratitude for the accommodation and kindness. This excited them greatly. I especially wished them well in their search for job.

Wish I could have stayed more in Ivory Coast but that was not possible. This was much of a window backpacking for me. It was my motive but not a firm plan that I would try to spend no more than 3 days in a country.

Two or three days weren't really enough to have great experience of a country. I wanted to do this as quickly as possible so I can return home and start planning and training for my Mt. Kilimanjaro climb bid, India and Southeast Asia travel.

To do this was a great eye opener for me. Most Ghanaians I know actually think that most of West Africa and large portion of the continent is drowned in political violence, poverty and extreme backwardness.

It was my attempt to corroborate this perception. When I informed one of my friends about my plans to travel across West Africa, his response I recall was something like, “you can go anywhere else but not those areas.

They would not only steal from you but would also harm you.” How did he know that when he has never stepped outside the borders of Ghana in his entire life? My guess is probably from what he has heard or read. But is everything we have heard or read true?

St. Augustine was right. The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

I intend to offer my objective experience of each country and the people as I saw them and not to try to demean them in anyway

We left Abidjan by 10AM and headed up north. The bus was packed and over-loaded. There were 4 seats in every row, with passageway in between like the conventional bus seating arrangement.

They used gallons to block the passageway making it 5 seats in every row. This obstructed the passageway. They didn't do this from the bus terminal so my guess was that the behavior wasn't sanctioned.

They picked extra passengers as we journeyed. I was in the second row on the second seat from left so the gallon was right next to me. The passenger sitting on the gallon would sleep and fall right on me every now and then. Though I was uncomfortable, I thought that it was funny.

We continued through Sikinssi, Toumodi to Yamoussoukro in about 4 hours or so. We covered about 240km of distance. Yamoussoukro was a decent city; clean, quiet and refreshing. We stopped over for about an hour so I was able to take a quick leisurely walk and returned back right on time before the horn was blown for re-boarding.

The Ivorian roads were durable. I was most especially impressed with their attitude towards road safety. They would indicate with both tree branches and warning hazard reflectors more than 1km away from broken vehicles.

This was contrast to the attitude in Ghana. In Ghana, you would only find the warning hazard reflectors about 50-100ft from the broken vehicle.

The Ivorian attitude provides approaching vehicles with all angles of opportunity to avoid collision with a broken vehicle ahead. I suspect every car carries with it not less than 5 road hazard reflectors for this purpose.


We came across several French Military command cars on the road. It seems as though they were coming from some sort of drill because they came our way very often and in numbers. By this time I had began to understand what Michelle, Sherif and my two hosts lamented about the strong French Military presence in Ivory Coast.

My books and iPod provided me with so much entertainment and distraction as my co-passenger slept and fell on me often. I brought with me some of my favorite books; The Old Man and the Sea; Ernest Hemingway, Revised Edition- The Clash of Civilizations; Samuel Huntington and The Greatest Show On Earth; Richard Dawkins.

My iPod was most enjoying. I made three long playlist of random tracks; one of rock and alternative, another of movie soundtracks and the last of world music. The following were the 15 most played tracks on my iPod in order at that time:

#1 Bed of Roses – Bon Jovi
#2 We weren't Born to Follow – Bon Jovi
#3 Love's the Only Rule – Bon Jovi
#4 I'm Forrest…Forest Gump – Soundtrack (Forrest Gump)
#5 The Living Years – Mike & The Mechanics
#6 Makoma Mo Toffee – Daddy Lumba
#7 Himalaya Trekking Song – Rosamm Phiriry
#8 Fix You – Coldplay
#9 Kro Kro Me – Amakye Dede
#10 In the Spider's Web – Himalayan Folk tune
#11 You're No Different – Soundtrack (Forrest Gump)
#12 This Afternoon - Nickelback
#13 Imagine – John Lennon
#14 Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
#15 Bird On a Wire – Soundtrack (SOA)

Also on my iPod were my 5 favorite movies of all time.

Casablanca
Forrest Gump
The Shawshank Redemption
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
City of God

I can recite almost every line of dialogue involving Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. I can watch the movies above forever and never get tired of them.

All of the above were my source of entertainment and distraction as I traveled along.

I didn't have to be very much prepared for everything. All I needed to do was to adapt.

In the midst of all of this, I became very excited that I'm headed to Mali, one of the earliest African civilizations. Timbuktou for instance has always held my curiosity. It is one of those rare areas that still stand unaffected by any form of progress for thousands of years.

Mansa Musa, Mari Djata, Sumanguru and Sundiata spring to mind. These are some names almost every Ghanaian student should be able to spill out about the ancient Mali Empire.

I planned to go further up north to Timbuktou when I come through Mali later in my travel to see the ruins of our ancestral origin. Some musical legends such as Ali Farka, Boubacar Traore and Rokia Traore also sprung to mind. Would I chance upon any concert?

I kept wondering to myself. I don't understand any of the word in Ali Farka's 'Savane' Album which was released after his death in 2006 for example, but it is so soothing and beautiful to listen to that I don't even want to know whatever it is he sings about.

That's the beauty of good music.
  

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Re: My Journey Across West Africa part 2 by Dorcmass(m) : 3:17 pm

Feeling the rythm
continue

Re: My Journey Across West Africa part 2 by Markito(m) : 6:14 pm

Dorcmass: Feeling the rythm
continue

Thank you ma guy. More coming

Re: My Journey Across West Africa part 2 by Dorcmass(m) : 6:46 pm

Markito:
Thank you ma guy. More coming
waiting patiently

Re: My Journey Across West Africa part 2 by havanatandt(m) : 2:36 pm

You for try upload pictures of where you’ve visited.

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