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BREAKDOWNS, DANCES AND RIDING WITH LOCALS

HAVING THE MOST FUN IN THE MOST UNUSUAL PLACES

sunny 35 °C
View Benin, Togo and Cote, Ivory on curlygirl's travel map.

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It is a two-hour drive from Man to the Selakuru village where we will watch the famous stilt dance performed by the Kongnaka people. We are a little apprehensive when we see the sign to the village stating “touristique village”. I had really wanted to see this ( dance de Echassier) but we are so spoiled from our Benin experiences that the thought that it is done mostly for tourists disappoints us. You could sense that. The kids all came running but unlike in Benin, they beg for money and candy. We had some fun for sure and the dance was cool. The large black mask is for the man who protects from evil while the stilt dancer is just having fun.

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One of the nicest moments, was at the end when they thought we had left and the village all began to follow the masks and sing and laugh.

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Perhaps the highlight of the day was our return trip where we broke down. First, I will explain, that we have yet to be in any vehicle that does not have at least one check engine warning illuminated. Today was no different. While the roads seem better here, there are still huge holes everywhere. Well, we hit one and that was the end of the car. 35 degrees, full sun, and we are standing on the side of the road hoping a local transit van will come by. We see one, charming, painted with Bonne Chance ( good luck) and we think we are lucky but he continues. After about 30 minutes, I remember my voodoo fetish for good luck with travel. I perform the ritual and immediately, our ride pulls up. We both love the experience of local transportation. So, with two huge smiles, these two white chicks, and our guide crawl into the back of a decrepit, filthy, dusty, van, packed with people, and everything else. A video screen plays up front blasting Afrobeats. We greet everyone with a “bonsoir” (anytime after noon) and settle in for the 70-minute ride that stops frequently along the way. We stop for bananas and pile a large bunch in the back with us. Loved it.

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On arrival back in Man, we jump in another dilapidated vehicle, a taxi, and head to a small village called the zélé with the Gbâ people. This was very cool and although Voodoo is not practiced in Cote D’Ivoire, there were similarities. First the men with sticks danced and chanted through the village before going off into the woods to search for the “masque”, he arrives and we walk through the village following his antics. Everyone gathers to follow and watch.

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We end our day by spending a couple of hours walking through the Man market. We both agreed that this was very interesting. Really too busy and crowded in small spaces for photos but so great. I loved the alley with the traditional medicine. Really beautiful. I will say, there is way too much garbage around and the air quality is brutal. When we get home, we are exhausted, completely filthy, we, and our cameras, are completely covered in dust. Our lungs hurt and our noses are filled with soot. And as we scramble to see who gets the shower first I win) we remark on what a great day we had….and that we are probably a little weird.

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For the first time this trip, we had the opportunity to have the hotel do laundry. Everything needs to be washed daily but we do it in our sink and it is hard work. Hard to believe, people do this every day here but I have noticed how much better they are at it than me. All this to say, we were delighted to drop some pants and shirts to be washed. That was until we went to get them tonight and we learned because we are VIP guests (hmm), they decided to lock them in a locker and they only guy with the key had gone home for the night. But Inshallah, he will return tomorrow before we leave.

We finish the evening in typical style waiting 1 ½ hours for dinner but in the end, it is amazing. A fresh avocado salad and the local speciality, chicken in peanut sauce. Spicy and full of flavour. Mmmmm

Posted by curlygirl 14:46 Archived in Cote d'Ivoire

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Comments

Quite an adventurous day indeed and I don’t think you guys are weird at all!

by Agnes Penton

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