Côte d’Ivoire

20 December 2013

Côte d’Ivoire (unofficially "Ivory Coast") was a big change from Guinea. Nearly double the per capita GDP makes a huge difference.

While post-colonial Guinea was wrecked by Sékou Touré's Marxist fantasies, Côte d’Ivoire was blessed with moderate Félix Houphouët-Boigny who kept close ties with France, encouraged commerce, and ushered in the "Ivorian miracle" of robust growth.
Many immigrants from all over West Africa rushed to Côte d’Ivoire for a better life.

So much was accomplished under Houphouët-Boigny that even after his death in 1993, a coup and two civil wars have been unable to undo all the progress of prior decades.

The first civil war, starting in 1999, split the country along cleavages of ethnicity, religion, economic power. (See map.) Around 2004, it seemed to have been superficially settled but then a second civil war erupted in 2010-2011, climaxing in battles that engulfed the major city Abidjan.

Some authorities still advise against venturing far from the Abidjan area. Surprisingly, I followed that recommendation.

The National Museum was disappointing. Otherwise, I've enjoyed exploring Abidjan.
St. Paul's Cathedral has a soaring, ultra-modern design.
Inset: Chatting with Catholics on their way to a youth meeting.

Nice to see stained-glass windows that are African-centered.
Others showed multi-racial depictions of Biblical scenes.

Côte d’Ivoire has many beautiful beaches.
Far away from the resorts, this one was used by those of modest means.

Many roads were jammed, but the highways were impressive compared to Guinea.

This fit, uninhibited guy strolled casually (and ignored) on a downtown street.
I do not know his mental status, but his fitness routine looks solid.
You should resist clicking to enlarge the small, tasteful photo.
Downtown also had a big, bustling market with countless vendors in an airy, three-story, block-large building as well as spilling out into surrounding streets.

My last day in Abidjan, sweet wedding photographs were taken all afternoon in the Sofitel garden. Here are a few: