bottles of palm oil sold along the road in Cote d’Ivoire

Today is really a transit day. We leave early from Elmina, and make our way to the border with Cote d’Ivoire, a pretty unremarkable drive. At one stage we cross a river, with next to us what looks like an old railway bridge. And for the rest, along the road lots of activity, people selling all kind of stuff. Villages spilling over on the road, busy.

abundant village activity in Ghana

lots of people involved in the market, for instance

an old railway bridge across a river, not sure which one

and fishermen hauling in their net, also along a river

I mention this, because once we cross the border – at Elubo, the usual two hour affair, filling useless forms, answering useless questions -, all looks different. Gone are the villages, except for the occasional one. The landscape is now dominated by green, in the form of palm oil plantations, cocoa trees, pineapple palm, rubber – an array of commercial crops, interspersed by the occasional processing facilities. Alltogether not unattractive, very green, rolling hills.

the Cote d’Ivoire country side: plantations after plantations

these is a palm oil plantation

and this is how the fruit looks like

possibly an old platation house, from colonial times?

With a few stops, for drinks, for lunch, for border formalities and for toilet necessities, towards dark we arrive in Grand Bassam, the first noticeable place in Cote d’Ivoire, and a tourist resorts in its own right, it seems. Lots of fancy beach resorts, yet none of them with rooms available. In the end we find a hotel in the town, away from the coast.

and this is manioc flower, sold along the road – as well as charcoal in the big bags, probably

We slip away from the group, who are going to go for pizzas, and find, at three minutes’ walk from the hotel, Chez Charlie, a small restaurant deep inside one of the neighbourhoods. We have a table on the street, we wait for over an hour for our food, but then we consume what must count as the best meal, so far, on this trip: an extensive plate with lobster, calamari, prawns and big gambas. We even have mobilised a bottle of wine, invariably of mediocre quality, in this part of the world, but still, it is wine. Charlie turns out to be very chatty, and we spent the rest of the evening talking, about Cote d’Ivoire, the border area with Ghana, the fishermen. Close to midnight he walks us back to the main road, where we find our hotel again. Did we miss the pizza’s?

Next: Grand Bassam

dining at Charlie’s, best meal so far!

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