Hype and reality

From afar, you can easily get sucked in by all the hype that Abidjan is somehow completely transformed. I don’t doubt things are moving in a positive direction, but just an hour into my recent trip I’d understood that much was still the same.

1. I flew in on Air Cote d’Ivoire – the reborn Air Ivoire, which of course was to a greater-or-lesser-extent the reborn Air Afrique. The genes flow through the blood line, or as Ivorians say, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. The plane took off nearly four hours late on its direct flight to Abidjan, though with no explanation as to why. When we finally touched down the captain announced our arrival in ‘The International airport of…Accra’. Even the hostesses were surprised by this unscheduled change of route. Again, no explanation was given, though I suspect they just noticed that 9/10 passengers were heading to Accra anyway, so just decided to go there first. Very odd.

2. Outside the terminal, the gendarmes had clamped a taxi that had momentarily stopped to unload passengers (so the driver claimed). Anyway, favours were exchanged and the taxi driver was able to take me as a customer, providing my fare was paid in advice in order to liberate the vehicle. The taxi man complained the whole way about corruption.

3. The new third bridge not at the time being open, we took the old way through Treichville and Plateau to get to Cocody. The potholes on the lagoon front highway are as bad as I remember them, though I know a re-surfacing of the highway has been launched.

4. Last but not least, as we tried to head through the main Indennie interchange into Cocody, our route was blocked by flood waters. We then had to about turn and drive the wrong way down the highway to take another junction and reach our destination. Solving the Indennie junction problem seems to elude even the most technocratic of presidents. Despite millions of dollars no solution has yet stopped the flooding, even outside the principal rainy season.

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