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Where France Meets Africa

Tourist Treasure

Where People Rarely Ever Go

MAN .......... I started the new year with Peace Corps friends in the Ivory Coast. It was well after dark when we finally arrived in the town of Man. To our amazement, the town was a million times better than Monrovia. Clean and modern!

We ate at "The Village". Kevin, Amanda, and I ordered a rice and bird dish called "akpani". We expected it to be similar to something from Liberia. Maybe a soup dish served over rice. Well, it was the last time I ever ordered a "mystery meat". I was served a plate with two whole birds that looked very suspicious. But we knew that what we suspected was not possible! My plate was the only one to still have a bird with a head. That confirmed our suspicions! It had fangs! Amanda had us in hysterical laughter. Neither of us could take our plates. We sent it back for fish (something I rarely ate -- but it was a much better option.) Kevin took a few bites of the akapni. I did sample his. We agreed it wasn't very good, but it wasn't half "bat".

It was late and we needed a place to stay. We found a hole called "The Fraternity". Our room had a double bed, a bench, and a door to the shower. The toilet was several rooms away. We had no sink. Kevin thought it a major bummer to have no mirror. The place was really no worse than places I'd stayed at in Peru -- except for the mosquitoes. I shut the door to the mosquito / cockroach infested shower. It helped some. Kevin had never slept in a place like it before. His last comment before falling asleep was, "Do you think we'll be safe?" We were safe from everything except possibly malaria.

The market was really so colorful. I only wanted one mask. I saw a neat one in a "closet" that this Moslem shopkeeper led me into. He didn't want to let me out. He was quite a salesman. The mask started at 15,000 CFA. By the time I had it to 5,000 CFA, he had it wrapped up for me but I wasn't finished bargaining. I offered 4,500 CFA. He unwrapped it, hung it up, led me from the closet, shut the door, and walked away in disgust. I guess we both knew great bargaining tactics. When I finally did buy the mask, Debbie passed by. He told her I was too tight and his voice was tired.

Copyright 2000 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.