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Cote d’War

We scramble frantically through the Liberian jungle. Time is short. The forest grows ever more sinister now, the atmosphere becomes tense. An eerie quiet pervades the wilderness as mist sets upon our path. The jungle is thick and brooding. We pass small villages and refugee camps. Along the dusty roadside, villagers stare at us as we pass, baffled by our presence. There is only one place in the world you could be going…. Cote d’Ivoire. We arrive at the border of the minutes before it closes, every inch of us covered in red dust. We are the only people around.

An estimated 165,000 Ivorians fled their country since the turmoil, with most escaping to Liberia. Although Gbagbo has just been captured, people have been killed in the country the day before we arrived. It seems however, the humanitarian crisis has clearly been deflated. The wooden bridge that separates the two countries no longer hosts a torrent of desperate souls. The time we arrived, it only knew the footsteps on two wandering Irishmen, dawning sombreros and a our pet Monrovian chicken – Captain ‘Francais’ Cluck. Forgot to mention, we bought a pet chicken in Liberia. He became an honorary cluckineer for the trip! (great at disarming corrupt officials and border guards btw!)

Anyway, back to the border. A group of Ivorian soldiers beckon us as we cross no man’s land. They take our passports. After a lot of investigating it started. “Donne 10,000 CFA! ($20)” It wasn’t happening. He dropped the bribe to 1000. We were in no mood. It took a lot of persistence to get out passports back without handing over cash. Unfortunately the guy at immigration was even more stubborn. He refused to give us an entry stamp without paying 1000 CFA. We bite our tongues and forked it over. The sun was starting to set and the rains were on their way. We needed to get to the next town before the dark. We hoped on a moto and started our journey into the Ivorian jungle. We knew we would face problems…

Although the distance to the town was short, there was no road. We snaked through the bush on a bumpy mud track, taking us through large stretches of stagnant water and makeshift wooden bridges. Only a kilometer down the trail, our first checkpoint. Bribe. Another few kilometers, same story. Bribe again. It was getting dark. Traveling the path at night was unwise at best, reckless at worst. It was not safe.

After one hour, the other driver’s tire burst. Nightmare! We were not going anywhere. The driver attempted a repair and time wore on. The horizon grew dim and darkness swept across the land. Then, a little drizzle persisted. I had not felt rain on my skin in several weeks and I welcomed each drop. Lightning ignited the sky. The jungle was roaring with life; a open air concert of cacophonous inserts, birds and strange sounding creatures. In the darkness, I became mystified as the air became alight with fire flies dancing to the fiery sky.  A spectacle seen be few. But this was no magic moment…

We soon realised the other bike’s inner tube was destroyed beyond repair. Dumped in the middle of nowhere, stranded in the Ivorian jungle in a lawless place. Blood still ran down the many small rivers we passed. It was a dangerous excursion. Faced with little choice – we all (Captain Cluck included) climbed on my moto. We began the slow trek through the African wilderness, lightning at our back and darkness in our path.

It was almost inevitable that only a few kilometers later, we should run out of gas…

12 Responses to Cote d’War

  1. The Hunger May 15, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Left me hanging you bastard, I wanted more!…

    Pics?!

    • Naughty Nomad May 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

      Haha… Love it. Patience on the pics… the internet here is just too dam slow!

  2. Burto May 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Your writing is an inspiration… keep up the good work…

  3. rockstar May 17, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    More! We want details and pix! keep up the great work. You are a pioneer, my friend.

  4. TomZa May 17, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Mate,

    Loving your blog. You got an e-mail? Got a little business proposition for you, its money!

    Btw, Im a white Africa and I would NEVER venture to some of the places you have gone! lol.

    Since you in West Africa try and get to Ghana – good woman, beer and helluva nice people. Or perhaps its a bit too normal for you 😉

  5. Mr.Killian May 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Sounds epic man, talk to you soon!

  6. Ashanti Prince May 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    What about racism against white guys down there?

  7. John August 16, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Exciting read but the story is clearly fake. You would make a good fiction writer

    • Naughty Nomad August 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

      It’s true. I have pics, bitch.

  8. Jessica Reavis June 18, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    Thank you so much. I just got offered a job in Cote d’Ivoire and I researched for-ev-er trying to find a “real description” of Abidjan. It was a sign from above that I stumble upon this gem. You are my hero. I think that I can find plenty to get into in Cote d’Ivoire…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Abidjan City Guide (Cote d’Ivoire) | Naughty Nomad - July 29, 2011

    […] entered Cote d’Ivoire in style during the civil war (read here), then staged the notorious Siege of Abidjan. Sadly Captain Cluck met his end on the way to the […]

  2. Lomé City Guide (Togo) | Naughty Nomad - August 8, 2011

    […] Ambassador! Sac le bleu! That cheeky fish…what a legend/asshole. She was also a refugee from Cote d’War. We end up hanging out with them for a few days. Lomé inpired a controversial post on Refugee […]

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