I left my small Chinese multi-socket plug in Grand Bassam with the hotel’s electrician. It had stopped working and I had asked him to take a look inside. It has travelled with me around the world since I first bought it somewhere in Africa light years ago.

He returned the thing to me saying it was very dangerous and there was no point in fixing it as the fuse was gone. I left it with him with the thick wire and the plug by way of payment for his services.

This morning I walked around the Plateau in search of a new item because most of the time I stay in hotels that have only one outlet and I have a phone (sometimes two), a computer and an iPad so I need more than one place to plug these things in.

The Plateau is (or maybe was) the commercial center of Abidjan. It was badly damaged during ‘les evènements,’ a popular euphemism in the francophone world for civil war. It hasn’t recovered and feels like a dead zone. The pavements and roads are in very bad shape and the shops are either shuttered or occupied by companies, many Lebanese, which sell electrical household items from fridges and airconditioners to mixers and toasters. I found another ‘multi-prise’ which is also made in China and is not grounded but it will have to do.

In the meantime I am trying to figure out how this Novotel dares to claim 5 stars. It is among the sketchiest five stars I have ever been in. The internet is wobbly, at best; the rooms don’t get cleaned unless you call housekeeping (no housekeeping cart in sight all day); laundry service takes three days; staff argues with you when you don’t understand something; the elevators date back to the 50s, the floor is covered with a yucky carpet (moquette); there are burn holes on the couch in my non-smoking room, the refrigerator cube can barely hold a large water bottle, no massage or pedi/manivures available, a tiny store that is never (wo)manned and a reception that cannot find my reservation. On top of that it is located in a derelict part of town. Yet the prices are similar to the fancy hotel Manila which, if we could extend stars, I would have given 10.

On Monday, after we have completed our alignment meeting we will travel into the interior, some 100+ kilometers north east from Abidjan to complete the fourth and last of my assignments. I don’t have any expectations about my lodging but wouldn’t mind being surprised.

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May 2014
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