I had requested another hotel in the capital upon my return from the provincial capital. I had a great need to swim, after a whole week on dry land. The Novotel in Abidjan had a fairly large pool I remembered from when I last stayed there, even though that was not a good experience: the hotel staff was unresponsive and even entered into arguments with clients, the rooms were old and dirty.  I had vowed to never go back there. But this time my need to swim won out.

To my great surprise I found a transformed Novotel – friendly and accommodating staff, brand new rooms, a great fitness center and a room with a view over the Lagon.

I went from one extreme to another: instead of the little Nescafe sticks at breakfast, I now had not only access to various machines producing all sorts of real coffees in the restaurant (ristrettos, cappuccinos, espressos, machiatos), I even had a little Nespresso machine all to myself in my room, including a daily refill of the little capsules. I also went from a very limited menu (fish or fowl), to be ordered hours in advance, which was then delivered to my room to eat alone, to an abundance of choices, both a la carte and as buffet. I must add that the cost of this buffet probably exceeded the food budget of a poor family for an entire week.  This creates some discomfort at first – the contrast of rich and poor in the countries I work in hard to accept. But then again, I do like my creature comforts.

However the best was being able to swim and exercise daily – something I am now craving after a long day at work.

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November 2017
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