Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bondoukou, Cote d'Ivoire - II

Hotel Marhaba. Bondoukou. Being adjacent to the sprawling acres of the UN's NE headquarters offers the innocent traveler some initial respite :) Draped in all-white, its 30-something rooms are spread all over the campus, but with regional affiliations to the country's main towns - Abidjan, Yamassoukro and so on. Mornings here can be quite pleasant and often chilly. A cuppa hot coffee with some omlettes and french bread, by the poolside if you may, would be perfect for an early starter. Do catch some of the French Armymen at this time in the restaurant, and get a fill in on the travails of holding fort in these rather desolate parts! And then there are also the Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers guarding their barb wired barracks next door. If you are a late riser, be prepared to be jolted out of bed with some untimely party music, and the frolicking of 12-13 somethings in the pool. (see pic for my own experience). DO NOT forget to pre-order lunch and dinner, as the cuisiner could be absconding for any hungry resident, if not given adequate notice! Do write back of any news of Marc, a helpful chum who did a failrly decent job in the kitchen, and liked to watch any Chelsea game with his patrons. Rooms are, well, nightmarish for the first time and will take some getting used to, especially if you happen to have the honeybee raid on your first night :) Network connectivity is poor, save for that 10 square meter space in the parking, but that little block has its eccentrities too so prepare to get frustrated if you desire long telephone conversations with loved ones. Marhaba. It may not thrill, it can easily disappoint. But, whaetver be the case, any trip this far would land you at its doorstep every single time. Soak it in :)

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