[ Abengourou, Cote d’Ivoire ]
Abengourou is a largish district capital about thirty-two kilometers from the Ghana border. I arrived here yesterday…by van, after breaking spokes (yes, spokes) about halfway along the day’s route. [Getting tired of this spoke thang, ya’ll, y’hear?]
Of course it was a Sunday, so no mechanics were available even though I arrived mid-day. While pondering options over a cold beer I was invited to sit with a couple of local guys who turned out to be long-time gold prospectors (an interesting tale, theirs—insight into yet another world most of us will never encounter). We had a long conversation about their homeland—Burkina Faso, before they helped me find a cheap room and took their leave.
I had hoped to get the bike repaired first thing this morning and reach the border by late afternoon, but the Magic 8-Ball says “No.” One place said they could replace all the spokes and rebuild the rear wheel for me, then spent more than an hour trying to remove the rear cassette. To no avail. I found a kind way to interrupt their efforts, and set off again—this time stopping at every place where I saw so much as a bike tire on sale. It took me about an hour to discover a likely shop—on a tiny back street behind one of the town’s many mosques. (I would never have found it without someone escorting me there.)
As it stands, it was too late to get the work done today—I’m returning at 8:00 in the morning, hoping it will be finished by 9:00. Fingers crossed, once again.
Regardless of the unwanted delay, I’m planning to be leave the paved roads behind once I’m comfortably across the border. I don’t want to do that without a reliable, well-tested set of new spokes; we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.
In the meantime, I’ve used my downtime to take and edit more photos for you. Additional info in the captions, as always.
Happy April, Fools,