Cote d’Ivoire: Grand-Bassam

Grand-Bassam is a UNESCO World Heritage city and the former colonial capital of Cote d’Ivoire. It’s a popular beach resort, and I headed there for a day trip right before leaving the country. It turned out that my timing couldn’t have been better.

That’s because we pulled into the historic town center at the moment that an event was beginning in front of the Museum of Costume. And this event — a stunning fashion show and dance performance — was the highlight of my trip.

First, kids in traditional clothing from different regions of the country strutted the catwalk. Then the adults took their turn. The outfits were incredible.

But what really blew me away was the dancing.

Keep in mind that it was a 90+ degree day with high humidity. The fact that the dancers could perform so energetically in those conditions — especially when one of them was covered in a human-sized pillow — was extra impressive.

After the performance I checked out the museum, which was devoted to the dress worn by Cote d’Ivoirians throughout the ages, both for everyday wear and ceremonial purposes.

We walked around the very oldest part of town (my colleague’s nephew showed me around), saw a bunch of colonial-era buildings, a still-operational royal palace, and an artists’ collective. Quite an interesting few blocks.

Then we had lunch on the beach, and then we returned to Abidjan. I flew back to Dakar the next day and headed to Saint-Louis for work the day after that.

I’m so glad I got the chance to check out Grand-Bassam during my trip to Cote d’Ivoire. It is a vibrant town full of hospitality, culture, and beauty.

So is Saint-Louis. That’s up next…

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