Dancing in the Streets in Ivory Coast at Abissa

The Nzima Festival called "Abissa" is vibrating this sand bar I am living on, the drums make the earth move. There is a heaven and earth amount of energy being exerted; this is like trance dancing on steroids, an intoxicating moment in travel.

The Quartier France here in Grand Bassam was built on a sand bar, the streets are sand. My world is sand, this is beach life, and we live on the sand. Now they are dancing in the sand as this calm village is turned into the biggest festival in Ivory Coast.


I was standing at the side, a little boy pulls me down, and decorates my face, and it has now become a daily event.

Grand Bassam, Quartier France
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Ama my neighbor is dressed up all sexy, like an elf, I motion to her to let me take her photo, she motions to me,
"You can kiss this."

Do not go primitive on me, this is not uncivilized Africa world, this is normal is life. What is Ama doing right now, same as the USA, she is giving me attitude. My gorgeous and difficult neighbor, she eats all my food, takes my money, she is women, hear her roar. She sells me popcorn, keeps the change, and wants me to look and not touch.

Starting at about three in the afternoon and lasting until 8:00 pm, these drums echo into the night and people dance madly around them in duel of energy dancing, each person tries to exert more dance as the sand flies.

These are not androgynous looking Asian girls, these are African. This is the calm before the storm; she soon breaks out into a special dance, saying to the crowd, look at me.

Video Below

Girls Dancing Video

The Festival of Abissa is an important celebration for the Nzima people, the place is organized.

There are a few traveler rites of passage, maybe Abissa needs added to the list. A few of you are going to say,
"I have been there, done that."
And for people who come to Abissa, we must stand quiet and listen --- for when you attend Abissa, you truly know you were "out," for one time in their life, they was "outside" your own culture --- maybe they would not understand.

I have already put up four videos; the next missive will be full of videos.

Dancing in the Streets in Ivory Coast at Abissa


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Good stuff, Andy. Being at the right place at the right time is most enjoyable.
Glad to hear you have found one of those rare moments that stand out in the "Been there, done that" category.
Unique events in travel are most enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.

Andy, Great reporting of this festive event. The drumbeat in the video and the dancers, from kids to seniors, was most moving....got me grooving here in my chair.

Thanks for posting these personal and great in-your-face photos. Fantastic! Glad you had a great time.

Looks like a lot of fun !

I imagine the phones are ringing of the hook for accomodations.

Should I bring socks or soap ?

Great pics of the festival celebrations

what happened to your blogg happenings. I miss it. Too busy having fun?

Good show of real life. When I read this and look at the pictures I know that I am seeing the chronicling of something raw, real, and honest: the true mission of the travel writer.

Man, those dudes can move haha. The way normal people dance is a great window into culture: are they loose in the hips, upright and ridged, smooth, awkward. Dance shows culture directly and immediately: just watch white Americans or Chinese people dance, and you will never get a more immediate look into their culture.

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