As I suspected it is still possible to use a Bank Machine in Cote d’Ivoire to extract money from a USA Bank. However, I am safe whether banks are open or closed for six months.
I reviewed the banking article from Bloomberg, it is technically correct; however, the banks that have or could have closed are not the major banks. Ecobank is one of the primary banks in Ivory Coast and it is still functioning, and I have never seen a Citybank in this country. When reading these type of articles, they feel more real than reality and one is tempted to credit where it does not belong. Bottom line, there are banking problems here, but I do not believe the world is going to shut off Ivory Coast, they will just say they are, and everything will continue to function. As best I can figure out, none of the Expats from France that live here has left. Article about Banks Facing Closure in Ivory Coast
Money for Living
I have enough money to live here between 6 and 12 months. It appears I could rent a room for about 600 Dollars per year, which would be an expensive room; they go for a little as 300 Dollars per year. I have been paying about 300 dollars per month for a Hotel room, if I plan to stay two months here; I can take this money and rent a room for a year, and allow Bah to stay on there while I leave. It sounds like an abusive situation, as if she is maneuvering me into a corner, and in some ways she is, but either way, I get the same lifestyle, I wlll have a room for two months, but she gets a bonus of having a room paid for a year. The quality of my accommodations would improve if I move out of a Hotel and into an apartment, because I would have a kitchen. I pay the same amount of money and my living standards grow, and she feels empowered, really a no-lose situation, if the location and apartment are acceptable for a white man.
Cote d’Ivoire Bank Situation
Even before the election, trying to understand how Ivory Coast banking works would be difficult because the locals have little to do with banks. I do not have my friends that say to me, they are going to the bank. I have never seen a friend of mine go to the bank. However, I do see people line up at the ATM machine; I believe they are the richer folks, the connected.
I think there is a small run on the banks, what this means is people are lining up to remove all their money. Bah said,
"You need to go the ATM at 7:00 am in the morning."
She refuses to talk with me in anything but an African riddle talk the situation; she is hiding her head in the sand, hoping this all will go away.
Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Sunday, February 20, 2011
Ivory Coast People are Staying Out of Politics
I have been asking my many friends and acquaintances here in Ivory Coast how they feel about the country as of February 20, 2011. Generally, they refuse to comment, talk or think about the subject, and from their tone, and fear in their eyes, I know they are correct, they need to be quiet.
Talking Means Nothing in Africa
I am learning a lot about the culture of Africa, how logic and common sense are truly a luxury on the planet, not needed, and has little to do with the people in the streets. Seeking a safe haven, seeking money, seeking a way to stay out of any storm is their goal; however, this turns them into powder kegs of frustrated emotions ready to explode sometimes.
Example: Bah told me two things.
1. Let us go look at an apartment on Monday.
2. In the French language she tells me, there is going to be a "manifestation," on Monday. Which as best I can understand means there is going to be a protest. She follows up and says, we need to stockpile food because all the stores will be closed on Monday.
It is distracting and frustrating to believe a person I care about does not see the problem with these two statements. She has proposed we do two things, she has repeated each of these statements multiple times, and she does not see or understand the inconsistencies and has no desire to reconcile them. Trying to point them out only make her angry, here brain is sleeping, and please do not disturb sign is posted, as is normal here.
I asked another friend, a Ghana man, and he more or less said the same. I finally had to say last night,
"We go to the beach on Monday; we do not look at an Apartment."
I could have comments on the protest, or her desire to stockpile food, but this just feeds a silly strain of logic. Yet, of course, I allowed her to buy a lot of food yesterday at the Super Marche and she has already eaten all the food she stockpiled.
This is why I say, talking is of no value, there is no correlation between what the people say and what truly happens. Talk is just a noise made to comfort people, to occupy empty spaces, something said in serious but it is seldom ever serious.
She said a generalization last night about African men, she proceeded to tell me they are not serious and they will tell her or girls anything, all they want is sex. They will promise anything and never do it, which is why she likes me. She does not realize she is almost the same, the boys do not lie, and she does not lie, she just is not capable of thinking strictly. The life is so easy here, there is no need to ever become serious; if they become serious, it means they need to snooker their money for the day, by hook, crook, or maybe work as a last resort, they need to find a few dollars for their cell phone credit, food is extremely plentiful.
I do not expect my friends to have brains and use them; I expect them to be as honest as they can be, and to hang around with me. If they are angry or do something that is too crazy, than I walk around and return after they stop.
Talking is entertainment to people, even in the USA, the general population just follows the herd, they wake in the morning, works all day and eats themselves into complete obesity. Both cultures believe they know and understand the world, and they do, all that is necessary.
I do not know the world, I accept this is not possible; however, I continuously ask questions, observe and read about subjects that are the highest priorities in my life. I remember my travel writer who went to Cuba for me and wrote about it, Andreas Hildago, he commented on the Cuban culture.
"They believe they are highly educated, and for some reason the world believes they are highly educated. However, on the ground in Havana, it is impossible to buy books, without books to read and learn they fail to have a bank of knowledge, they are delusional that they have knowledge, they only possess a belief that they are educated which they state to the world with such confidence the world believes."
I value human observation; I value real life experiences more than books. However, somehow, I know people sit around in coffee shops in the USA, talking about politics, and yet, the only read the headlines of the newspaper, not the article, because truthfully, they can barely read. Theu turned the TV station to the weather channel and say, I watched the news. Then onto the sports or soap opera, or they watch American Idol and gossip on Facebook and see this as educational not as entertainment.
I do not believe in education as a way for people to be happy, I think it is best if people stay mildly ignorant. Here in Ivory Coast, they are better off if they do not know what is happening, or what could happen, whether they have knowledge or are just empty headed is not important. Nothing would change, they will react to any situation, and if they become too afraid, they will run.
Visa to Ghana, Liberia, Guinea, and then maybe Sierra Leone
I am prioritizing my introspective life, and realized, I have permission to stay in Cote d’Ivoire for about six months. However, if I need to run, I need a Visa to Ghana for about a year if possible. I am going to go (Heheheh Monday) as soon as possible to the Ghana Embassy and get the longest visa possible. Next, I will apply for a Liberian visa, and continue to map out exit strategies in the event of problems, the airport is less than 45 minutes from me.
Bah says if there are problems, you can go to the Ghana border, however the border will instantly be closed if there are major problems here. She said, you can go around the border illegally, and again she over-simplifies a very complicated thing for a white man, failing to empathize, what is possible for her, is possible for me, her life is simple, and always has been.
We live, we die, we try to avoid stress, this is the normal life of a human, being part of a herd, and becoming very angry when told we are not as smart as we think and believe. To me the only proof of my intelligence is my never-ending pursuit of the truth, and my willingness to tell my opinions to the masses without feeling a need to make them happy at the expense of honestly.
I think food, work, sports, booze and religions are the opiates of the masses in that order, these intoxicants keep peoples brains from knowing what is happening and docile, there is no time to be introspective, and no need. If in doubt, give your friends some food, this solves 99 percent of arguments, keep it simple.
Reclusive Lifestyle in IC
I am 90 percent sure, I am going to stop the world long enough to finish my book, this needs to be done to insure my HoboTraveler.com business thrives. By writing a book, it elevates me from a normal Travel Blogger to an expert in my field. You know, I can be in Wikipedia.org and they will not delete the pages because there are no "Paper" references. It is always humorous, Wikipedia almost only accepts paper as true citations, and information written on the Internet is not a source to be trusted.
Money in Ho Ghana for Scavenger Hunt Unclaimed
Today is February 20, 2011 and nobody has won the 100 US Dollars by making a YouTube.com video and uploading about the Tarso Hotel in Ho, Ghana. It is possible the cell phone is still hidden, there has been no communication with me on whether the found it or not.