I am hiding in a "Love Hotel" a short taxi drive from the Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Airport. The country and culture has become a game of dice, it is not possible to predict which way the dice will land today, or tomorrow. It is, and would be silly to plan for the future, there is no future. I am not even sure which name I should use when writing about this country, the true name is Cote d’Ivoire, however the Anglophone world demands to call it Ivory Coast.
"Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology."
I have often pondered the same question: are all of these travel tips just me blowing off hot air trying to prove that I am some sort of travel expert or do people really take something from them?
I found my answer this past year in Central American and Mexico. I found that I am pretty recognizable to readers and they would pick me out of the street around once or twice a month. We would usually stop and chat, maybe go get a coffee or a beer. It was during these conversations that I found that some people DO take these travel tips, advice, and suggestions to heart -- they read and listen, think, come up with new ideas based of what they read. The readers that we think are out there really are. They seldom comment, email, or let us know that they exist. It is only when you are walking down the street and someone calls out, "Are you Andy Hobotraveler?" that you will know how much your ideas have shaped the course of another person's life.
These readers are not the majority. I believe that most people want stories, knowledge, entertainment, but there is a fringe minority that will take these words and put them into practice.
Few websites and few travel bloggers are able to create and share good travel tips, and the one that do will find their sites being very special to a small amount of people. I feel this is better than being a run of the mill publication for a large audience.
We went less than two mile to the airport, the country of Cote d'Ivoire is in the business of putting up roadblocks. It appears though the military keeps the locals working the roadblocks all day and collecting bribes to pass.
I am in Dakar, Senegal now, or more correctly a small place called Yoff.
$31.22 US Dollar for a room with WIFI, no TV, not sure on hot water, a fan and could be noisy, but OK environment.
My first impression of Dakar is it feels like Niger or Mali, dusty and broken but I guess I am in Yoff, not Dakar.
I am doing the pay for first night and walk until checkout the next day to find a better value.
Generally, after a person finds the courage to travel in the third world countries they never want to travel in first world countries again....
It is 10 times more enjoyable to be in Guatemala, Peru, Thailand, Ghana than in the USA or Europe. Travel is often like having a baby, there is a lot of pain, but worth the pain.
I was in Paradise in Cote d'Ivoire, and not I am in Senegal, my quality of life has taken a nose dive for three time the cost. But then again, it is perceived that Senegal is better than Cote d'Ivoire, so far it appears about the same, maybe a little cleaner.