Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Yamoussoukro, Bouake, and the Botanical Garden

February was fun here in Abidjan! Les Elephants pulled out a spectacular come-from-behind African Cup of Nations victory, and you could feel the joy all throughout the city. I also traveled to Yamoussoukro and Bouake. Yamoussoukro is the political capital of Cote d'Ivoire and Bouake is the second largest city. I'd never visited either before, so it was great to see some more of the country and get out of Abidjan.

One of the guards talked my way onto a private tour because I arrived at an awkward time and there would have been a long wait for a group tour. These guys were very nice about me tagging along!

The stained glass in the Basilica of Yamoussoukro was all imported from France.

The tour guide knew all the best angles for pictures.

At a pottery cooperative outside of Bouake.

The community liaison office at the Embassy also pulled together a trip to the botanical garden, which was a lot of fun!

Praying mantis!

I was particularly interested by the bougainvillea, having just read a book (Airplane Mode by Shahnaz Habib) that, in one chapter, used bougainvillea as an entree to talk about the naturalist mode of colonialism and travel.

On the work side of things, I switched to a different portfolio that I've never worked on before: American Citizen Services. It's definitely an interesting challenge, and part of why I was excited to be assigned to a smaller consular section where you get to do a little bit of everything.

Bonus: me and Secretary of State Blinken and a handful of our good buddies. (This is from his visit last month, but they just shared the pictures.)

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