After dumping our bags in a basic hotel a little outside the main drag of Jacqueville, we follow the directions in our travel guide to what supposedly is the area where we can find historic buildings. When we reach the beach, we turn towards the west. Big waves unleash their power on the golden beach, causing wild white water in the surf, and a permanent spray of salt in the air. Even from the top of the beach, we can imagine a strong, treacherous current in that constantly moving water, and indeed: many people die on the coast here, underestimating the force of the ocean. Ghanaian fishermen have their colourful boats lying on the sand, kids playing around them. We walk the beach further west, through the fine mist of salty air, until we realize that those colonial buildings cannot be here.
After walking a short bit to the north, we reach a road that runs parallel to the beach. We ask a friendly lady selling fruits on the street where we can find the famous historic buildings of Jacqueville, and she enthusiastically points towards the other side of town: the east. Perhaps the author of the guide mixed up east and west? We now walk with the sun shining on our backs, and along one of the busier streets of town, giving us a lot to see. Carcasses of cars, small shops, streetvendors, bars, guys riding their motorbikes: sights common in most Ivorian towns. When we see ruins of a building, we walk closer, only to find out that these ruins are concrete buildings with graffiti on them, and not more than a few decades old, if that. We again ask someone for the historic buildings, and the Ivorian man looks puzzled: old buildings? Here?
We walk towards the beach again; after all, it would make sense for the French colonizer to have built their buildings near the ocean. Supposedly, there should also be remains of British buildings who first colonized this town; after all, the very name Jacqueville finds its origin in the fact that the Union Jack was first raised here. But alas, we only come across yet more ordinary African houses. We ask someone else: historic buildings? An old church? But whoever we ask, the looks are vague, and not one person can tell us where to look. By then, the sun is nearly hitting the horizon, and we decide to walk to the small lake of Jacqueville, to eat our first mangoes while watching sunset reflecting in the perfectly still waters of the lake. By now, we have understood that we will never find the historic buildings of Jacqueville, but the nagging doubt remains: where can they have gone? Meanwhile, we are content with the walk through Jacqueville that has shown us several faces of this quiet fishing town - we have seen quite a lot of it, thanks to our frantic search for the mysterious colonial part of town.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Jacqueville (Ivory Coast). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Jacqueville.
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