Got a late start (finally a decent night's sleep!) Went to the nice hotel where we had diner last night for coffee (it's air-conditioned and it is HOT outside) The basilica doesn't re-open until two o'clock, so we waste an hour trying to check out bus schedules. Eventually we realize there there really isn't such a thing - the busses get here at some time and then they leave some time after that
Walking to the Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix takes forty-five minutes - it's really large and a lot farther away than it looked! In the oppressive heat and humidity we're pretty glad when we finally get there, only to read in the long list of rules: No short clothing and no sandals (I'm wearing shorts and both Andrea and I are wearing Teva's). Luckily the guard doesn't seem interested in enforcing said rules. The basilica isn't as impressive up close, it's shaped like a huge Italian cathedral (almost a copy of St Peter's), but it's made out of modern materials. From a distance it looks like it belongs in Italy, up close it looks new, modern, and sterile. Reminds me a lot of the Hassan V Mosque in Casablanca. The stained glass is amazing though and there is a lot of it. The glass is also not so traditional, including windows featuring elephants and other wildlife and a globe centered on Africa. It is huge - according to the guide book it can handle 319,000 worshippers (19,000 inside, 300,000 outside) at a time - more than the total number of Catholics in the country!
While we're sitting in the basilica an American walks up and asks "Dr. Livingston, I presume?" It's Seth, a guy I met briefly my first night in Bamako. He's traveling with two Australians and another American in a Land Rover and are following a similar route to mine so I expect I'll run into them again. When we were walking up to the Basilica it was so incredibly hot and humid that Andrea stated that if God would make it rain she would convert (she's Jewish). After looking around the Basilica we're sitting in the adjacent café having a soda and it suddenly starts to rain. Hard! It absolutely pours rain for about twenty minutes, but despite this miracle I think she's going to forget about her agreement.
We catch a ride back to town in the Land Rover and spend the next several hours waiting for a bus. Côte d'Ivoire's venders are a lot more in your face than they have been in the last couple countries (it's more like Senegal in that respect), so our wait is far from comfortable. The bus ride to Abidjan is a little over four hours and pretty unexciting in the dark (there was a good lightning storm for a while). Even before the bus stopped there were people banging on the window demanding we take their cab - not a good first impression. While trying to get our luggage off the bus I get pissed off by the constant barrage and tell them all to get lost (slightly different choice of words). When I turn around there's a guy talking to Andrea and I grab him by the shoulder and tell him we said no before Andrea says "no he's our friend". It's a guy that had helped us out when we were trying to figure out which bus we needed in Yamoussoukro. He accepts my apology very gracefully and offers us a ride - since this avoids the taxi drivers I'm all for it. But once again WAWA his car won't run, and it takes a good hour to get it going (bent transmission linkage). He drops us off at the hotel we'd chosen a little after midnight. Much to our dismay the hotel is full so now we have to get a taxi. The second hotel is also full and we end up having to stay in Treichville (what the guide books call the fun, energetic, and dangerous part of town). It's actually a pretty nice hotel and not to expensive so we're not overly concerned since we'll be taking taxis anyway.