I spent a few idle days in Abidjan - French, swimming, reading, french, swimming, reading repeat. The one highlight was getting news from Nairobi that copies of my novel "Of goats and poisoned oranges" had finally made it to Bookstop. Finally I decided that what I needed was to throw a good ol' house party chez moi to expand my social circle. I assumed this would be an easy feat - buy lots of drinks, have good music and voila! Party! Turns out though that parties in Abidjan do not go like that. Food is a must at a party. I told people to arrive around 6pm. I was therefore surprised when my couchsurfing host came to my place at 11am to find out how party preparations were going. "Everything ok?" "Yeah definitely. I'm going to buy liquor after my French class." "Uhm, what dishes are you making?" "Hmmmm, as in food? None, was just planning to have it be a drinks party." "Uhhhhh, that will not fly. Everyone is expecting lots and lots of food." "What? I never promised food?" "But you did call it a party....here a party involves proper food." "Oh, snap."
Suffice it to say, the day was saved, and not thanks to me. Esther (my couchsurfing host) told me to cancel her French class, called her cousins to my place to shop for food and cook. Me and her hopped into a taxi into a far off part of town where drinks were really cheap. We stocked up on that a lot. I thought she was underestimating how many drinks we needed. She said she had invited around 20 people and was saying we only needed to buy 2 bottles of red wine, 2 of white and a bottle of rum. I doubled up on everything...just in case.
By the time we got home, the cooking of 5 or 6 dishes was underway. I was so impressed by how competent people were in cooking quickly. Preparing all those dishes would have taken me a few days:-)
People came, they ate, they drank (very little actually - I was left with most of the drinks intact.) This was definitely not a Kenyan houseparty. 90% of the Kenyan houseparties I have been to have loads of drinks but still run out by 1am. I guess the average Kenyan is more of a lush than the average Ivorian. People also brought coupe decale cds and we danced a lot. All in all it was a fun(ish) houseparty. On a scale of 1-10, it was maybe a 6.5. When the party had reached its natural conclusion, Esther and I were to go out clubbing, but something came up and she had to leave. At 3am, I cleared up, washed up etc. (You do not want to play with the roaches in Abidjan - cause of the heat they appear immediately guests leave....I never ever let any dishes sleep in the sink...I have a morbid fear of roaches.)
I really wanted to go out, but no one else was going out. I was soon going to be disabused of the notion that I could only go clubbing with company in Abidjan.