Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ministry of Defense Tour

Already my favorite building, I finally got a chance to head to the Congo Town Back Road Junction and see if I could get in to the old Ministry of Defense.

Actually, as I think I mention in the Architectural Tour, its hard to know what to call it, since it is sort of old, at this point, but also new, as it was a purpose-built replacement, and was never occupied, so has never been used. Once and Future has an appealing ring to it, but then again who knows about the Future part…

Anyway, as I suspected, the guys who I encountered at the entrance, whether they are really security or not, were very friendly and accommodating, and helped me make my way around the building. I'll add these images to the Architectural Tour if I can, as there were a lot of great shots of the building, its massive interior courtyard, as well as the view from the roof.

As I've said before, if Monrovia is post-colonialism's Rome, then the Ministry of Defense is its Coluseum.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Marshall, Marshall, Marshall

Furthering my research on building material procurement, I drove down to Marshall today. That is, the entire length of the road, all the way to the village at the end of the peninsula. Its a pretty long drive, over a not particularly great road (not paved).

It was definitely a worthwhile trip, aside from the work stuff, its obvious that Marshall is on the verge of a building boom. More than one stretch of beach was completely cleared of trees, in anticipation of a major construction, although no one I know in town had any specifics (but its probably another hotel). I know a lot of people own land out there, and it would make a perfect sort of Hamptons to Monrovia's Manhattan.

The village of Marshall itself was a really great fishing community, with a lovely, if neglected, stretch of beach.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the BUSH

More Materials/Procurement research, this time more local to the city (although in Margibi County). I was looking for bamboo, or at least, what I am used to calling bamboo. Liberians call it something different, and to them, "bamboo" comes from a palm tree, and I think they even call something else "palm." If I understood it, I would explain it. Anyway, it was a nice afternoon, and a stark contrast to the city, even though it was only a few miles out of town.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thinker's Beach

I've finally started integrating myself into the "ex-pat" routine a bit. For example, I've been hanging out at Thinker's Beach on Sunday afternoons, which is full of foreigners. Its definitely a nice beach, with decent food, and a lively scene. Thinker's Village itself is undergoing a pretty significant expansion, at the moment, with the addition of a huge hotel building.

What's also nice about Thinker's is that you can walk down past the complex, to deserted stretches of beach. Be careful, however: I've seen needles on the beach, among the other refuse that has washed up, and I've also heard from other Americans that they were mugged and knife-point, which is shocking in that it is usually so rare.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Old French Embassy

Walking down UN Drive in the heart of Mamba Point today, I came upon gate to the former French Embassy, which I talk about in the Architectural Tour as a place of particularly grim historical importance. Well, I could resist the enticement any more, and I gave a knock.

The man there, who may or may not have been security, allowed me to tour the site, which is totally incredible as a modernist ruin. The pictures speak for themselves, I think. I really hope this complex is preserved, and doesn't get knocked down.

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