Always ask the locals. My roommate and I were uncertain about where to go buy a basic kitchen table and chairs and a shelf. We talked about Treichville, which is a bit far from where we live, so we decided to ask our security guard, who was chatting with the phone cabin guys in the shade across the street. A young guy there recommended a place near Pharmacie Azur in the neighborhood of Plateau Dokui and said that any decent taxi driver should know it. So off we went!
And it was perfect! We got a great price with only a bit of bargaining and will probably be back for a couple other small tables.
One of my favorite things here is how you can get recommendations for almost anything you want from anyone you ask. I'm so used to resorting to google when I'm looking for a particular item, but because of google's lack of relevance here, as well as no street names if you do find the shop, it's much easier to use your loose social ties to find something. Basically, anyone who you might know for at least a week – security guards (who are always polite to me and generally willing to cut me some slack with my language skills), women selling fruits and vegetables, phone cabin guys, even store clerks – will offer up assistance if you ask politely.
While I miss the ability to find anything I want on the internet (have great access here, just less relevant), using the people around me is unarguably better for my language skills and for forming social ties.
Travel and research notes
Fieldwork and travel in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Mali, as well as Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tanzania, South Africa, and wherever else I end up. Plus occasional research-related thoughts. And now ... Teaching!