From Ouidah to Grand Popo

in

We have fallen in love with the tiny Republic of Benin, our 12th country on the trip and 28th one overall. And what is there not to love if the people are laid back, the beaches have golden sand, the sea is blue and the food is good. Added to that the fact that wine is available (no matter that I have tasted better in my student days in the Dros) the accommodation right on the beach and viola! All happy. Never mind the fact that every now and then the water disappears out of the taps and you get caught with soap all over!!!

 No WATER HELP!!The beach and the "Chateau"

As you can see, laid back Benin was the perfect antidote to stressful Nigeria. This is in fact the first country since Namibia that has started a sprinkling of tourism. Here was the first time we saw local trinkets being sold and even guided tours offered. How refreshing and innovative and we do hope that it will pay off as they deserve their place in the sun. We most certainly will promote is as much as we can.

 Local boy.."SSAnd local granny!!

We decided to spend an extra night in beautiful Grand Popo and unfortunately due to this, we will be unable to stay a night in Togo. We have come to realize that we do not cope well with cities and as there is enough stresses to deal with on a daily basis, so sorry Togo, we will just have to get to know you from the inside of Stanruza, who by the way is still moving, not brilliantly but we will at least get to the long awaited Ghana and Mr Adeli!

 Thomas our guide and in themangrove swamps

We got to know the history of Benin a bit better today on a guided walking tour with Thomas, a local from the fishing village next door. The lack of French on our side is still a problem, but with his “small small” English and our “petite petite” French we got at least some information. We went for a walk through 2 villages, one mainly a fishing village and the other the local Voodoo stronghold. We saw some of the temples and sacrifices of this fascinating belief system. The best part was a leisurely “mokoro like trip on the local Mono river. We got to interact with the locals a bit, saw how they grind the coconuts into a flour with a machine that must be at least a 100 years old and got to taste their version of “palm wine” Stew thought it tasted a bit like Grappa just a bit stronger, I just loved it……obviously getting acclimatized!

 Coconut machinePalm wine.                                                                                                Look who made it to Benin! And finally one of the Voodoo sacrifice statues

As we are leaving a the crack of dawn tomorrow for Togo and Ghana, we will miss the last ‘Les petit dejeuners and bought some baguette from one of the local girls. That for sure in one thing that we will miss …. The overall availability of the fresh baguettes.

To all of you out there that keep us entertained and in tears of joy and thankfulness with your e mails, thank you so much. You guys have no idea how special you all are. And always know, that we will come home if we truly cannot continue or if we feel in our souls that this is not the right thing. At the moment, it seems that Africa has a habit of redeeming herself all the time and no matter how bad it gets, there is always goodness and sunshine.We miss our friends and family so much, but it is good to know we carry you close to us in our hearts all the time.

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