Left Ghana yesterday and crossed the border into Togo, a tiny slip of a country. you can get your visa on the border itself and after the usual formalities, we moved swiftly through,then onto DRC Embassy to get yet more visa’s, and we can collect these later today,we are currently camping at Chez Alice,just outside Lome, a rather strange place,Swiss-owned, full of weird hand carved animals and objects,you get the feeling they are looking at you all the time, I can’t really explain !
As I type this, Michael is at the Mechanic’s (again !!) and a young guy from the Embassy has just arrived at Chez Alice with our passports,complete with visa’s delivered by hand ….I’m seriously impressed,it does not usually work this way!! Hopefully we won’t have to go back into Lome now.
Michael was told he was very handsome, by a policeman that stopped us yesterday,so that pleased him, I don’t think anyone’s ever told him that before,least of all The old bill !! it must be the weight he’s lost since our travels began ,which must be mainly due to the heat and lack of fine wine,although why the same hasn’t applied to me I’m not sure !( maybe it’s the Avocado a day I’mconsuming,as they are extremely large and whilst good for my skin,must be highly calorific, but just so yummy !!)
Whilst on the subject of food,I had better point out some of our finest delights. Top of the list has to be the Pineapples which are longer,thinner and juicier x 10, these are simply to die for. Again, Mango,so many types,all good and pitifully wasted (somebody must want to import them, Malcolm)Watermelons,these are everywhere on the side of the roads, soooo sweet !Bissap…. a purple drink, made from water and hibiscus leaves,very good for breakfast,not disimalar to Ribena.
Favourite tipple….ice cold Beer
Rice (jollof) the staple,with various sauce,sometimes,bland,but mainly delicious.
Small quantities of meat (chicken) and fish ,occasionally seems to keep Michael quiet.
We are back to speaking French again now,it’s very tricky all this changing,I like things to keep things simple, but the one consolation of being back with the French is that the bread has become almost as delicious once again,it has to be said it was awful in Ghana, although the rest of their food was spicy and delicious,some of the best we’ve tasted.
Moved on to Lake Togo for a couple of days, a beautiful spot, where once again we were the only ones camping,we were also treated to some lovely fresh Gambas and fish, the local ladies did some washing for me which was a bit of a treat, all in all a good time was had.
The people of Togo are particularly well dressed ,bright colours for both men and women,it seems,we found them so friendly and helpful,would stay longer, but must move on to Benin.
Easy border crossing from Togo into Benin,which is also a small country, by African standards police and customs,very relaxed,hadn’t been going too long though,when stopped at peage for going under barrier when we should have gone through a different one with the lorries,so they seized the opportunity to fine us,our own stupid fault ….but really.
Also saw our first Monitor Lizard crossing a busy main road (very slowly) we waited ,as did two guys on a motorbike and watched whilst it took an age to cross. What a strange and fascinating creature (so Michael say’s )
Arrived in Cotonou, Benin’s bustling capital and found a nice,if not rather bizarre little Hotel IN the port,which,whilst an oasis with a pretty garden and pool ,was surrounded by hundreds of containers/cranes….only in Africa !
After a swim and a goods nights sleep, we set off for the Angolian Consulate, here we were told by the sweetest and most friendly of men, that he couldn’t issue us with a visa as these were the rules but that we should have no problem getting one at the border. He was genuinely interested in our travels,and roared with laughter when we told him we had crossed the desert,seeing no-one for mile upon mile,he seemed to think we were barking mad and was rolling about on his chair laughing his head off as we told him a few tales !! I wonder why ?!
In fact many people have shown great interest in our trip and when we say we’ve driven from England to this point,whether it’s the guy filling up the petrol tank or the owner of a camp site,they want to hear your story and with our rather appalling French, we seem to spend endless time explaining things, but have met some really lovely people as a result.
The Blue beast is not well and has developed a serious judder,which is extremely hard to control.We thought at first the wheels needed balancing,we’ve already had this done twice,but it appears now to be slightly more than that,so is going in for some repairs today,unless Mike the Mechanic can fix it,given all the giant potholes and generally awful road conditions,it’s not really that surprising .
Whilst stopped on the side of the road,with the wheel off,we were approached by a nun,who wanted to hitch a ride with us,she then proceeded to drink our bottle of water and leave because we were taking too long !
We are staying in Dassa Zoume, in the middle of Benin, the rainy season is well and truly upon us and we’ve had many downpours,which in turn seems to attract more of my mosquito friends.
Moved on to overnight stay in Parakou heading for Nigerian border and Abuja in search of the mystical Angolan visa no comms anticipated for a while.