So we had a week off of class, so Sunita, Shari and I decdided to go to Togo and Benin after a long process of figuring out the getting to Mali is neither cheap or easy. We hired a car to take us from Avis. Beofre we get anywhere, though, we ahve to cross the border. Interesting and very telling of the difference between francophone and anglophone countries. The girls at the Ghanaian side of the border jsut checked our visas and stamped our passports in a respectable, four-sided building. The two guys on the Togolese side of the border sitting in a random shack with a rope across the road flirted with us and asked us where our husbands were. Per the usual, he wanted to marry Shari the most and asked if she was George (our driver's) daughter because he didn't believe me when I told him she was American.
We avoided a lot fo wasted time of him trying to convince her to marry him because he couldn't talk to her - I served as translator and just told him she already had a Ghanaian husband. He also thought Sunita was my daughter, though, if that tells you anything.
So our first stop is Kpalime, in Togo. We wanted to go to these waterfalls that we read about so after we ask about 1,000 times where they are we get directions and drive there. Then the car is swarmed by 10 boys saying that they are "guides" and that the waterfall is closed, but they will take us to another one if we let them in the car so they can show us where it is. This was all in broken English - both Togo and Benin are francophone countries. We do not agree to this so they get angry and we drive away.
Then some other dude comes up to the car and tells us he will take us to the waterfalls and we can follow him on a zemi-john (moped). So we do this and when we arrive suddenly our friends the "guides" have decided to show up too. They were apparently just lying through their teeth but made up a weak story as to how the waterfall actually is closed. So we proceed to hike up this mountain through the rainforest. It's really gorgeous - we're in coffee country and there's butterflies EVERYWHERE - but it's also very very humid. When we finally make it to the top we're about to die, but it's really pretty. We didn't swim - it was way too cold and dirty and there were the sketchy guys with us.
So we go back down to town and eat at this hotel called Chez Fanny - some of the best French food I've ever had. I had garlic shrimp and frites. Not the best option for vegetarians, however. Their red wine, as we have found in almost all of Africa, was of course chilled. After dinner we went to this artisan's market and Suni bought this amazing arbre d'amour for the apartment.
So that night we drove to Lome
, the capital of Togo, and stayed at Victoria Guesthouse. We watched about 10 episodes of Lost from teh bootleg copy that we bought on the street for five dollars and then we went to bed because we're that exciting.