Le Village sur le Lac

Ganvie Travel Blog

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The whole time in Cotonou we had been seeing people with amazing fabric patterns - cellphones, ipods, giraffes, butterflies etc. We were really excited to go to the market and find it and get some for ourselves. George was fixing the car yet again and so the hotel reccomended someone to drive us there and show us around - he was a really cool guy but I was the only one who could speak to him since he didn't speak English. We got to the market and immediately this "tailor" attached himself to us and served as personal guide/really annoying companion. We were perfectly capable of walking around the market by ourselves, but he felt the need to accompany us and speak for us. It was super annoying.
We didn't find any of the reall cool fabrics, so that was disappointing, but we got some other good stuff. A lot of the fabric at the market was the Hollandaise fabric which is imported from Holland and is very expensive, and the vendors also won't cut it into small enough quantities to make it worth buying.

After that we went to the Arts Center and were harrassed by artists trying to sell us things.

George finally returned in the afternoon and we headed to Ganvie. Ganvie is this village in the middle of a lake where people live in stilt houses. Now it has been turned into a complete toursit trap. Our guide said about 100 people come every day to see it. I would definitely recommend going to another stilt village (there are several) if you don't want the touristy version.
We paid the extortionist fee and asked for a guide that spoke English. The guy who sold us our tickets introduced us to the guide and Sunita directly asked him "Do you speak English?" He told us yes. Blatant lie - the guy spoke no English but failed to inform us of this until we were already in the boat halfway there.

Anyways, from what we gathered the people moved to the lake to escape from slave raiders ebcause the raiders had religious convictions against going on water to capture people. We drove around the village and kids yelled "Yovo yovo, cadeaux!" which means white person give me a present. I didn't think it was cute. Then we went and ate at a restuarant in the village. There were cats in it, and Suni is deathly afraid of cats so that didn't work well for her. We ate rice with fish - a whole fish, eyeballs and everything. It's probably not something I'm going to do again.
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photo by: at1051