Lome Travel Blog

 › entry 12 of 17 › view all entries
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and it came with REAL COFFEE. Ghana only had Nescafe and so steamed mil and brewed coffeee was like heaven with croissants to boot. After that we set off to the market. It was Sunday, so it wasn't as busy as usual but there were still people out. And as usual we had a fllowing of 20-something year old guys following us around trying to get us to buy things from them. So we did some shopping.

Then we went to a fetish market where they sell things to make voodoo charms with. The market is mostly a trouist trap but i was still interesting to say the least. There were lots of dead animal parts: monkey heads, snakes, cow horns, dog heads, even some animal parst that I'm sure are endangered. PETA would not have liked it, and not that I'm a PETA fan, but it was almost a little much for me to handle.
The smell was horrible. We went inside this little room with a guy who showed made a charm for us and then we peaced out of there.

We ate lunch at Hotel Gallion because we had read that it had fondue. It was supposedly run by Swiss people. So when we get there I explain to the waiter that we don't all eat meat and we want cheese fondue. He thinks this is hilarious and tells me they only have meat fondue. I don't know what that is, but it sounds really bad. So we order different things and Shari's croque monsieur has plastic on the ham. We tell the same waiter this and he says that's normal because the ham comes in plasitc. Needless to say, we were less than thrilled.

From Lome we went to Ouidah, in Benin about two hours away. The border crossing was the usual - flirt with the immigration officers and pass for free.
This guy thought that Shari was French this time and told us that he would drive to ouidah to see us tomorrow. Ha.

So we get to Ouidah and go immdeiately to the Temple des Pythons. Voodoo is the official religion of Benin, and about 50% of the people practice it. This particualr town worships the python as a deity. I'm pretty sure the temple is more for tourists than for real practicers, but it looked pretty real. You go in this complex thing and the guy tells you about voodoo and then he open the door to the temple and there are about 30 pythons curled up into piles all over the floor. Then he draped them around Shari and Sunita who weren't scared. Then he approached me with the thing and it stuck its tounge out and I was terrified but he still put it on me long enough to take a picture.
When you leave the temple there is a cathedral built right acorss the street in plain view of the temple. Coincidence on the decision to build a church there? I think not.

Our driver, George, knew a guide in Ouidah who spoke English and so while we were waiting for him we walked around the town and saw something really loud going on. There were people decked out in African garb dancing - it was mostly young teenagegrils doing the dancing. We had no idea what was going on but we founf out later that it was a festial for smallpox who they worship as a god in order that he won't be angry and give smallpox to the people. No one payed any attention to us even though we were the only yovos (white people) in sight. It was incredibly refreshing.

So when Remy (like Ma) our Enlgish-speaking guide arrived he took us to the Sacred Forest where they have shrines built for different gods. There's a huge tree that supposedly fell down, and when the woodworkers came to cut it up into pieces to move it, they all went crazy and it stok back up on its own. Then Remy took us for a drink at this outdoor place where people had brought food and were drinking and listening to really loud salsa music. Benin has a significatn connection to Brazil and Brazilian culture because most of the slaves that were taken to Brazil were taken from the Benin area, so you can see the Latin influence in the town. There was a huge crowd there drinking even on a Sunday, including women. You never see women out in Ghana just for a drink unless they're obrunis or prostitutes. Remy attributed this to the fact that BEnin was under French colonial rule for so long and the French like to have more fun than the British. Sounds reasonable to me.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: hauteboy