Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Hottest Day of my Life in Lome, Togo (Nov. 11, 2010)

The flag of Togo...I am sensing an African theme here!

We had an early tour that Nancy had arranged and we met in the Casino Bar at 7:15 a.m. We were  greeted once again by native dancers. It was very interesting as a huge part of their religion is voodoo, and they believe in keeping their faces hidden. I would hate to be the person (or spirit!) under the costume. It was so hot and muggy that it felt like it was raining lightly even though it wasn’t.

Another of Rich's videos...thank you, Rich!

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These guys on stilts were amazing!

They also had their faces covered which was a little creepy…

He could move!

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We had a nice little mini bus for the day, and we were off. This looked like a huge beach!

There were so many motorcycles, because they are used as taxis. I only realized this woman had her face hidden after I looked at the pictures. Part of the voodoo culture is that they do not like to have their pictures taken, as they believe if you have an image of them, you may be able to do some harm to them.

Pretty impressive buildings…

Our first stop was the museum with a lovely relief of figures at the top. They appeared to be musicians…


Our bus…two of the windows at the back slid open and one at the front. The rest of the seats didn’t get much air, and it was very hot...

The museum guide was so proud of their artifacts, but it was so hot in there you could hardly breathe. We couldn’t wait to get back outside. It was supposed to go to 35 degrees that day, and I was already sweating from head to toe.

The Sofitel Hotel is named 2 Fevrier as the first president of the country of Togo was killed in a plane crash on February 2 and the hotel was built in his memory.

Congress buildings…

Independence Square…Togo was a friendly trading country, but had no major resources to exploit and was without a good harbour. As a result no European power had any interest in them until the Germans claimed the land in 1884. In WWI, the Germans suggested that Togo be a neutral zone, but the British and French moved in and occupied it in only 18 days. After the war, the French governed Togo while the British claimed Ghana. Togo received its independence in 1960. In 1967 a small army took control of the government and has ruled it ever since.

The usual crazy mesh of traffic. We were warned by our tour guide to be careful taking pictures in intersections as there is often a military person with a gun and they do not allow their picture to be taken. We thought we were being careful, but in spite of that, we were again pulled over and the police came on board. This time it really did appear to be for nothing, and after discussion with our guide, we were on our way again. We do love the excitement…not!

We stopped at this Catholic church for a few minutes.

With children in the school yard…

Yes indeed…

Marceline, one of our tour guides, took us for a walk through the market. I didn’t take any pictures as people are very adamant about not having their picture taken.

By now, I think I was the hottest I have ever been. There were beads of sweat all over my arms and it was running like a little river down my back. Around this time, I think I was wishing to be back on the ship. Outside the city, it is definitely much poorer…


Next stop, another little market…

This chameleon can't make up his mind what colour he wants to be and has also lost part of his tail.

The market wasn't too prosperous. But as always, there were some nice things and one of us usually bought something…normally masks or necklaces.

I don’t even like Coke, but I would have guzzled one at his point. He looked quite happy! Our bottled water was lukewarm by now, and you hesitated to drink too much because there weren’t too many washroom stops. 

Definitely the land of the motorcycle and we didn't see anyone with a helmet.

Not sure what kind of hanging tails these were…and I wasn't sure I wanted to know.

We arrived at our next stop that many people were interested in…the fetish market. This is where those who practice voodoo come to buy the items they need for potions and spells. It is a "pharmacy" and is serious business. Doesn’t this look inviting?

We were first herded in to see the voodoo man who tried to sell us good luck charms and items that he had put a spell on. There were eight of us in this tiny shack and one vendor blocking the door. It was obvious we would have to buy something to get out. We ponied up and bought a stick that has magical powers for your sex life. Whatever, just get us out! We were all sweating buckets and you could hardly breathe in there. He probably cursed the lot of us, but we were back out in the “fresh” air.

We had been warned that if you touched anything, it was yours. They believe that you have taken the power from the item once you touch it. Nancy was buying some kind of doll…

These were real heads of dogs, monkeys, cows, and other animals that I can’t identify. The smell in the heat was overpowering…

We were happy to escape and get back in the van. These appeared to be some very nice community gardens.

They had had a lot of rain and this water remained around these houses. Mosquito magnets…



Joe threw food for the ducks which they fought for. At one point there was a rooster, a hen and baby chicks all clamouring for food. Joe put his plate of rice down and the chicks were standing in it pecking away.

We were happy to be in the shade.

I ordered chicken. Jim went for the fish...head that is!

We were going to be taking a boat ride on Lake Togo and we joked about these being our boats.

The lake didn’t appear to be too deep…

We shouldn’t have laughed about the boats. They weren’t both ours…only one of them was! We climbed in anyway…all part of the experience!I have my Remembrance Day poppy on...

It appeared we left the table too early and the waitress brought our dessert to us in the boat. Fresh pineapple…dang my allergy to pineapple. Jim said it was so sweet and good!

And we were off on our boat ride with two guys in the back using their poles to move us along…

We saw fishermen…

And a hotel that was abandoned in the construction phase…

Shrimp nets…

They appeared to be clearing branches out of the water…

A beautiful home with a family on the beach. Most people waved when we did. Many of children were very excited to see us…

They put the sail up and we headed to the deeper part of the lake. By now we were taking on quite a bit of water and our tour guide, who was sitting next to us, was using a sponge to mop it up and wring it out. Rich is peering through the sail…

Jim and Kim on Lake Togo…

Nancy…

Safely back on land!! That was fun...

We should be glad this wasn’t our boat…a cloth sail held up with a stick. I am sure it worked perfectly!

Surprise! Another market stop…I think our guides were in cahoots with them, but we enjoyed looking.

I didn’t think these would fit in our suitcase!

We bought this batik cloth…

Cute…

I really wanted to buy these for my brothers. How many times did I see them and Dad do this pose!

This blackboard was just outside the door at the back of the shop. Someone was doing some pretty advanced math!

More nice gardens…

So interesting what they can carry…

A bread stand…it looked so good!

This type of furniture market was very common in Ghana and Togo…

A big bread market!

Yippee! We were back at the port. Lome was very poor compared to Accra the previous day…and so-o-o-o hot!

TV anyone?

Lome was very interesting. Tomorrow we would be in Cotonou, Benin. I was mentally preparing myself for another hot day. It couldn't be worse, could it?

1 comment:

  1. I remember that day also and you're right, it had to be the hottest day of my life!

    ReplyDelete