I followed the lake down towards the sea and made my way along the coast road to Grand Popo, Benin’s humble answer to Goa. I was half thinking of spending a few days there and trying to put some tan on the rest of my body to match my brown arms and face. The truth of the matter though is I find getting a suntan unspeakably boring.
I rolled into the beachside Lion Bar, a rasta bar with a few rooms at the back, dropped my bags and wandered along the beach. The undertow sadly was as impressive and dangerous as anywhere else on this coast though and I managed a sweltering walk along the beach to an upturned hull being battered by the waves. A local fisherman told me it had been dumped there a few years ago by some Ghanaians. It looked a sorry site and would no doubt have been a useful fish sanctuary if they’d scuttled it a few hundred yards further out.
I got on the moto and decided to see the rest of the town but if truth be told there was not much to see and I returned to the Lion Bar. That evening I got talking with three charming and delightful French girls who were taking a break from a three month voluntary placement in Ougadougou working at a local health organisation. Two of them were GPs and the third was a dermatologist. With a nurse, a doctor and a speech therapist in my immediate family (not counting my own first aid qualification), I always enjoy talking to medical professionals. We ate prawns, drank beer and cocktails and enjoyed the evening with the sound of the waves on one side and the music of The Congos on the other. At one point, Clelia and I went for a stroll looking to see if the distant lights were a beach party (they weren’t) but we dipped our feet in the ocean anyway.
The following morning one of the girls got some sad news on the phone from her family back home, which made breakfast a more sombre affair than expected and we parted company with them heading back toward Ouaga visiting many of the places I’d come through on my way down and me heading to Togo.