From Houston to Sydney 2013

West Africa



Today was our rest day, probably the only one for this entire trip.  This enabled Harouna to get our vehicle fixed – nothing huge but some irritating little repairs that needed doing.  It also meant that unlike most of the days on this trip, it was possible to sleep in a little, enjoy a leisurely breakfast – the kind of things that most mortal people (i.e. those who are not geographers) do when they go for a trip somewhere.  It also provided an opportunity to do some washing and marvel at the way my clothes instantly turned the water into a rich muddy brown colour, as well as catch up on e-mails and attempt (with very limited success) some phone calls home.

We did have one short excursion this afternoon, which was to the old slave house on the eastern edge of Lomé.  Not easy to find because there was no signage, the old slave house was built by the Portuguese.  It was in a sorry state of disrepair, which I actually liked because everything apart from the roof was therefore original.  The house is not large, and it didn’t take much time to see the main dining room where we were told the Portuguese had a comfortable life while the slaves were confined to a 1.5 metre high basement area directly beneath them.

Unfortunately, the SDHC card that stores the images in my camera disintegrated when I tried to attach it to my laptop this evening.  I thought I would never be able to retrieve the images.  UPDATE: In mid-February, after my return to Sydney, I managed to access the card courtesy of the wonderful staff at Paxton’s in Macquarie Centre.  Consequently, the images here are the ones that I managed to get on that day.

Trying to describe my buffet breakfast as the main event of the day does not make for a very riveting travel diary, and attempting to discuss my washing would be even less so.  Therefore, for something a bit different, and somewhat more reflective, I thought you might be interested in seeing a selection of the short videos I have made with my phone during my travels thus far over the past few weeks.  All the videos are in high definition (1280 x 720 pixels) if you select that option.

The first video shows the port at Mopti (Mali) on the fairly slow afternoon of 7th January (40 seconds)

This video shows children singing to welcome us at the Dogon village of Songho on 8th January (20 seconds)

This video shows a closer view of the children singing a welcome song in Songho (20 seconds)

This video shows part of the spectacular Dogon dancing at Sanga on 8th January, and is fairly representative of the dance as a whole (2 min 18 sec)

This video shows Dogon children singing in the cave to welcome us at Bongo on 9th January (53 seconds)

This video shows teasing the sacred crocodiles with a live chicken near Sabou in Burkina Faso on 12th January (1 min 26 secs)

This video shows some of the small, endangered giraffes near Kouré in Niger on 15th January (41 seconds)

This video shows the drive through the fairly typical town of Bohicon in Benin on 17th January (5 min 43 secs)

This video shows a sample of the terrible road conditions on the main highway between Bohicon and Allada in Benin on 18th January (8 min 57 secs)

This video shows the voodoo dancing in Ouidah on 19th January during which the old lady dancer “related” to me (3 min 23 secs)

This video shows the bats flying near our hotel room in Lomé, Togo, on 20th January. (1 min 13 secs)


21 January 2014

Day 25 - Lomé, Togo