Benin Travel Stories, Page 18

Benin Hotel

Benin Hotel
Ouidah, Benin
Saturday, September 9, 2006

I think or consider too often the idea of recommending a hotel; however, the problem is they change. A good hotel can go to pieces quickly if only one staff person changes.

Nicole here in the Panff is excellent, the manager is somewhat lost, does not speak clear French, in fact I think it is rotten.

All is guaranteed to change, a hotel has a shelf life of maybe one year, it could overnight change. The Oasis here is out of business, but my guide calls it a good up market hotel.

I am enjoying the immersion in the French here, and enjoying the more educated breeze.


Benin Hotel


Benin French Immersion

Benin French Immersion
Ouidah, Benin
Saturday, September 9, 2006

Benin is 161
Togo is 142 on my 2002 HDI - Human Development PDF file I have on my computer.

Ouidah, Benin has been a fresh change from Togo, it is almost as if the people speak more French here. The say Bon Jour Monsieur and not just Bon Jour, there is a completeness to the sentences, that was lacking in Togo.

There are always islands in any country where the average educational level is higher than others are. I had a little girl of 11 giving me the third degree, talking slow, deliberate fully empathetic that I need to hear the French slowly. I think she can read, I will go back tomorrow to the well for another French lesson. Her mother is exceptionally knowledgeable also, works selling telephone calls at a kiosk next to the Panff Hotel here in Ouidah.

The girl Nicole that works in the restaurant, that is part of the hotel was speaking in good passable English and helping to correct my French pronunciation and clarify. A quick intuitive nature is obvious in many people here in Ouidah, a breeze is blowing that helps me tremendously.

I am learning French as remarkable speed, there is nobody here that speaks English, my French is always dominating his or her English, and thus we speak in French. Very few can now speak English better than I can speak French.

I can speak Spanish, I remember how long it took me to learn, how tiresome it was, and difficult to talk. However, now it real bonus, because of the vast number of cognates or words that are most the same as Spanish words. I shall be able to change easy to French, the Spanish is an accent, I am thinking in French, and not by default Spanish. English is of no value, therefore no thoughts in English, a person naturally talks and thinks in what works.

Immersion in a language demands or it is required that people talk to you. I am glad I did not go first to France to learn, it would have only slowed down my learning. The people in Africa all want to talk with me; I can have a conversation anywhere and anytime and practice my French.

I will return to my room, listen to my French on the BYKI, Before You Know, It French program on my computer. This helps to clean the pronunciations and see how they adapt here or change.

I really do not want an African accent; however, I can go to France and clean up my bad habits. I did this in Spanish and a habit can be broken by me, I know this. I am capable of applying pronunciation guides if I work through all the rules. I am slowly sussing out all the rules of pronunciation. More difficult in Spanish because the combine two words on an almost word-by-word basis, they are Liasoned, or something like that, connected, the last letter can be the start of the next word.


Benin French Immersion


Survival Africa Candle Cooking

Survival Africa Candle Cooking
Ouidoh Benin
Saturday, September 9, 2006

I was reading in the LP about the fishermen here in Benin, throwing tree branches will leaves in the water, then allowing them to rot. When the rotted, I guess the fish would be attracted, they would then net them. Ingenious way of getting them in one location, I always have my eyes open for a very small net, however yet to find one light and easy.

This makes me think though about tagging or grouping certain types of post. The electricity in Ouidah has been off out for about six hours, I am hungry, want to cook some Peas. Finally mustered up a four-candle oven, first for a cup of coffee, now for the peas. Works great, and as long as inside, no breeze, easy to use.



I am having lemons and peas for supper, not much, but better than eating Pringles, or candies that are easy to buy.

I am sort of scavenger, hit many food groups over the course of the day.


Survival Africa Candle Cooking


Computer on Roof

Computer on Roof
Ouidah Benin
Saturday, September 9, 2006


Computer rode on top of Car Roof...

My computer is locking or freezing again, maybe it has stopped; I reseated all the jobbies again. I always want to put my one bag in the trunk; however, I usually have it on my lap. I trusted the driver this time because I knew the trunk was empty; we stopped and picked up for tubs of fish in water. He kindly took my bags out, however I then hear a thump, as he is too weak, throws the backpack with the computer inside up on the roof, not only on the roof, but also onto two roof-mounted slats, not the way to treat a computer.

The two bags rode there all the way to Ouidah, and I started the computer and it started.

The problem with any bag, is people throw them, you can never trust anyone with a fragile bag. 85 percent of the time, you are ok, and then the other 15 percent the bag take flying lessons.

I need a maybe number two however small Philips screwdriver, the small screws are in danger of being stripped. Big headaches. On a note of fun, the computers, that did not connect to the internet in Aneho had windows 98 on them, like a blast from the past.


Computer on Roof


Quidah Benin

Quidah Benin
Saturday, September 9, 2006

I seen two French boys, I think, that was a surprise here, I made my first ever complete tours of all the Hotels in the LP, amazing, I paid about 1000 Mille or 2 Dollars US, for a series of different taxis to take me to every isolated hotel with no people in the city.

I like to be in the middle, the Ermitage has a sign 1000 for one hour, not a good sign, when there is a bar next to it.

The in the center, Oasis was closed, not open and was supposed to be up market, I am never sure what their impression is.

I have resorted to going to the Internet first, then trying to find a hotel close to the internet. I rather think the internet is more in the areas I like to live.

I am in the Hotel Paniff or something now, 8000 and a nice room, a couple of rooms may even have people, there is a TV with two French stations.

The hotel was the only one where I even got a smile out the reception persons that was a bonus and sold me. It however, is too far from the city, and I will need to either commit to a daily one-kilometer walk or hope a taxi comes down the deserted road. I am not sure; I think a lot of business is isolated boom boom, on vacation boom boom, a nice hotel with a topless girl stature in side.

I saw a line of girls walking from the fields, I am on the outskirts of this lack of civilized city and I can see a walk away from the city would be nice.

From the border of Togo to Grand Popo, they grew many vegetable, with man forms of irrigation I had never seen before. As I left Grand popo there was a large Marche or Market on the river that was cool, I looked hard trying to find a hotel in the middle of Africa, but no luck.


Quidah Benin


Grand Popo Benin

Grand Popo Benin
Quidah Benin
Saturday, September 9, 2006

I stopped at Grand Popo, a girl in the taxi tried to get me to with her, on hindsight I made and error.

The Auberge de Grand Popo was too far from Africa for me, and at the cheapest, not even on the beach 13000 CFA I gave it an easy pass. I do not understand this resort mentality, it is annoying, nothing nice, no bikinis, old people and I pay too much, reminds me the Caribbean at one then the price.

The whole Grand Popo seems like a place for couples, which want to guarantee they do not need to see African people. I tried to find a hotel in the center, in the end, I just could not pay over 20 Dollars US, for a room I can get for five in Thailand, and there would be people. Living in an empty hotel is not fun.

My gut says, most of West Africa is only full of people in these resorts at Christmas, however they have that European you need to pay and like it attitude, they all need to go to Brazil or something, As is, anywhere for a better beach vacation.

I got on the bus, looked at one hotel called the Mar on the highway, the boy on the taxi took me to the Internet, there was a copy machine, I had enough and got into a taxi with some hippos.

Amazing how much blubber can be packed in the back seat of a car, and pure bodies.


Grand Popo Benin


2006 September 9 Enter Benin

2006 September 9 Enter Benin
Ouidah Benin
Saturday, September 9, 2006

I crossed the border from Togo to Benin today, and extremely easy crossing, however I was there at a quarter 7:45, the time though seems to have changed, in Benin the time is 8;45. This could be a long process if there was many persons as the man took down everything under the sun, did a very good job and was thorough.



I needed to know a Hotel,
I need to know a profession and say in French.
My Visa Entente worked perfect, he seem to want to know how long I would stay in the first hotel

It was easy, then I paid 1000 CFA to go to Grand Popo in a very crowded car, there are hotels on the Hilla Conji Benin, and one sign that said Internet, however I do not know. A large market on the Hilla Conji Benin side of the border, with what appears to be large amounts of vegetables.


2006 September 9 Enter Benin


Hilla Conji Benin Aneho Togo Border

Hilla Conji Benin Aneho Togo Border
Aneho Togo
Saturday, September 9, 2006

Run for the border today, it is an easy hit, just a short ride to the gate from the Oasis Hotel or about 100-200 Fran to the gate by Moto Taxi, hard to find a car taxi.

I have a boy coming at 8:00, he was exceptionally helpful yesterday, I am saying to him.
- Je Va a Cotonou -

Hmm, my French sucks, and spelling is a goner.
- Je vais à Cotonou -

The do not every say Benin, very seldom, when they say are your going to Benin, they say Cotonou.

PREPARED INDEX CARD
I just finished preparing my 100 percent normal, anywhere I go index card note. On one side, it says.
- GRAND POPO -

On the other side it says,
- OUIDAH -
- COTONOU -

Not everyone can read, but a better chance of me remembering something that is becoming boring and repetitive to the point that I procrastinate. I tire of looking for hotels, and finding transportation, think the guidebooks just drop the ball, however the Benin writer has taken a big jump in quality, the person is better than the past few countries.



I need to cross the border, looks to me like a 15-minute border, not a big problem, however 2-3 hours is always needed to be allocated for a border, as amazing how many problems can happen at a border.

From the border to Grand Popo is the problem, how much for taxi, how much for van, how much, I want to know how much money and how to pay, how to find.

The guide is written from a Cotonou to anywhere as is all the other countries, there is not a travel from country explanation, the borders are the most complicated and dangerous and the least focused on by guidebooks.

I can find how to get from Contonou to Grand Popo.

I can say Cotonou and just leave the bus when I get to Grand Popo, another easy option. I am not looking forward to the very stupid, over pushy taxi drivers, I am rich they are poor; I want to gouge you deep, at least 10 times normal for the fare mentality at the borders. I got hit for 3 times the price coming across into Lome from Aflao. A taxi from the border to one of the typical hotel is max about 600 Fran, I paid 1500, and I was lucky, I had targeted 2500, he offered less.

Distance…?


Hilla Conji Benin Aneho Togo Border