Saturday, April 20, 2019

Cotonou, Benin to Baba Egun, Nigeria, February 9, 2019

I was awake at 4 so knew I was in for a long and tiring day.  We only had 79 lm to go today-



and our first stop was at Porto Novo where some went to museums but I had breakfast and then went with Terry to the hospital so he could get his new sore looked after-



He had a similar sore on his lower right leg and after a couple rounds of antibiotics, it is finally healing.  This new sore has developed on his upper, inner left thigh.  We were put in the male emergency room where there was a young man on intervenous and another man who looked like he'd lost some of his right ear.  There was blood everywhere: on the floor, on his cot, on his shirt and he never stirred the whole time we were there.  He too was hooked up to a couple of bags.  Another man was down the hall making horrible groaning sounds.  He had a lot of family/friends with him so he might have been on his way out.  The Doctor spoke English, sort of.  He wrote a prescription for four things that I had to buy before Terry would be treated.  I went to the pay office-



where you have to bend down and talk into the little hole-



They only had two of the four items so I paid for them, then went to another wing to pick them up.  I hopped on a motorbike and went downtown to the pharmacy to get the other two things.  That's where I should have gone to begin with rather than stand in line behind five Africans.  A man helped me butt in front of a couple women who weren't very happy with me and I normally wouldn't have done that but we were supposed to be leaving at 11:30 and I didn't want to hold up the truck too much.

No one runs with much fuel in their tanks.  We stopped for gas on the way back to the hospital-



Once back with the goods, the doctor cleaned the area around the wound and then the wound itself.  He placed a sugar cube on some gauze, squirted it with disinfectant and told us to put sugar on it `everyday until the white is gone-



thought we'd gone to a western medicine hospital, not the Feticheur market!   The doctor said it's a staff infection and the wound has to be cleaned every day.  The antibiotics aren't really necessary but Terry can keep taking them if he likes.  He's got three more small sores on his lower left leg and another on his back that I hope don't develop into something.  I think he needs to be hooked up to an IV of antibiotics but so far that hasn't happened.
Once we got back to the truck, when Will started it, he discovered we had an air brake hose leak so that took about half an hour to bandage.  We left for the border and I fell asleep. I woke with a start when we stopped, thinking we were at the border but we were only getting some propane.  It took an hour to get half a tank.  The young kid running the booth didn't seem to be able to get the hose on tight enough to transfer the gas. The only interesting thing was a truck parked nearby.  I don't think he could get under the wires strung across the street-



What a load!  And speaking of loads-



Eventually we got to the Benin border.  Leaving was easy enough, except of course they didn't have enough forms so had to go somewhere to photocopy more and that took at least 20 minutes.  How can you not have enough forms?  While waiting, we bought a chicken that was the worst chicken I've ever eaten in my life.  It was so tough - must have been some old horny rooster.  At the Nigerian border we had to show our yellow fever card and have our temperature taken.  Then we crowded into a very small room which had a soccer game on the big screen tv that kept some of us happy.  It took forever to get processed.  Two men were asking questions in a room with a computer and they held a camera up to take our photo.  The only question they asked me was my occupation and they were surprised I was 57!  At the start of our arrival, they seemed nervous - they kept asking questions if we were here for the election that starts the 16th.  Once we convinced them we were only tourists, they relaxed.   I was in and out in less than a minute but it took three hours to get all 21 of us through.  Of course by this time it was dark and Nigeria is nuts.  There were numerous 'police checks' along the way with spike belts on the road to make sure you stop and groups claiming to be the police waving flashlights and hollering.  I don't think Will paid any bribe money but locals were definitely paying officials at the border!  We have heard all kinds of stories about Nigeria and so far they're right!  
The air hose on Will's seat sprung a leak so we lost air pressure, magically in front of a hotel and that's where we are for the night.  I've upgraded to a room with AC so think I've died and gone to heaven!  We have a 9 am start for I don't know where but I'm looking forward to seeing Nigeria and putting all the stereotypes to rest!  







Baba Egun to Ibadan, Nigeria, February 10, 2019

We had a late start - 9 a.m. and headed north east to Abeokuta to see the second best attraction in the country.  Oh, oh!  If that's true, there's not going to be much to see in this whole country!  
Along the way-



Nigeria is absolutely insane.  It's the most populated country on the continent.  People are everywhere- shouting, waving and smiling at us.  I loved today!







It's the grossest place so far-







People pass at anytime, whether it's safe or not-



Garbage is everywhere-



Including under a bridge.  I guess they're waiting for the rainy season to "clean" it up-





It's election time so posters are everywhere-





Completely full on-









The ??? Rock is underwhelming. It's apparently Africa's Ayers Rock so we climbed to the top-



Corn was ground in these bowls in one of the caves-



The views would be nicer if Lagos' smog didn't fill the air-




We tried to have lunch at a restaurant on site but they only had goat and rice.  I don't mind goat if it's been cooked for a day but if not, it's so tough I can't chew it.  And rice, well, I'll pass.  Will ordered it and couldn't eat any of it, the rice included it was so nasty.  I walked along the street looking for something else and all that was available was fufu - made from crushed manioc and other nasty looking meat.  It was too hot to be hungry anyway.  

There's a small art gallery nearby and I really liked these mosaics-





The city is a bit of a mess.  They've widened the road so they took a bucket machine and just demolished the fronts of many buildings-





People were scavenging in the rubble-





It looks like a war zone and driving out of town, we caught them in the act-



I have no idea where these poor people will live now.  

The mosque is huge-


But I think the Anglican Church won-



I rode shotgun this afternoon.  The views from the cab are the best-



We stopped close to Ibadan and April negotiated camping and cheap rooms so I've upgraded again!  I'm loving this!



Friday, April 19, 2019

Ibadan to Osogbo, Nigeria, February 11, 2019

I was awake again at 4:15 and couldn't go back to sleep.  Another looooooong day ahead.  Michelle has decided to leave the group for awhile and rejoin in Gabon.  She's going to Ghana to possibly volunteer for a couple of weeks-



I guess that's what happens on a long trip: people come and go to do other things, sleep in better hotels or whatever.  Right now we are down 6 people - they signed up for the complete trip to Cape Town but are away.  I'm not going anywhere, I know that, at least not yet!

Michelle is a Canadian who has lived in many places, most recently in Chile for the past 6 years where she was teaching English.  She's worked for Not for Profits, then 7 years for the RCMP in High Level and Airdrie as the director of the victim's assistance unit.  Next she lived in Calgary where she was a community developer for the city helping to design playgrounds and parks.  This is her third overland, having done London to Sydney and Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.  When not traveling, Michelle likes to golf, volunteer, swim and climb mountains.  She travels because her personal motto is "seeing the world through God's eyes" and she feels really blessed to be able to do that.  After this trip, Michelle will have seen close to 100 countries.

The road was mostly paved to Oshogbo but it was very rough.  I sat in the front of the truck and I was swaying from left to right.  I can't imagine how bad it would have been in the back seats.  There are so many crazy signs along the way like Crystal Ball Pharmacy, Six Foot Funeral Home/Mortuary and-



We stopped for a pee at a gas station and bathroom cleanliness has hit an all time low.  So disgusting and to make matters worse, the shop had nothing in it.  We had to walk across the busy highway to get a cold drink and-



And they are right.  They taste nothing like Oreos!

The air in Nigeria isn't the best-



Nor is the cleanliness of the rivers-



Once in Oshogbo, a traditional centre for Yoruba spirituality, we visited the Osun Oshogbo Sacred Site which was a waste of time.  It's unbelievably a UNESCO World Heritage site.  All I can figure is that UNESCO wants to have a certain number of sites in every country in the world however they are scraping underneath the bottom of the barrel here. Suzanne Wengner, an Austrian, is responsible for the sculptures-



Offerings are offered to the fertility goddess, Osun.

I guess you can't have children without-



Goofiness-









Pretty weird-






Pinocchio?-





There was a small art gallery with items for sale.  Typical Nigerian art is made with beads-



And batik-



More sculptures-



think Suzanne may have lived here-





Lunch was the usual:  chicken and rice.  This time it was jollof rice which is red and spicy.  I've learned the best thing to order is African.  They can't do western and chicken and rice or fries is pretty hard to mess up.  
We found a hotel with private bathrooms and AC and went 'downtown' for a SIM card which isn't working too well.  I'm hoping for an early night and a sleep past 4:30 am!  Tomorrow we're off to Benin City.  



Cotonou, Benin to Baba Egun, Nigeria, February 9, 2019

I was awake at 4 so knew I was in for a long and tiring day.  We only had 79 lm to go today- and our first stop was at Porto Novo where some...