If not here he is.
I picked him up from a woodcarver outside Ouidah shortly after arriving here. I had meant to go back to that woodcarver and get him some friends, but when I finally made it back to Ouidah this weekend, there were no friends I really liked. Well, there was a hippo, but he was too big. So, I’ll look around Cotonou for some wooden friends for my rhino.
I did pick up something else I’ve been meaning to get, a map of Africa in cloth (I could have gotten Benin, but I decided to go for the whole continent). It’s a local craft thing. You can find them all over. I happened to see some in Ouidah, and since I’m getting closer to leaving it’s time to gather up the souvenirs. This one isn’t mine. Mine is nicer. But posting this saves me from having to take it out of the bag, light it and shoot a picture. Okay, I’m lazy.
With just a few months left in Benin, I’m trying to do all the things I’ve been putting off. Finding a friend for the rhino was one. Getting to Porto Novo and doing some sightseeing (I’ve been there on business) is another. Porto Novo is actually the capital of Benin although most of the government is in Cotonou. Still, Porto Novo has some nice colonial architecture and I understand a good museum, so I need to get there.
I’d also like to get over to Togo for some sightseeing. Again, I’ve been there on business, but not as a tourist. It’s easily (for Africa) drivable, so I may try to get there my next three-day weekend.
I think I’ve mentioned I use a projector as my primary television here. It’s great, but I’ve always worried about the bulb, given the power surges and dropouts we get here. Well, it finally gave out. I was able to order a replacement from the U.S., and it arrived fairly quickly. So, I look at the bottom of the projector and there’s the access panel, with one obvious screw holding it down, and an arrow pointing where to grab to remove the cover. Except after I remove the screw, the cover won’t come off. Oh…also on the cover is a small sticker saying “don’t replace bulb without reading the directions in the manual.” The manual’s online. It’s a 20mb PDF. Do you know how long it takes to download that at Africa speeds? It finally does, I open it to the page showing how to remove the access panel and I see there’s a second screw…under the sticker!! After that it was easy. If they did that on purpose, it was ingenious!
I got to meet Charlotte when I was back in the U.S., but she’s making her first trip on her brand new Diplomatic passport this weekend along with her mom. She’s the first of the “cute baby brigade” on its way to Cotonou. After having one baby, then no babies, at post, we have two arriving and a couple more with Cotonou connections. As I said, the only thing you can count on is change.