Sunday, 13 September 2009

Casa Del Papa...

Yesterday Paul and I took a Land Rover packed full of people to Casa Del Papa, a couple of hours drive towards the Togo border. Casa Del Papa is a resort with kayaking, mini-golf, tennis courts, swimming pools, a restaurant, and a beautiful beach. However, before we reached this lovely place we drove past The Gate Of No Return, a memorial to the many thousands of men, women and children who were taken from their homes and forced to sail across the Atlantic to become slaves in an unknown land. Before I left Cape Town I watched the movie Amazing Grace, the story of William Wilberforce and his unwavering efforts to end the slave trade. To be here in Benin and to know what these souls suffered was rather poignant. And to know that slavery still exists in many forms and in certain areas of the world today is very sad.

But anyway, let's move on to Casa Del Papa. Here we had a great time swimming in the rough sea, relaxing and reading in the sun, kicking a rugby ball around, and enjoying some time away from the ship. I also went kayaking on a large lagoon nearby and that was a really fun experience. So all in all it was a good day out making some new friends and before long we were all heading back to the ship.

However, the drive back was rather tiring as we got stuck in traffic for over two hours and this was not fun. But the quality people in the Land Rover made up for the stress of constant clutch control and shifting from neutral to first, first to second, and second back to neutral again as we came to a grinding halt! By the time we reached the ship by 18h30 I was pretty exhausted from sleep deprivation, too much sun, and driving. And so I found myself catching a really early night. Going to bed at 21h00 and sleeping for over ten hours straight is bliss!

Here are some more photos from our day out... Enjoy!

This is a close-up of the artwork on a portion of The Gate Of No Return.

This is another memorial nearby - but this one is commemorating Christianity coming into the country (as far as I can make out).

Our trusty Mercy Ships Land Rover.

Local fishermen checking their nets on the lagoon at Casa Del Papa.

Kayaking/Canoeing on the calm waters.

I could do this all day. It was beautiful.

The beach at Casa Del Papa.

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