It was a 3 hour drive which included another border crossing. Again, I had to get off the bus and accompany our Guide to the Immigration Police to have all of our passports stamped. It’s a very lengthy process but again All was in order and we were on our way. After checking in to our hotel, we had a nice buffet lunch and then we were en route to visit GANVIE (the village on the water) commonly known as the “Venice of West Africa “ where over 30,000 people live on stilts. As we made our way, we passed tons of motor bikes zipping in and out of traffic. There are over 250,000 moto taxi drivers or “Zem” in Benin. It was about a 30 minute ride to get to the jetty where the group boarded 2 motorized canoes to take us 8 km to the village. We passed women and children paddling their canoes as they went about their daily business of survival. Ganvie is a 300 year old village that began as a place of refuge to be protected from warring tribes who would capture and sell to the slave traders. We passed churches, a beauty shop, a couple of bars, a community center, a high school, and water stations where they go to fill their water buckets. We made a stop at Auberge Carrefour Ganvie Chez M, a souvenir shop and our shoppers quickly went to work making their purchases. Ms “no shopper” ( that would be me) was a little envious after seeing some of the very unique items they picked up.
Upon our return to the hotel, I invited the group to my suite for sips and bites; a few bottles of red and white, and some music. It turned out to be a beautiful time for bonding and professional sisters exchanging thoughts and ideas on work and family life. KATTRAX is more than a tour business. It’s a family and our travels become a reunion of sorts when folks can go back as far as 10 years recognizing and remembering when they traveled together to other parts of the world. I cannot tell you how much I love to hear some of the stories that date back to 1998 when my young travelers were turning it up in Paris. Yvonne Smith McIntyre was on hand to tell those stories. Wow! and now they are still traveling with me.
Today, we visit OUIDAH, the cradle of African Traditional Religion. Stay tuned…..