I woke up with a sense of dread on Saturday morning; the prospect of 11 flights before the end of the year suddenly overwhelmed me (or to be more truthful, frightened me).
I love travelling.
I hate flying.
(Two statements which truly define me.)
Hence I have a real fondness for 2009; the year we decided not to fly anywhere and ended up in amazing Lucca (Italy) and Morocco.
But sometimes, flying is the only option… It would take too long to reach your destination otherwise, unless you had all the time (and money) in the world.
I’m in Lomé, the capital city of Togo (West Africa). I arrived last night (I’m down to nine flights now; woo hoo).
It’s hot (30 °C). It’s terribly humid.
And if you’d asked me earlier today what I made of it all… Hmmm… I don’t think you’d be rushing here in a hurry.
After a lazy morning, I left the hotel and set off in the direction of the beach. Located on the Gulf of Guinea, Lomé follows the Atlantic Ocean. The palm fringed beach is long and wide and there was hardly anyone there. The road by the seafront incidentally goes from Benin to Ghana (Togo is incredibly narrow as a country; I’m so close to Ghana, it’s absurd).
Things then took a turn for the worse. I failed to locate the presidential palace (don’t laugh at me! I tried to memorise the map before I left the hotel so I wouldn’t keep getting the map out of my bag, but clearly I didn’t do very well).
I made slow progress as I got accosted every few minutes by guys who either wanted to chat or just say hello or ask if I wanted to use their taxi-moto.
I then failed to locate the National Museum. According to my guidebook, it should be behind the Palais des Congrès. But apparently it’s inside. I’ll try again in the morning… but as tomorrow is a Bank Holiday here, my guess is it won’t be open.
Back at the hotel, dripping and red from the sun (despite the factor 30 suncream), I sat by the pool and contemplated going for a swim. Whilst I contemplated, I got bitten by mossies… who clearly don’t know that they’re supposed to be most active at sunrise and sunset. Tell them someone! Or at least tell them not to pick on me.
The success of my expedition is that I saw the tallest building in Lomé (and Togo), the Hôtel du 2 Février on Place De L’Indépendance.
But things perked up early evening when I went to the beach.
It was heaving. The whole of Lomé was out, I swear. Friends; families; teenagers; young couples; traders… the whole lot. People chatting, taking it easy; swimming; buying food and drinks from vendors; people-watching; riding horses or playing games… and the sound of music everywhere.
Lomé on a Sunday.