Day 85: Another day, another country: Benin, country # 9

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Fri 28 Jan 2011 16:57
Day 85: Friday 28 January 2011.  Auberge Grand Popo, Benin. N 0616.738 E 001 49.781  Distance driven 62 km. Total distance 13,760 km
We had a very friendly "send off" from Madam Alice and her staff and we were away by 0800, at the border by 0900 and through before 1000.  This was our easiest border crossing yet; lots of signs, no money-changer touts, no "fixers" to hassle us and intelligent, (mainly) alert, friendly officials. The only problem was getting our Carnet de Passage stamped at the Benin side. It turned out that today was the 50th Anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Benin and a public holiday, so we had very much the "B" team in Benin Customs.  The guy who had to process the Carnet had obviously never seen one before but didn't like to admit it.  He just tried to get rid of us by mis-directing us other Customs offices until we found his boss who told him by cell phone to get on with the job! Even then he he had to get boss-man over to help him out.
Once into Benin we sailed down the coast road and called in at this lovely auberge on the beach, a former colonial hotel.  It was so nice to have a breeze after the windless compound at Chez Alice that we elected to have a lazy day just sitting in the shade of the palm and fir trees and letting the breeze blow through the tent to dry it out after 3 very sweaty nights at Alice's.  We are trying out our Moroccan tagine tonight, slow cooking a delicious meal on a charcoal fire as the ocean breeze blows off the beach and the firs rustle above our heads. A pretty good life!