Day 87: Dahomey history lesson

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Mon 31 Jan 2011 05:56
Day 87: Sunday 30 January 2011. Chez Monique, Abomey, Benin. N07 11.869 E001 58.822. Distance driven 0 km
I am not handling the hot and humid tropics very well.  You are always wet and smelly; your clothes are constantly damp and smelly in spite of a complete change every day; bedding and pillows are damp and smelly.  We are constantly having to hand wash clothes each day and, because of the humidity they never really dry so you start the day off with a clean shirt but it is damp to start with. Shirts end up with an irremovable black stain across the collar where the dust accumulates on the dampness of your neck!
Yesterday we spent the day with a tour of the museum and former palaces of the Kingdom of Dahomey.  We were transported around on the back seats of motos, which was initially quite frightening.  The museum was fascinating but I must say that I lost interest after that, being dragged around a series of broken mud ruins in the heat of the day with little shade.  I ended the day dehydrated, very hungry, hot, sweaty and filthy and with a feeling that most of the day had been a waste of time and money, for me that is.  The supposed "highlight" of the trip was to see the "sacred lions" in one of the palaces where their urine and excrement was collected to perform sacred rituals.  The lions were quite pathetic, being contained in a concrete enclosure with hardly sufficient room for them turn around.  They had open sores covered with flies and were quite mangy.  It was totally inhumane and we all felt sorry that we had visited them, especially as our 5,000 CFA admission fee was to be spent on buying live calves for them to feed on.  One got the impression that if there were insufficient tourists, the lions didn't get fed at all. 
We ended the day with a very enjoyable braai with out new Swiss friends, Oliver and Corrine.
During the day we had tried out our new solar panel but the experiment was a total failure as this place is so well shaded that we couldn't find a spot which stayed in the sun all the time we were out.  Consequently, the auxiliary battery is flat again