LOME TOGO WEDNESDAY MARCH 12TH
Here for 13 hours, docking at 7.00, and not sailing until 20.00, Silversea offered two shore trips, neither of which we decided to do. One of the ship's tours was to a voodoo village which included a Zangbeto dance performance which I had initially wanted to see. A cross between a Zulu dance and a whirling dervish, and very African, it is very rhythmic. We were therefore very pleased to be greeted on docking in the above container port, by a group of these people, playing instruments and dancing. Fascinating to see were two stilt men. They must have been at least 8ft off the ground, and to adjust the stilts around their legs, they sat on the stacked containers lined up on the quayside! These two guys twisted on their stilts, gyrating and appearing to be about to fall. They were performing for about an hour, in tremendous heat, and one wonders why the women were still so large!
Getting the complimentary shuttle bus into town, we were dropped off at the Superamco Supermarket in the city centre. This is, as its name suggested is a retail outlet, for the locals and sold mainly food, cosmetics, alcohol and some small electrical goods, so of no interest to us, other than looking at the sort of goods on offer and the prices. For the first time this trip, we encountered Magnum ice creams with a flavour not hitherto seen. Maybe a new variety for sale for the summer of 2014 in Western Europe!?
Leaving this supermarket, we walked down towards the ocean, and the road on which we had come into town. Wide and straight running alongside the ocean, with a central reservation, also built by the Chinese, for all the world like an upmarket Californian beachfront, one end goes to Benin and the other to Ghana. Alongside this road, there are a few hotels, and we went into a very good looking hotel on the corner of the road on which we had left the supermarket. Unlike in Luanda, the business centre, not only took foreign currency, but allowed us an hour of internet time for $5. The unfortunate circumstance, being French, the keyboard was completely different, and combined with a not very fast connection was a bit of a nightmare. However we did manage to get one of the documents we had not previously been able to open and printed at a cost of a $1 per page, so the whole episode had cost us $17! Before returning to the ship, we retraced our steps up the road to the supermarket and the market stalls on both sides of the road. We bought a few postcards, and wandered into the small simple cathedral where a service was in progress. The music and singing appeared to be hymnal but with a heavy African beat which was very infectious. We stayed to listen for a few minutes and then we wandered down another few streets with lively vendors selling everything from gold watches to smoked fish, and thence back to the ship via the shuttle bus.