Over breakfast of fresh coffee and baguette, we still laugh about the worms dropping from the ceiling last night – a new experience for both of us. We decide not to complain to the staff. What would they do anyway? Besides, the worms provide us a good story.
Back onto scooters, and headed for the only ATM in town. The machine will not accept my card, so Apollo is building a rather large tab for us. From scooter, to a three-hour taxi ride, to another scooter, finally we wobble into a dug-out canoe, rowing towards the stilted-house village of Ganvie’. This village of 30,000 people sits on the shallow, murky water of Lake Nokove’. The villagers plant plots of rotted tree limbs into the salty water, and one year later, the plots draw the revered Tilapia fish. I guess that fish farming is not a new concept.
Our room perches one story above several others, on stilts. We open the shutters and see people living around us. The Hotel Carrefour Chez M Ganvie’ sits smack in the village center. We sit on the water level area, drinking beers of course, and watch the villagers paddle to the fresh water station, where lines of canoes form, waiting to fill containers with drinkable water.
Groups of tourists stop here to drink, eat, and take photos. We notice that all the children, in the tourist attraction areas, replace their friendly waves with an open hand, asking for money. Eventually, we order chicken, as it is the only food available. Two hours later, we get probably the scrawniest piece of chicken I’ve ever seen. By this time, we are sick of beer, but the French fries taste wonderful. Watching the floating market, canoes full of goods, and people paddling past us as busy as scooters on the streets, provides mellow entertainment for the evening. How nice to have some relaxing, down time.
Unless you have a generator, which most people in this village do not, there is no electricity. We see small fires inside of the stilted, palm thatched huts, and figure that folks must have mastered the art of keeping the fire from burning down the place. The generator at our dwelling goes out, and we sleep under a mosquito net, while our second story room sways and the wood creaks with the wind. The occasional cry of a baby, some tribal language discussions, and beating of drums in the distance flow through our open shutters and lure us into a sound slumber.