Saturday, August 30, 2008

Au Revoir Gabon!

These are some family pics taken the night we were leaving. Some of them are at the house and some of them are at the airport.

Monday August 25, 2008

Today was our last full day in Libreville and we tried to see and do as much as we could. We got up this morning and went to the memorial for the first president of Gabon, Leon Mba. They've built this really beautiful compound that has a big museum type building with the entire history of Mba's life as well as timelines of Gabon's trek to independence. There's also a mosoleum where Mba is buried and really beautiful gardens outside. What I found most interesting is the location of the memorial. The city chose to build on top of an old European cemetery, which by most standards would be considered really disrespectful. But in this case, the cemetery was built in the location of Mba's family village prior to the arrival of the European colonists. Afterwards we went to the artisan village to buy some souvenirs for ourselves and friends. Landry and I really wanted to buy these crescent shaped wooden carvings of a man and woman's face, but the guy at the artisan place was trying to sell them to us for 20,000 CFA. That's equivalent to almost $50! I managed to talk him down to 9,500 CFA, which was a totally reasonable price for a local to pay, forget a white tourist! He kept telling Landry how hard I was and where had I learned to bargain like that from. Thank you Benin!! We then went on a drive to the next city over just to get a bit more of a view of the landscape. We stopped at the train station there to see where you could take the train to so we would know for future trips. There are some pics here of our drive home to Landry's mom's house. I wanted to show what the landscape looks like and also the crazy traffic that never seems to stop unless you're out at 3am.

Pointe Denis

On the Sunday before we were leaving Gabon, Landry, Mignon and I took a boat over to an island right off the coast of Libreville. We got off at a place called Pointe Denis. It's really a very secluded island, just beaches, hotels, and a small village. There are no stores or shops, at least none that we were able to find. That turned out to be unfortunate because we didn't pack a lunch and the hotels on the island charged an arm and a leg for lunch, so we went the whole day without eating! But it was okay. The boat ride was really fun and, as you can see from the pics, the beach was really pretty. Landry and I went for a walk along the beach and discovered this little shack that housed all of this information on the different kinds of sea turtles that lay their eggs on the shores of the island. It was a lot of really interesting information. Did you know that the sex of turtle babies is determined based on the temperature of the nest that holds the eggs? If it's above 32 degrees C then the babies are female. If it's below 28 degrees C then the babies are male. And if the temperature is in between then its usually a mixed nest. Anyway, it was a really beautiful day and I have the sunburn to prove it!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday August 22, 2008

These first few pictures are just some random scenic pictures that I've taken around Libreville, as well as a crazy picture of myself the night I took my braids out that I just thought was too funny not to share. Today we took Landry's cousin Afi and her two kids out to a bird sanctuary. It was actually a really interesting place. From the outside it looks like a bar and in fact there is a bar located behind the bird sanctuary called Birdy's Bar. When you walk in there's all kinds of exotic looking birds and then some more common ones, you all may recognize ducks in one of the pictures. They also have an indoor part with fish and two stores, one with aquarium and bird supplies and the other is more of a home decorations boutique. Behind the store buildings is a playground and picnic area for birthday parties, an outdoor deck next to a swimming pool with a waterfall for the bar, and behind all that is a beautiful secluded area for wedding receptions and fancier parties. Talk about a one stop shop!! On the way home from the bird sanctuary we stopped at the beach for a little bit and there are some pictures of that as well.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Random Pics

We've been out to the clubs a couple of times here in Libreville and here are some of those pictures. There's one of me with Landry's little brother Mignon and one of Landry and I together. There's also one of me eating the BEST hamburger I've ever had in my entire life. Funny to come all the way to Africa to find the best hamburger of all foods, but I swear it's amazing. These guys have this little truck set up on the street where all the bars and clubs are and they serve these hamburgers on toasted buns with ketchup, mayonaise, and lettuce. For anyone who knows me I don't even eat my hamburgers like that at home, but based on this experience I'm about to start trying! We also took Landry's little cousins out for ice cream one night and there's a picture of him with them at the ice cream spot. We also took a picture of Herwan straight ballin' and he's only 3!! There's also a picture of Landry's neice Maelys, who is soooo cute, a pic of me with Landry's friend Ingrid who I first met at the airport in Paris, and one of Landry's parents eating dinner one night. Also, we got those pictures downloaded off of Landry's phone, so I've added the picture of us with the prime minister to that post if you want to check that out as well.

Fete de l'independance

These pictures are from the Independence Day celebration in Libreville. This wasn't the big celebration becuase each year they hold the big parade in a different part of the country, so the president and prime minister and foreign diplomats weren't at the event that we were at, but what we got to see was still pretty cool. Landry's dad works for the government, so he got us invitations so that we could sit in the stadium seats under cover instead of standing on the side of the street, which was really nice because it turned out to be a REALLY hot day. There is a lot more military involved in parades over here, but as you can see from the pictures it seems parades all over the world include fire trucks! There's also a picture of a small group of people holding a banner for the Beninoise community in Gabon, so you know I had to take a picture. There's also a picture of me in front of the slavery memorial on the beach in Libreville. Similar in idea to the monuments in Ouidah, Benin, but on a much smaller scale tourism wise.

Pictures of the Beach

Hey there everyone! Sorry its been so long since my last post. We've had a busy couple of days and this past weekend was Independence Day here, so most spots were closed including the cyber cafe. On Saturday Landry and I went to Cape Esterias, this really pretty spot on the beach. It took us a while to get there and the roads were in such bad shape we didn't move beyond second gear for most of the ride, but it was definitely worth it as you can see from the pictures.