Saturday, August 30, 2008

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.

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