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Shazza's Escapades Light hearted look at my travel escapades

Voodoo for Xmas

TOGO | Monday, 31 December 2007 | Views [2716]

We travelled overland from Ghana, Togo and Benin with the odd bush camping here and there. There were only 7 including me in the group plus the owner of the tour company, an official local guide and 2 trainee guides plus 2 drivers and a cook. This trip was certainly eventful, there were good times, bad times and a lot of smelly times. I’m talking about one of the other people in the group. She’s American and she very flatulent. Fortunately I didn’t have a clue until day 2. Even though were such a small group we still split into 2 minibuses. I shared the minibus with a Uni Lecturer and a Barrister who were both very lovely and funny. They came and sat with me thinking I would be a shy, quite individual, little did they know. The American was on the other bus and by day 2 and after hearing about the constant flatulence going on in the other minibus us 3 decided not to swap and change anytime soon. Even the air condition didn’t help, most times we saw the other 3 with heads out of the window gasping for air. She had some kind of condition that made her fart all the time but there is no excuse for bad manners. If you know you’re going to let rip especially when eating with others you do the right thing and excuse yourself. You don’t let rip and watch people catch their breaths and then say sorry in an annoying American accent. I just avoided her and tried never to sit near her at anytime. She was gross!

Throughout the 2 weeks we visited many villages and tribes. We witnessed voodoo ceremonies where ladies got into trances, mask dances in the day and night (quite scary) and animal sacrifice to ward of evil spirits. It was only a chicken but still gross. The second time a chicken was sacrificed it was for our dinner while at one of our bush camps. It’s the noise that creeps you out the most. I stuck to the veggies that night.

The owner of the tour company based in Togo joined us on our trip. His name was Alberto.  He was this brash, bold, very enthusiastic,  bald, very un-pc, dirty old man who happened to be one of the best guides I have ever had. He was sexist, ageist, homophobic and even racist in his views but I kind of got him. A very funny guy who did an amazing job except for the accident we had new years eve afternoon.

We had a fantastic walk in the nearest hillside and met with more tribes. Some of the tribesmen wore nothing…stark naked. Some of them had never seen a foreigner before ever! Then on our way back to one of the local places we stopped at for lunch, Alberto decided to drive to show our driver how to do it. We were seconds away from parking the van at our lunch stop when a motorbike smashed into the side of our van. I saw the bike coming at us and it was going fast. There was three of us in the back and we just ducked, heard the smash and glass flew everywhere. Within seconds the quiet road was filled with locals screaming. I’m not sure if we were told to stay in the van or because of shock and feeling frightened we just stayed put. But from the back window I saw the 2 guys lying on the road not moving. They didn’t have helmets on and their heads were covered in blood. The road was covered in blood. One of the guys legs were just ripped to shreds as you could not see his black skin but only the white flesh underneath. Our second van was right behind us and they actually saw the bike smash into us. Our guides were really good and called whomever they needed to and a car turned up to take the injured guys to the nearest hospital and 2 of our guides followed them. The worst part was the waiting. Once the initial shock was over we had to wait at the café until the investigation was over. The police came and took photos and statements. Alberto, our driver, one of the guides and a fellow passenger had to take a trip to the judges house or court to make a formal statement. We were all kind of shell shocked I think. Some people talking out of line about what had happened and some people just wanted to just forget and not talk about it. We had a bit of both, some voices were raised. After a few hours we carried on with our trip in the same van with the back windows broken. We found out that one of the guys was in a coma for two days but pulled through and their both now doing fine. Apparently the family were more concerned with the state of their bike.

Apart from that one glitch it was a truly memorable holiday especially for taking photos.  

Tags: culture

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