After camping at a police station last night, I arrived in Cotonou. I'm pleased to report there were no issues with sputter/ hesitation, so it seems that cleaning the fuel system worked.

There are multiple embassies in Cotonou with quick visa processing times. Over two and a half days, I collected visas for Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. An expensive few days, but they're now in my passport.

Whilst in Parakou, I met a Spanish/Catalan guy called Jordi. Jordi was also staying in the same hostel as me in Cotonou. Jordi produces very cool films, which are well worth checking out. It was cool hanging out and we had a good laugh!

Jordi (right) and myself (left) hanging out in Cotonou, Benin.

I also met Gerry Mayr outside the hostel. Gerry had ridden from Germany to Cotonou to test ride a 125cc motorcycle for a Chinese manufacturer. Gerry was now ready to ride home on his quad bike with trailer and paraglider that he'd ridden down to Cotonou previously and was stored here.

Gerry wanted to fly the para glider and asked me to take photos and videos with his DSLR cameras. I jumped at the chance!

We collected Gerry's quad from the storage. I got to ride his motorcycle back to the hotel :)

Gerry Mayr riding his quad trailer out of storage. Cotonou, Benin.

We rode the quad to Ouidah and visited the Door of No Return, which is a memorial to enslaved Africans shipped from Ouidah.

Gerry Mayr's quad and trailer parked in front of Door of No Return. Ouidah, Benin.. Door of No Return. Ouidah, Benin. Door of No Return. Ouidah, Benin. Door of No Return. Ouidah, Benin.

A short ride from Ouidah, we found a lovely spot next to the beach to setup the paraglider.

Gerry Mayr preparing his paraglider for flight. Beach near Ouidah, Benin. Gerry Mayr preparing his paraglider for flight. Beach near Ouidah, Benin. Gerry Mayr preparing his paraglider for flight. Beach near Ouidah, Benin.

Riding back into Ouidah was cool as I noticed statues/figures scattered along the route. There was a small settlement of houses on water.

Route from Ouidah to slave memorial in Benin. Route from Ouidah to slave memorial in Benin. Houses on or at water's edge. Route from Ouidah to slave memorial in Benin. Route from Ouidah to slave memorial in Benin. Route from Ouidah to slave memorial in Benin.

A fun day!

Gerry Mayr (left) and myself (right) on Gerry's quad. Ouidah, Benin.

The next day, we rode East of Cotonou and found another beach for Gerry to fly.

Gerry Mayr flying his paraglider in Benin. Gerry Mayr flying his paraglider in Benin. Gerry Mayr flying his paraglider in Benin.

Riding my motorcycle draws attention because it's different to local motorcycles. Being on a quad draws more attention. But, flying a paraglider draws even more attention! There was soon fifty villagers congregated around us. Then came the unwanted attention. A chauffeur-driven 4x4 pulled up. The guy in the back wound down his window, said he was an official of some sort, and asked to see the authorisation from the government to fly the paraglider. This isn't needed because we're far from airports, only 200 metres high, not fixed wing etc. The official invited more friends to the party... three policemen. The police asked us to follow them to the station, and I had to ride with the police!

We spent three hours at the police station whilst Gerry explained to them why authorisation wasn't needed. They hadn't a clue! We signed statements containing horrendous errors; for example, I was 54 years old! They let us go eventually without issue, but it delayed us considerably for our next appointment.

We rode to an orphanage that Gerry supports. Gerry kindly gave rides to the kids around the orphanage. The atmosphere was electric with kids smiling, dancing, screaming, and squeezing out every bit of energy they had!

Kids at orphanage taking photos and dancing. Benin. Gerry Mayr giving rides to kids at orphanage. Benin. Gerry Mayr giving rides to kids at orphanage. Benin. Kids at orphanage taking photos and dancing. Benin. Kids at orphanage taking photos and dancing. Benin. Kids at orphanage dancing. Benin. Kids at orphanage dancing. Benin. Kids at orphanage with Gerry Mayr. Benin.

Another great day!

Previous Post Next Post