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!
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 :)
A short ride from Ouidah, we found a lovely spot next to the beach to setup the paraglider.
Riding back into Ouidah was cool as I noticed statues/figures scattered along the route. There was a small settlement of houses on water.
A fun day!
The next day, we rode East of Cotonou and found another beach for Gerry to fly.
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!
Another great day!
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