I stood on this beach for the first time when I was 14. Some of my fondest memories of that trip are from our time at Grand Popo. It was one of those places that overlanders used as a break from the road. These days it seems to be have been a little forgotten. By these days I mean when we were last there in 2008. Perhaps the travellers stops have moved further along the coast to Big Millys in Ghana, that had a similar sort of vibe to the one I remember from Grand Popo. Everyone having a good time, telling tales of their adventures on the road, sharing food, drinking singing and laughing together and forgetting about the rest of the world.
It was also a very different time when I was 14, the internet didn’t exist when I was 14, no one had a GPS, most people hadn’t heard of a Laptop. Photos were taken on film. You couldn’t get info on roads from websites, it was all word of mouth, we had heard rumours that the border to Zaire had closed. So we had to come up with an alternate plan, by we I mean my step dad and the 2 british couples we were travelling with at the time. Suddenly out of the blue some locals showed up and offered to buy the cars, after a whole day of discussing and haggling and talking it ended up being a con, and they stole our video camera. Later that night there was an incident involving the local restaurant owner and one of our brits complaining about the size of a pig we bought being no bigger than a chicken. I have many other stories from our week or two on that beach. When we returned It felt like it had been hit by some kind of plaque, there weren’t any woman selling eggs and bread on the beach in the morning.
No matter how many times I return to a place, it’s always different, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. At least I will have those first memories of Grand Popo. Going through and sharing these photos from our trip has stirred up many memories.
Reflecting on what you have done in the past sometimes help in providing perspective on what’s next.