Filed Under (General) by Rob on 30-03-2006

Four Days into the course…

and Rob’s enjoying it, but has probably never read as much in such a short time.  Still, he’s learning loads and has met some very interesting people.  Today the group sang an Arabic song and one from the North American plains, complete with percussion.  The course leader is Dr Julie Taylor, who is doing a great job.  This week is theory of ethnomusicology (including history, culture, fieldwork, ethics and ethnologies) and next week is applied ethnomusicology.

Climate/Culture Shock!!!

Yes, after almost two years in Africa, there are quite a few changes for Rob.  He enjoyed visiting WH Smith in Gatwick and using a phone where you can send e-mails (wow – they don’t have those in Cotonou yet).  Then, he got on the Gatwick Express train and said: “Oops, is this a first class carriage?”  In fact, it was not!!!  Other differences he’s noticed include:

  • There seem to be a lot fewer people about – guess that’s ‘cos they’re all in cars!  
  • It’s also strange that most people don’t talk to you (unlike greeting everyone you pass in Cotonou, and asking how their family are!)
  • I wished “Gute Arbeit” to a cleaning lady this morning (which means “Good work”/”Bon travail”) but nobody says that here.  Don’t think she understood the significance!
  • I tried to teach my mates in London the West African ‘finger clicking’ handshake.  I’m afraid they failed terribly! (sorry, guys!)
  • What happened to that big, hot ball of fire in the sky???
  • Not a mosquito in sight – now that’s a pleasant change!
  • Pine trees everywhere – lovely!
  • Cars are all new-looking, but about half the price!!
  • My shoes seem a size too big here, and my feet have blisters (still, not really sandal weather yet, eh?)
  • Toilet seats are COLD!!!
  • The water from the tap is colder than that from our fridge.
  • I haven’t seen an African face since I got to Holzhausen, which I miss.
  • You have to do your own laundry here!
  • Carpets… funny things, eh?
  • And it’s light until 8:00pm, and will remain light longer every night.  Strange.

That’s enough ramblings from me.  Still trying to get some photos uploaded so you can see what it’s like here.  Visit again soon to see if I’ve succeeded!

Benin News…

Lois and the kids enjoyed watching the solar eclipse yesterday from the roof of a friend’s house in Cotonou.  It was not a total eclipse, but pretty impressive nevertheless.

Madelaine’s tooth fell out this week, too, and the tooth fairy came (eventually!!)

The election winner was Dr Yayi Boni, who should be invested (is that the right term?) in a few days’ time.

Thanks to folk who have left comments – it’s always good to hear from you.  If you want to e-mail Rob, just send to the normal address and Lois will forward it (thanks, darling!)

Bye from a cold, wet, but nice Germany!

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