Gabon

January 1, 2016

I can blame the airlines for a short visit of less than two full days to Libreville, Gabon. And what else can I say?
  • Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville were carved out of the southern tip of the vast French colonial empire in West and Central Africa.
  • Independent Gabon has not been much more successful than other former sub-Sahara colonies rife with corruption and clientelism.
  • It does get oil revenue much of which enriches the Bongo family.
  • Katherine, my guide, was a stunning and smart young woman. She did not wear a guide badge and a few people looked back and forth at us with undisguised suspicion or disapproval.

With Katherine at L'Eglise St-Michel, an unusual Catholic church because its adornments were mainly African, not European. Its columns were carved by a blind Gabonese.
The market might have been more bustling without the intermittent rain.
I liked that so many of the government buildings were "outside the box," outside of the literal, boring, rectangular, architectural box.
My favorite creative building was the Ministry of Water and Forestry shown below.

Following my fairly intensive weeks in these five African countries, I'm returning now to long-ago visited Sri Lanka for a more leisurely, less planned week of R&R without an alarm clock.

Of these five countries...
• my favorite all around was Algeria;
Equatorial Guinea the most surprising;
• packed Nigeria/Lagos most daunting.