Benin

Note the yellow shirt … this is what the motorcycle taxi drivers wear here

Country Background: The capital of Benin is Porto Novo. There are approximately 11 million people living in this beautiful coastal country. The official language of Benin is French, but Fon and Yoruba are widely spoken in the South and other languages such as Bariba and Fulfulde are widely spoken in the North. Beninese practice both Islam and Roman Catholicism. The time zone is 5 hours ahead of EST. Major exports of the country include cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, and seafood.

Benin was once a powerful kingdom, and has many temples and abandoned palaces. When visiting, visitors cannot miss out on the port city of Cotonou! Contonou in Fon means “The mouth of the river of death”. Two place of interest here are the Notre Dame des Apotres, a cathedral with beautiful striped tile architecture. The Benin Artisanal Center is another place of interest with its distinct Beninese art galleries.

Jim’s Perspectives:  In 2017, really enjoyed my time at this lovely little country wedged between Togo and Nigeria! Overnighted in the Azalea Hotel, which is the only nice beachfront property.

Highlight of my time in Benin was seeing some of the cool things in the spiritual capital, Ouidah.

Top things to do while in Benin:

  • Visit the enchanted forest
  • Visit the python sanctuary
They worship all kinds of things here in Benin!
At the Python Sanctuary!

Guatemala

Ruins in Tikal! Jim's Perspectives: Tikal, about 50 miles northwest of the border with Belize, is located deep in Guatemala’s rainforest, was created in 1966 and was the first protected area in Guatemala. At its peak some 1,500 years ago, Tikal was home to an...

Comoros

Beautiful Sunsets in Comoros! Jim's Perspectives: In the 12th-century the Arabs came to Comoros and brought Islam with them. They also brought their leadership structure, instilling sultans around the country. Until the French arrived in the 17th century, seven...

Vatican City

At the Vatican with the family, 2017. Jim's Perspectives: Traveling with the family has been the biggest highlight! After 100s of solo journeys around the world it was fun to play tour guide in Germany, Switzerland and Italy and Vatican City. Took sightseeing tours of...