Normally, when we offer an invitation for people to come visit us in PoG, we receive 1 of two different responses: “I really want to buuuuuut…” or “Maybe I will wait until your next location”. These responses are to be expected because, lets face it, Port-Gentil is not exactly a vacation hot spot. However, in June we were fortunate enough to have two wonderful visitors for a whole week… my parents!
I’m pretty sure my parents began planning their visit to PoG before Seth and I had even left the US last July. My mom has wanted to take an African safari for quite some time and us living in West Africa gave them the perfect reason to make it over here. Their trip developed into an incredible tour beginning in Capetown, South Africa, then leading them up to Port-Gentil, and finally ending with a couple of weeks in Tuscany.
Seeing their pictures and hearing about their incredible trip has fully convinced Seth and me (not that it took much work) that Capetown is an absolutely must see while we are here.
After an amazing week in South Africa, my parents made their way to PoG. Prior to their arrival I was pretty sure we could find enough things to do to fill our days and had mapped out a general plan. I couldn’t wait to show them around! As excited as we were, the time of their arrival was a bit concerning as we were having a LOT of water supply issues. My mom kept saying that she wanted to live a day in our life, and I was afraid they might get exactly that… bottle baths and all.
We woke up Saturday and checked out an end-of-the-year school performance that our friends’ daughter was in. Getting to see this was a new experience even for myself as I had never really spent time at a local school. This school is comprised of both expats and Gabonese and is held to the French school system. We grabbed lunch at one of our favorite spots and headed home to get ready for a BBQ at the compound. I have said many times before that the best part of being in Port-Gentil is getting to know people from all over the world, and I couldn’t wait to introduce my parents to so many of the amazing people we have met here! We had a great time and ate some yummy food but unfortunately we forgot to take pictures!
Sunday morning we took my parents to our “Sunday spot”, Cap Lopez.
Monday morning came and we headed to Grande Village, one of the local markets. My parents were considering getting some kind of clothing made from local fabric, so our first stop was to see Uzman, the tailor. We searched for the perfect fabric for my Dad’s new shirt and Mom’s skirt/jacket combo and left the rest to Uzman (They turned out wonderful!). We spent the rest of the day meandering through the market, and eventually made our way down to the port to see the fish market as well.
My friend Nisha graciously offered to teach my parents a little about Indian cuisine, so Tuesday morning we made our way to her house. She treated us to a few Indian appetizers and then taught us how to cook a chicken curry, that was absolutely to die for!
Anyone who knows my parents, knows that any party is not complete without a pizza party! So, Tuesday night my mom broke out some doughs and taught our friends the secret to making a perfect pie.
We spent Wednesday morning at the zoo getting up close and personal with all of the animals.
After a great lunch with friends at Sogora, I brought my mom to Mission Nissi. The kids were so excited to meet my mom and quickly dubbed her “Tanti Bev”. We had fun doing an exercise video, but the REAL fun started when my mom brought out her camera. The kids LOVED taking pictures and seeing themselves, and a mini photo-shoot ensued. You can see from the picture below how loving these kids are. Mission Nissi is such a special place for me and I am so happy my mom was able to experience it.
Our friends Magdi and Antionette invited us for a delicious Egyptian dinner that night. Those who know my mom ALSO know that every party needs a little karaoke; Magdi and Seth were very happy to provide some background music.
Since we have moved to Port-Gentil, I have bragged about how delicious Rosette’s cooking is and Thursday morning my parents got to try it themselves. Rosette gave us some tips for true Gabonese cuisine and created a fantastic lunch of fried plantain, rice, and chicken with veggies.
Thursday night came very quickly and before we knew it my parents’ stay in Port-Gentil had come to an end. And the best part? We had running water the WHOLE time! My parents were on to their next stop… Italy! Luckily for us, we were not too far behind!