Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nous avons relâché!

(Translation: "We relaxed!")
If you ever find yourself in Libreville, Gabon and wanna have a relaxing day or two, follow these simple instructions:

Step #1: For a good time (on a boat across to Pointe Denis) call: Make your reservations for the 15 minute boat ride to Pointe Denis. It leaves from the "Michele Marina" ("Port Michele") every morning 'round about 9:30am. It'll cost you 10,000 Fcfa per person, round trip ($20). You'll wanna make sure that you tell them the day you will depart, and the day you want to come back.

Step #2: Sit back, relax and watch all your cares slip away as you cross the estuary from Libreville to Pointe Denis. More info on this boat- like I said, it departs LBV at 9:30am, and then departs Pointe Denis at 5pm. You can do a day trip or stay for multiple nights. Keep your ticket stub- they'll want to see it for the return trip.

Step #3: Watch all the filthy rich people get off at the first, second, and third stops, and then get off the boat ("navette"- shuttle) at "The Maringa" ("Olando N'tchuwa") hotel/restaurant. Grab your bags and try and be the first to get the good lounge chairs near the beach. Your room will probably not be ready, so don't worry about checking in 'til later- "hakuna matata"... no worries... kick yer feet back and chillax.

Step #4: Keep relaxing! As you can see, (from fore to aft) Sam and Joe choose to play games and listen to tunes on their iPods, while Lisa and Alace caught up on life. Oh yeah... you'll wanna call "Monsieur Robert" (pronounced "Miss-yer Row-Bear") to make your reservation at the Maringa in advance;

More info on "The Maringa": You check in by going upstairs in the restaurant and tell them you've arrived. If the rooms aren't ready, you chill at the beach and they'll come get you and show you to your room. It's 40,000 Fcfa per room- you get a bed for two with a bunk bed above for one more (two if you have small kids). There's air conditioning and a tv that has no reception in each room. There's also a can of mosquito spray- you'll need that. There were so many mosquitoes in the room that we nearly sprayed the whole can into all the corners of the room and then left for our turtle walk.

More on the turtle walk: Before 5pm (17h00), you should walk from the hotel to the turtle museum. It is about a 3 minute walk, to the west from The Maringa. It has some good educational displays as well as a life-sized turtle statue. If you are there in December or January and staying the night, I would suggest a "turtle walk" with one of the guides. This is done in the middle of the night (between 10pm and midnight) along the far beach. It really is amazing to see turtles crawl up the beach, lay their eggs, and return to the ocean. READ our story about the event. So, at the museum, tell them you'd like a guide. They'll tell you where and when to meet. Be ready to give up to 5000 Fcfa to the guide for each person.

Oh yeah... meals... Unless you have a bunch of disposable income (not us!), then I suggest that you bring a cooler with drinks and food for your lunches. If you are only at the Maringa for the day, you are obligated to have your lunch there. If you are spending the night, I suggest having your dinner there, at least. Lunch will run you about 8000 Fcfa each ($16) and dinners will run you about 11,000 Fcfa each ($22).

One night was all we could afford, but it was a great 2 days and a night! We definitely relaxed!

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