i just had a taste of benin right here in the good ole us of a.
last night i took the train down to dc to catch up with some peeps in our nation's capitol. it was a great cast of characters... melissa (friend from benin) and her boyfriend pedro, lily (old roommate), laurel (one of the previously inseparable b'more foursome... till we all left b'more), skye (college buddy), rhett (friend from benin), brian (old work buddy) and various innocent bystanders.
we met up at ghana cafe, which serves up some okay fufu (starchy mush) and a mean peanut sauce, among other things. they also have a good west africa music selection... all on the computer so you can pick your own songs... and i hear it's quite the place to be for live african music on weekends.
while people, food, and conversation were definitely the point of the trip and worth every moment... the kicker came later in the evening.
first off, rhett and i dusted off our salsa shoes (flip-flops in my case) and made our debut on the latino scene. i will say that the salsa here is quite different from africa, and i, for one, was a bit intimidated. but we danced, and i think we held our own. i actually danced with a couple latino men as well, and one of them (a kind old man) told me i danced well, and that he hoped to dance with me again... THEN he turned to rhett and gave him the thumbs up. ooooh, just like old times. why do peeps always assume two whities in a salsa club must be together?
next, we flagged a cab. and as soon as we started moving, the cab driver began to speak on the phone in what sounded like a familiar african language. i smiled at rhett as he asked, "is that yoruba or igbo?" "yoruba!" said the cabby. an excited conversation ensued about benin and nigeria. the cabby then asked, "are you two married?" he didn't seem to understand when rhett laughed and said, "no... but we would be if i loved Jesus." he gave us his congratulations, though neither of us is sure why.
so, yeah. good friends, starchy mush, salsa and yoruba all in one night. benin's not so far away.