Christmas and New Year’s were all about great food and good company. On Christmas Day, Bertrand’s family hosted a very un-Beninese potluck. Every family brought a dish, and we all chowed down on delicious traditional food.
I made a salad.
Our post-Christmas brunch was delicious, although I didn’t cook everything I’d planned.
I’m a good enough cook now that I can eye most recipes and know whether they’ll turn out well or not. A few of the dishes I’d chosen would require too much modification to work with the ingredients I had on hand, and one looked a bit too complicated to test-run for company. Everything I actually cooked turned out well, and I had plenty of leftovers to give the neighbors.
After brunch, we headed out to the Beer Garden to celebrate a colleague’s birthday. It’s a ridiculously expensive outdoor restaurant, and the service is atrocious, but the food is excellent. There are a lot of restaurants in Cotonou where you can eat on the beach, but very few that you can safely visit after dark. Watching the Christmas lights twinkle against the palm trees and the surf was well worth the premium.
On New Year’s Eve, we taxied out to Ouidah to meet some Couchsufers and go to a concert. It took us so long to get out of Cotonou that we missed the Polyrythmo concert! Oh no! We did get to see some kids dressed up for Kalaita, though. At the end of the year, Beninese kids wear masks and run around their neighborhoods singing and dancing for small change. It’s a really fun tradition, and I’m glad we got to see these amazing costumes in Ouidah!
New Year’s day was another potluck, this time at Bertrand’s sister’s. Yes, I made another salad. It’s hard to mess up vegetables and I could guarantee that there’d be at least one vegetable dish at the party.