Upon entering into Cotonou, we had lunch with friends (I tried ordering in French and failed miserably). I was so hungry I cleared my plates before taking in the lovely and cool ambience of the restaurant. Once our bodies were sated and reenergized, we explored the city some more.
The buildings in Cotonou are very modern, contemporary and artistic. Quite different from Porto Novo, which has a more conserved, historical and cultural vibe. Not only that, Cotonou is also undergoing major construction at the moment. While driving around the city, we noticed that there were many building constructions well under way. Needless to say, in the next few years, Cotonou will look even more grand and appealing than it does now.
|The Parliament Building|
And then there are sculptures! There's something about sculptures that defines a city artistically. Three-dimensional visual art is something almost everyone appreciates even when you are not thinking about it. Cotonou is bursting with sculptures, I could barely take pictures of all of them. In the heart of Cotonou, there is the centre de promotion de l'artisanat. A center filled with everything art, from drawings, to wood-carving, to painting and sculpting. The art of Cotonou is not old, like gothic art or traditional romantic art, it is modern, new with an african vibe. It is fascinating!
|Place de l'Etoile Rouge|
A quick thinker will obviously notice the divergence between the cities of Porto Novo (see this post) and Cotonou. I cannot tell if these differences stem from political conflicts, cultural differences or something else. What is apparent is that there is a disparity in economic and financial status. Been so close together geographically only makes it even more glaring. And although I wanted to think about this a bit more, I resigned myself to simply making my observations without providing myself substantial evidences. Something simple I can draw from comparing both cities are: Porto Novo is rich in culture, is more conserved and traditional while Cotonou has a city vibe, with more hustling and bustling, and is the commercial and governmental center of the country.
Regardless of my theories, I took so many pictures in both cities that my camera battery went dead. (>..<)!
I enjoyed the time I spent both in Porto Novo and in Cotonou.