Owning your city: Jay

Friday, July 6, 2012

This is Jay, she's a traveler of note. Check out her story.


Hello SFL readers!  I'm Jay and I blog over at From There To Here.  Two years ago, my husband and I left our comfortable life in Canada for a crazy life abroad and we haven't looked back since.  Our first expatriation took us to Gabon in West Africa.  Don't worry if you haven't heard of it before, I hadn't either before we found out we were moving there!  (Although you might remember that Survivor once filmed a season there.)

Gabon is located right on the equator on the West coast of Africa and while the country is fairly big, the population is just over 1 million.  Much of the country is covered in rainforests and the government has set aside 13 national parks in order to protect the environment and the elephants, lowland gorillas, hippos and other wildlife.  Unfortunately, not many people get to visit this country as it's one of the most expensive places in the world to live (crazy, I know but I've paid $25 for a head of mediocre broccoli!)  

In any case, I'm going to tell you about the little city I called home for 2 years; Port Gentil.  Port Gentil is the second largest city in the country and the oil capital which brings a huge number of expats to Gabon.  The city is considered to be on an island as no roadways connect it to the mainland and while there aren't Starbucks, movie theatres, or really anything recognizable from home, we did have a few favorite hangouts.

The absolute best part of Gabon and Port Gentil has got to be the beaches.  My favorite place to spend a Sunday would have to be Sogara Beach which is in the bay making the water calm and clear blue.  Many people head to the club at the far end of the beach where there's a restaurant but Joe and I prefer the less-visited areas where we can relax with a cooler of drinks all on our own.

The other main beach destination is Cape Lopez which is just outside of town.  The beach is completely undeveloped with sand and sea for miles and miles.  You can take your 4x4 off the main road to find your own patch of beach without a soul around or you can park down by the old lighthouse (apparently built by Eiffel himself) and watch the surfers or take a walk further down the beach keeping your eyes open for dolphins or migrating whales.  

Every Thursday my friends and I would go to the restaurant Lido, which is perched on top of stilts over the sea, for Thirsty Thursday cocktails.  They have a great little covered patio and make a strong drink.  It's the perfect place to unwind from the day, watch the fish jumping in the harbour and catch up with friends.

Last, but certainly not least, is my pool.  While only a select few people actually visit it, it's one of my favourite places in all of Port Gentil.  We would often bring our stereo out, books and beers and spend the afternoon rotating in and out of the patio furniture and pool.

For almost all of you, Port Gentil probably won't be on your travel list but I'm so happy to share some of my favourite places while living there --- especially now that we've moved to Norway.  Once I get to know Stavanger a bit better, perhaps I'll be back sharing the places to be there!

To follow along on my adventures overseas you can check out my blog here and if you're curious about life in Gabon, you can read up here.


Thanks for showing us a bit more about Africa, Jay!


The Pink Growl said...

Wow - What an awesome place to live!!! How cool!

Jay said...

Happy to contribute :) Thank you for asking!

Ramona said...

wow! incredible, so amazing. love all photo story.

xoxo Ra

Cinnamon Spring said...

It looks like a great place to visit, perhaps one day I will be able to! xx


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