It has been a while since the Czar has taken you on a whirlwind tour of a place he’s never been and, frankly, has zero intention of ever visiting. Today’s stop is Benin, featured because the Czar has never taken you to Africa on one of these spotlight tours, and because it sort of popped up on the world map we glanced at.
Benin is a smallish country on the underside of Africa, where it grips tenaciously to the continent lest it fall into the Atlantic Ocean. Actually, it’s the Gulf of Guinea, which we also had to look up because frankly that’s a perfect body of water to have a name. Benin is tall and thin, and we don’t really know much about it except what we just Googled:
The name of the Country in West Africa. Benin, a French-speaking West African nation, is a birthplace of the vodun (or “voodoo”) religion and home to the former Dahomey Kingdom from circa 1600–1900. In Abomey, Dahomey’s former capital, the Historical Museum occupies two royal palaces with bas-reliefs recounting the kingdom’s past and a throne mounted on human skulls. To the north, Pendjari National Park offers safaris with elephants, hippos and lions.
Doesn’t that sound like fun? Benin is the birthplace of voodoo, has a throne made of human skulls, and you can see an elephant there.
Evidently, this is pretty much all there is to Benin, so that Czar is going to have to make up a lot.
Benin, like all African countries, has really bad food. The Czar is aware that the cultures of, say, Morocco, Kenya, and South Africa are as astonishingly different from each other as Japan, France, and Brazil, but those three countries aren’t in Africa, which has uniformly bad food. Look, the Czar has grilled food from France, Thailand, and even Argentinia—he’s never once grilled a goddamned thing from Africa. And we’ve made a lot of unusual stuff, too, including smoked lemons, duck, and blueberry freaking pie, but never once have we made elephant, hippo, or lion on the Weber. Ask yourself why.
The wildlife in Benin is really interesting, which we researched by looking at a two-year-old neighbor’s plastic animal safari playset. According to this playset, Benin wildlife must surely consist of elephants, hippos, and lions, as well as zebras, a tyrranosaurus rex, and part of a Lego minifigure.
The Benin flag is one of the easiest flags to draw: it’s a rectangle, divided into two smaller rectangles: a green one, and a second rectangle itself divided into two rectangles: yellow and red. That’s it. No Nike swooshes or other branding: just a flag that makes it really easy for Benini kids to draw in school, assuming they have schools there and the child mortality index is less than 100%.
The Czar googled pictures of Benin, which mostly show maps of Benin. Actually, it’s a fairly dong-shaped country, now that we look at these pictures. Non-penile pictures of Benin show that people wear grass skirts, live in penis-shaped houses made of grass skirts, and clearly spend a lot of their day making thinkg out of grass and penises. The Czar doesn’t want to go.
Oh, yes, we should add that people in Benin speak French, which is another good reason to avoid going. The Czar assumes it’s real French they speak, and not that fake-French they speak in Quebec (which is really English) or Paris (which used to be French, but they eliminated all the diacritical marks, making it really had to know how to pronounce all those fake-French words like huicend (“weekend”).) We were talking about something here, but we’ve totally lost track of what it was.
Benin seems to have a lot of sand and green hills, as well, and looks like it would be a really beautiful country if the population there didn’t speak French and fixate on male genitalia all day. Anyway, the landscape is lush and varied, the beaches incredible, and the people very charming, which you’ll never know because you’re never going. It’s in Africa. What will you eat? We’ve already told you the food is bad, and probably consists of grass and penises, like everything else.
The Czar evidently needs a vacation, but you can bet it won’t be in Benin.
Visit other places the Czar has explored!, which the Czar just used to discover he’s already visited Zimbabwe, which it turns out it still largely in Africa, as is Burkina Faso.