"Cabana Boy's Port Gentil Page" Port-Gentil by Cabana_Boy

Port-Gentil Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 7 photos

As I walked down the stairs from the retrofitted Inter Air B737 cargo plane that Air Gabon uses to shuttle souls from Libreville to Port Gentil; a full, red moon was slowly rising above the shabby air traffic control tower near the edge of the runway. Chuckling to myself, I thought, “Ummm, that’s got to be some sort of a sign.” Perhaps something good might happen to me in Port Gentil this weekend; but then again, maybe it’ll be something bad!!! As the thought of something bad faded in the back of my mind, memories and images of my childhood growing up in the middle of all the cornfields in central Indiana came back to me.

A full, red moon rising low on the horizon in early October was always conjured up scary images in my imagination during my adolescent years in Indiana, especially with Halloween right around the corner. The harvest moon they’d call it. Upon seeing that eerie red globe in the sky a young boy could easily imagine seeing images of ghosts walking through the fields, accounting for every “cracking” sound a breaking corn stalk might make in the cool night air. Disfigured, face-less scarecrows stuffed with dry straw would come to life wielding pitchforks and the potential to kill when you’re not looking. And then there were the engines of tractors and combines that would roar to life all by themselves to power the big hulking machines, which seemed poised to chase me and my cousins out of the fields in an instant. Throughout the summer, the cornfields were our sacred playgrounds, but during the fall harvest they belonged to ghosts and goblins. And it always seemed to me that one of my Uncles would park the oldest, scariest looking gray combine right behind our house as dusk set in and the red, harvest moon broke above the trees beyond Grandma and Grandpa’s farm house. The massive machine would sit there in the still, moist night air as if threatening me to stay out of the cornfields and when I would wake up the next morning the combine seemed to be gone without a trace. “Yeah,” I thought again, “something bad, or at least something strange, is going to happen here in Port Gentil….after all, this is West Africa, ground zero for supernatural spirits and the unexplained.”

I was quickly reminded that people see signs in all sorts of things, be it nature or coffee grounds spat into a cup by the village witch. And for most people the signs they think they see get caught up in their fears. For example, a sailor would have took one look at the full, red moon and quickly gone with the bad omen saying, “tis a sign of bad weather, it’ll be blowin’ a gale in thar-ty minutes, the seas’ll be tossin’ ya to the gun’ales and you’ll be cryin’ fur yur mum ‘fore mornin’ if my name ain’t Cap’n Whitney.” And, in fact, when I met up with a Chief Engineer less than an hour later, that’s pretty much what he had to say about the color and shape of the moon now tracking higher in the sky over Cape Lopez…and sure enough, about thirty minutes after that I noticed a little chop in the surf was starting to kick up as we sat at a bush-bar hauled right up next to the waterfront, called Mama’s beach…

“It was going to be another one of those business trips I love to hate”, I thought. My first time in a new, exotic location and I barely have the time to get my work done let alone go off exploring. I had heard many goods things about Port Gentil from Ted back in Douala. “Oh, aye, nice at-is, you’ll luv it…gute res-rants, nice ba-ahs, lovely beeches and the weather’s always nice, much bet-tah un here……f_ _ _ in’ Douala!!!” So, with that resounding review of this West Africa port town and island hovering on the edge of Gabon’s oil patch at Cape Lopez, I was off to finish my work as quickly as possible and seek the fun times Ted spoke so highly of in his Scottish brogue. But back at Mama’s beach, the wind was starting to gust fairly strong and all the Nightfighters were heading inside to the relative safety of the clapboard bush bar or perhaps in search of easier prey.

Roman and I finished our Castel beers and it started to rain…

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  • In a nutshell:Rain....lots of rain...
  • Last visit to Port-Gentil: Feb 2005
  • Intro Updated Sep 30, 2007
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Cabana_Boy

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