Benin Travel Stories, Page 15

BENCHMARK Andy in Abomey Benin

BENCHMARK Andy in Abomey Benin
I just arrived in Abomey after Pobe and Cove Benin. Many internet problems. Great hotels in Pobe and Cove so life was good.
BENCHMARK Andy in Abomey Benin


Andy of
Daily Diary or Travel Journal

BENCHMARK Travel to Porto Novo

BENCHMARK Travel to Porto Novo
This is a marker explaining, I am in Cotonou, Benin, however today I travel to Porto Novo, Benin. I am changing locations.
The blog post are a little disrupted because of slow internet here in West Africa.
BENCHMARK Travel to Porto Novo


Andy of
Daily Diary or Travel Journal

High Speed French Learning

High Speed French Learning
Cotonou Benin
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I am on the fast track of learning French; I am entering the conversation level. I am very happy; I have successfully avoided the extreme drudgery of learning French, which I was anticipating. I can speak very good Spanish, I know how hard it was to learn Spanish for me, and how it took many years of work. I did not want to repeat the many years of learning a language experience again.

I learn languages to communicate, to understand, so I can explore my curious bent, my curious travel odyssey. If I cannot ask questions, I am limited to conjecture and assumptions, not a good source of information and fully of bad interpretations. Talking is not much better as the world will tell you want you want to hear. However, I can ask many misleading questions, which lead me to the answer they was not trying to give, or hiding often. Cultures hide their dirty laundry, I do not see it as dirty, but if not new, not modern, not trendy, or just normal, they will hide it, except for food, they can push that down your throat. Moreover, most food changes every 50 years, not all is typical in reality.

Why am I on the fast track of learning French?

I accidentally, or because I am lazy about languages, not really in comparison to other people, but in comparison to other project of myself, I am lazy.

Because I did not go to France to study, as I first planned, I am in a 10 times better location to learn for me. The naturals, the ones that not have to study to learn a language should go to France. I however, need 100 percent immersion, and even in West Africa, I do not have 100 percent immersion, many people study English here, and try to talk or stop me from speaking in French, in reality they want to practice their very bad English, and one person exceptionally good. I have not found many good English speakers.

1. IMMERSION, no value in speaking English, the mind figures this out and does not seek works to use in English. I then think or grope for French words. No brain translations going on.

2. PRACTICE.. This is what I think I would never have accomplished in France. To find people that love to talk with Americans is difficult, I am not going to talk to Rasta Idiots, or sit in bars drinking Wine to learn English as many do, this is not any cultures I wish to learn about or explore. I do wish to learn about growing and the winemaking, but the sit in bar world of France, smoking cigarettes is a pass.

I leave my room; I am inside the French Language, not good French, but now, about 100 times better than my French. This is not a vocabulary rich French environment.

3. FRUSTRATED - Learning a word is about need. I NEED words, I must learn them, they have instant value, I cannot work my way around all problems, if I want to do some things, I need to learn some words. I can hide in my room, but not much point, there are many friendly people to talk with outside.


I return to my room, type in all the English words into my Systran Machine translator, do a quick translation of many words. Copy and paste this list to my database of new words, not I have a resource of words to learn or use again when I have a need.

The BFYKI program is great, I can learn how to pronounce parts of a word, or ending… like er on the end, or diphthongs and such ae ao, all the combinations in French.

I am annoyed at the making the books fun, or making the program fun aspects of leaning French. It really slows me down, if they would just list all the parts of words, help me pronounce or learn the phonic, I could sound out most words.

However, the sounding out of words is spread out all over the place; I have trouble making my master list of sounds for French.

There are syllables or part to each word, there are some rules, but difficult to study.

High Speed French Learning


Cotonou Benin
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

(Greek, "dispersion")

scattering of language, culture, or people: a dispersion of a people, language, or culture that was formerly concentrated in one place
the African Diaspora (2)

Sadly, sometimes, like the people of Africa, they were forced, not always positive in my mind, but they were forced to travel to other places and live.

There is immigration and emigration

EMIGRATION - leaving process
- moving to another country: the act of leaving a native country to live in another country.

IMMIGRATION - receiving process…
- arrival of settlers in a new country: the act of people entering into a new country to settle permanently.

I love border cities, nothing more curious and fun to watch than a big soap opera. At borders, frontiers, the crossing of the river, the jumping of a mountain range you have one of the biggest fights on the planet. Armed guards, patrol dogs, machine guns, smugglers, and all sorts of fun people. Like Alices Restaurant, the song, to the hundredth power.

Most travelers and tourist will do anything to leave a border town as quickly as possible, to vacate. The guidebooks almost totally ignore and agree nothing interesting to see in a border town…

Except Total Cultural Diversity.

A place where many cultures fight for dominance and sometime shoot others if they cross… hehehe The true no-mans land of cultural study, where cultures go down to basic motivations.

Oprah Winfrey
- I am the product of every other black woman before me who has done or said anything worthwhile. Recognizing that I am a part of history is what allows me to soar. -

Oprah Winfrey (1954 - )
U.S. talk show host, actor, and businesswoman, 1989.

There is almost a 99-100 percent probability that Oprah is part of the Diaspora or people from Africa that were dispersed around the Americas, and other lands to used as slaves.

He ancestors, her blood was part of Africa, now in the USA, and doing exceptionally well… (Oprah for President, much better than Hillary or Condoleezza Rice.) I know Condoleezza for President, and Oprah for Vice President, a truly noteworthy, world changing presidency. I think Condoleezza Rice is more prepared for the stress.

I saw, a brief thing on CNN, saying or noting Oprah going to South Africa or something, I was not able to see, the heartbreak of curiosity of the world and travel.

I truly believe Oprah Winfrey could change the channel of life for Africa, I believe she has within her sphere of influence, the Nobel Prize Winning, the magnanimous ability to change the planet for the better.

Jesse Jackson is following the path of Jimmy Carter, not knowing when to stop, grow up, and keep his mouth shut, however I do believe Oprah is both a good business and good diplomat, how she handles making decisions of many people, and not only her own empire is maybe a different issue.

Africa appears to be living under, as is the USA, Caribbean, however not South America strangely of a cloud of the blame game. The entire problem, past, future, present, etc are because you made me a slave.

Africa people were not a slaves, it had people taken. (Note, I think there were many slaves in Africa; however, I am not sure… Arabs, and such, one chief of another group, this was a big business inside the African world.)

The removal of the cloud, the transformation of a continent from sitting around waiting for someone to come and save them. To a land of proactive, take the bull by the horn, entrepreneurial success stories can most easily be done by one of the DIASPORA.

White People saving black people is marketing blunder.


Travel Hierarchy of Needs

Travel Hierarchy of Needs
Cotonou Benin
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Abraham Maslow
He studies, figures out or comes up with this theory or six levels of what we need…

Each level is a step up, only after you have completed step one, can you go to step two, and so on, until you are up to step six. See below:

Psycho Babble is spewed forth by the P101 students of the world; they took the beginning Psychology class, now are on step SIX of Maslow hierarchy of motivations, and therefore go travel. Because they are perfect, they volunteer to save the planet… hehehe

- Self-actualization—the fulfillment of one's greatest human potential. -

1. Food - Water - (1)
2. Room - (2)
3. Party - (3)
NO step 4,
Stall, Airplane drops, failure to advance to step four.

(2) security and safety.
I am big on security, and safety, I believe that anger has to major types, fear and frustration. People that are afraid will become extremely angry, or sadly shut down when too afraid. I suffer frustration anger, I am not sure why, maybe some low level rage where I am constantly being forced to wait… I need to always wait, be patient, and allow the world to get up to speed. Example: I do not speak French good, I can say to a taxi, the word.
- Poulet - Chicken
I know this is many layers away from telling the person the exact location where I am going. Impossible, and I do not know… I am endlessly curious, I want to find, discover, explore, and I never will and never have read the restaurant part of the LP guidebook. It is like smashing to the explorer in me, instructions on how not to explore.

The Taxi hears Chicken.
He says to himself, chicken, no location chicken.
I repeat chicken.
He starts to think, oh, you want chicken.
He says,
- Where? -
I repeat Chicken.
I then have to look at eyes, this only takes two minutes.
If the brain is connected, the evolution of man has evolved, the taxi driver know, I am from a foreign planet, I do not know, I need help, he goes, OK, I know chicken place, I will take you. Dangerous maneuver now because the taxi driver can change any amount of money to go to any location and is now driving under the motivation of greed or love of money. (I do like meters, if they work.)

Intuitive people is what I search for, ones that understand without having to nail with a sledgehammer notes to their heads.

6 to get to 6, to the curious level, age groups.

0-10 - 70 percent of children are curious
10-20 - 20 percent of children are curious
20-30 - 5 percent are curious
30-40 - 15 percent are curious
40-50 - 25 percent are curious
50-60 - 40 percent are curious
60-80 - 50 percent are curious

20-30 age groups is your number one age group for volunteers, in the segment of life where a person is least prepared to go perform at a self-actualized level, they go and volunteer to save the planet. The motivation is step FOUR of Maslow motivation theory. The want to show competence, prestige, and self-esteem at the expense of people, they want to be the boss, and have people listen. Fame, fashion, music, MTV and all the other dreams of prestige or need for popularity are kicking in, not any mastery of anything. They are not in control of any career, vocation, or expertise. Yet, they will go forth and spew forth-educational crap to a few who only want their money, and will listen for money… hehehe

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow devised a six-level hierarchy of motives that, according to his theory, determine human behavior. Maslow ranks human needs as follows:
(1) physiological;
(2) security and safety;
(3) love and feelings of belonging;
(4) competence, prestige, and esteem;
(5) self-fulfillment; and
(6) curiosity and the need to understand.

No single theory of motivation has been universally accepted, but a direction is evident. Formerly, many psychologists stressed the reduction of stimulation to its lowest possible level. An organism was thought to pursue that behavior most likely to bring about this desired state of no stimulation. Many human physiological systems do in fact operate in this manner. Recent cognitive theories of motivation, however, portray humans seeking to optimize rather than minimize stimulation and are thus better able to account for exploratory behavior, the need for variety, aesthetic reactions, and curiosity (2)

Travel Hierarchy of Needs

Fan Dry Eyes

Fan Dry Eyes
Cotonou Benin
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I am going to have to look; I used to carry eye lubrication with me all the time. My eyes hurt, there was a one speed on HIGH fan only in Ouidah Panff Hotel, it had the five-speed adjustment, but only one sped worked, high.

I like fans, better than air conditioning, easier to leave the room and not have some climate adjustment problems, plus cheaper.

What I really want is quiet, a very quiet fan.

Oh well, life is never just simple, there are two major type of hotel room fans.

1. Middle of Ceiling above the bed blowing down fan, maybe up.

2. Sit and point, maybe 40 percent of the time sway back and forth stand fan.

The center fan, if right above the bed is a big problem, as I sleep the fan dries my eyes, probably to do I suppose with REM or Rapid Eye Movement and all the other ways my eyes are open.

If I read in Bed, I have glasses, this helps, but I need fat, wider glass, big lenses, I need new reading, the next are going to be huge. The fan dries my eyes.

Points at my feet, this fan, and not my eyes.

The fan here in the Crillon in Cotonou is good, but noisy, has multiple speeds and I can point the fan at my lower body, away from my eyes, however still not simple. I have an extension cord; I can move the fan around in the room to hopefully a better position.

It took me many moons of travel before I learned about problems with fans, I tried to put a sleeping mask on, but I do not like them, make me have trouble sleeping. Blocks the sunlight and all, but just not my type of sleeping.

Each one of these small, not big, almost inconsequential annoyance of traveling is packed away, added to the tally. The sum of the accumulated small specific annoyance together creates a need to go home.

I hear many tourist or travelers say,
- I just want to go home and sleep in my own bed. -

I say,
- Why don’t you try to make or find your own bed here? -

This is a great way to P I S S them off, I am not sure why, they just refuse to accept that it is possible to live nice daily, traveling.

I often admire the extreme tourist, the make no adjustments, they pay the cost, whatever the cost, and any amount is ok. They pay their way to living as close, and probably better than they do at home. Often a Vacation is just that, a week or two of living better than normal.

Backpackers live less than normal, and think it is some sort of the price I pay to enjoy the travels.

Add up all the small annoyances, and the total is distraction, confusion, stress and a person unable to think clear. Then tell the person to go and volunteer, they are in an overwhelmed world of their own senses, not even dealing with themselves, are not way up on some Maslow hierarchy of motives platform where they are now capable of doing philanthropy work.

They are dealing with number one and two.

Fan Dry Eyes

Lebanese in West Africa

Lebanese in West Africa
Cotonou Benin
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Go forth and make spread the word, make restaurants, and Super Markets or Super Marches on the planet, go to Africa, spread you food, you skill, your business. Go forth and multiply.

I am lost, why does a Lebanese person leave Lebanon, to come to a poorer than their country, with a bunch of people that are very different from them, to open restaurants and super markets. I do suppose they all get to drive Mercedes Benz and be rich folk here, but still, seems like a big sacrifice of family and friends.

One opinion I heard was after a war, they all left because they was tired of fighting, this in many ways would make sense. I think of the Palestine people, not the Israel, they cannot leave, they only have one place they call homeland. Nevertheless, the Palestine people most did leave many stayed in Israel. Why, to stay to fight, and complain, have a terrible life, I do not think their lives are bad. They have some very modern bus, transportation, and food is abundant. Nevertheless, why bite off a daily fight?

In a way, I truly believe that people should just kill each other and let God sort is out later. Refugees are that, they leave an area of problems, and live in different place. Leave danger to go to safe, it is not safe, then move on, however to stay and live in some dangerous, hostile places seems like a Darwin theory waiting to take action. Plagues, wars, epidemics clean the bloodlines of the world, maybe they are volunteers.

The huge road in Tibet seems like a great way for the Tibet people to have a chance to move away from a horrible place to live.

Lebanese in West Africa

Benin Tough Chicken

Benin Tough Chicken
Cotonou Benin
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My French is becoming good, my understanding of West Africa transportation coming to force, my desire for chicken is driving me on. My refusal to pay 4-5 U.S. Dollars for a sandwich all culminate to create a Hobo that finds a chicken to eat.

Last night, I found a Chicken, on a rotisserie, near the Crillon hotel, about 100 Fran Moto ride from the Hotel in places called Joquet. I bought a whole chicken for 1500 CFA or Three US Dollars then went to the Super Marche and purchased some Lebanese Arabic style flat tortilla like bread. Came back and shared it with the Mali Islamic girl, who is not afraid to say, I want to eat, I want this, no shyness. Not what she was expecting, more of grab, eat, and pull type meal. I pulled pieces of meat off the chicken, wrapped in the Lebanese / Iraq version of a Mexican Tortilla, and ate. I have mine own salt, I am learning to eat this red Pima Pepper stuff.


Marathon Runner Chicken
I think this is some chicken that runs marathons in Africa, down them read dusty road, like some too skinny man, who wins from Kenya.

I could not get the chicken off the bone, amazing, I thought for one second the chicken was still raw, but no, this one range fed chicken that has muscles.

Not a fun piece of chicken, the chicken in Togo at the Al Mahata Lome Togo Lebanese restaurant was much better. Hmm, I am lost, hard to get a good meal in these countries. A crock-pot would do the trick, or cooked again, maybe boiled loose.

Benin Tough Chicken