Niger Travel Stories, Page 4

Lome Togo Flight

Lome Togo Flight
Niamey Niger West Africa
Friday, October 13, 2006

216 Euro 135,000 CFA about 250 US Dollars.

I purchased today a ticket leaving on Thursday from Niamey, Niger to Lome, Togo. The cost of a ticket to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso was more or about the same, I cannot remember. In the end, difficult to understand, however Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso is at the end of Morocco to Mali, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso path, and I will need to travel to Ouagadougou anyway at the end of another route trip of Africa.

I am told Ethiopia Airlines; I think also maybe Egypt Air flies from Lome towards Bangkok, Thailand or Singapore.

The cost to fly from Niamey to Bangkok, Thailand was over 1500-1600 US Dollars or more, impossible long trip also. I can fly to Lome, and then buy a separate ticket, I think cheaper. I want to discover one-way ticket in and one-way ticket out path. It is crazy, what would have been good is a round-trip ticket to Accra, Ghana or maybe to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from Bangkok, Thailand, or even Singapore.

I like Lome, Togo, it is a manageable city in West Africa, and the size of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire is big, not easy to just move around in, you much make an all day affair or any trip. Lome, Togo is just a moto-taxi trip to about anywhere in the city quick.

I was told, or they showed me on the screen, I could fly into Togo and have a 7-day Visa, they confiscated my passport, then I collect the next day at the police station. I could have flown a 265 CFA flight on Saturday, however too aggressive. The cost of the Visa was not on the screen, but this is great to know. I can fly into Togo as an USA citizen and have 7 days to do something. The problem is this, it did not say, if I can get an extension or what, I assume so, but I do not like discrepancies. I can go to the French Embassy here and in the next three day, I hope get a Visa, I will try on Saturday, but they may be closed. I want the 30-day visa to Lome, or the multiple entries. Ghana is next door, less than one hundred miles from Lome, and I could fly out of the Accra Airport in Ghana. In the end, three cities are close, Cotonou, Benin, Lome, Togo, and Accra, Ghana, the distance to Abidjan is not just an day trip.

Distance between cities is not great, very easy trips, the problem is Visas or permissions to enter and leave. I am going to talk with a German man, I hope again in Lome, he can suss out or explain how to travel back and for the between these cities and countries. I believe there is not a problem. Again, I can as an American fly into without a pre-arrange Visa now to both Abidjan and Lome, Togo.

In a way, I think of feel all these countries make it work, I was laughing as the Travel Agent wanted to know if I had a yellow fever shot certificate, hard to believe, almost anyone flying in or out needs one for all of Africa, but who can say the problems or understanding inside of Africa. Maybe they do not require one of the locals, even though they probable have a better chance of carrying, or maybe the do not.

It would be a good trip, flying into Abidjan, go across the lower coast to Porto Novo, Benin, then go north, then travel back across the northern parts of the countries and return to Ivory Coast forgetting the hot country of Niger and Burkina Faso, staying in the Christian part on the coast, then in a more multi-ethnic areas in the northern parts of Benin, Togo, Ghana and Coto d’Ivoire on the return, the top being the culture of Africa in raw forms.

Lome Togo Flight

Niger to Burkina Faso Plans

Niger to Burkina Faso Plans
Niamey Niger West Africa
Friday, October 13, 2006

I am making plans to leave Niger and go to Burkina Faso. Information in Niamey is difficult, nobody can read, their knowledge of the world, their city, anything is about as far as they can see. Any and all answers to questions is only a guess, they have never flown by plane, they have never traveled to Burkina Faso, most have never went more than 30 miles from home, if that.

I need Money, Visas or permission to enter, and Transportation from Niamey Benin to Ouagadougou, also called Wagadugu, Burkina Faso, I am going to try to pronounce it correct eventually.

I am trying to stock up with enough CFA to travel to

I found one lady from Canada that confirmed, Niger does not have ATMs or bank machines, the only way to get money is by a the very dangerous to do Cash Advance on Credit Card, I never do this under any condition. I will send myself money be Western Union before I give a bank person in the world least developed nation all my credit card information, and a signature to boot.

ATMs are normally safe, Cash Advances on money are not, Western Union is pretty good, however about 10 percent fee and expensive. I have over 1000 Euros; I can exchange money and lose 5-10 percent in the exchange. I think I need about 150,000 CFA to make the trip as a minimum safe amount, once I get to Ouagadougou, Burkina, Faso I believe and I am told they have the ATM machines. Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, and Benin all have had ATM or Bank Machines, only Niger in this loop of travel has not.

I am only 75 percent sure; my - Visa Touristique Entente - is good. I am relying on the advice of the Benin Embassy here in Niamey, they say, no problem. I know, in reality, there is no way they know for sure, they are just saying that it is supposed to be accepted and should be accepted at the Border of Burkina Faso. I have no way to know, unless I take the torture Bus or Bush Taxi trip there and test it.

For corruption to work, they need to be able to sell me the Visa, I was able to pay 20,000 CFA at the Niger border, they had something to sell, and it worked.

For Burkina Faso to not honor the Visa in a technical way, they have to somehow turn me back at the border and send me back to Niamey for a Visa, if I get out of Niger, or I get the exit stamp, then I can enter Burkina safely.

Aagh, this is too nuts, there is a discrepancy in the Visa, I have been traveling too long, I never go to a border with any questions on Visa, I do not exit on the last day, or calculate that close, I make sure there is no discrepancies. The only safe option is to get a Burkina Faso Visa at the French Embassy here, before I take off, I can hopefully hide the Visa and use the Visa Entente as a test.

I am supposed to be able to take a bus or bush taxi to Burkina Faso; however, it is a two-day trip minimum or a very painful one-day trip with the Bus. The only way to find out information on the bus is to travel from my Hotel to the Bus Station, ask and hope they are smart enough to speak French, explain and not totally jerks, as is the case about 50 percent of the time.

Niger does not speak French, only the highly educated speak French, White people do not take a bus to Ouagadougou, they drive the NGO-SUV-TOYOTA and never get in public transportation. I hope this is an exception, however, I doubt it, I have yet to see people using public transport, and it is just not what the white people do here. They do not associate with the blacks on the person level. I on the other hand have traveled by land all the way from Cote d’Ivoire, to Ghana, to Togo, to Benin, north in Benin to Niger and to Zinder, to Niamey, Niger and now to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. I hope to have the energy to travel south in Ghana and back to Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire to finish the round trip or return path. If I enter Burkina Faso, I am then 100 percent sure this is possible. I need to travel to Burkina Faso to guarantee a backpacker round trip exist.

What is great?

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso is south, and maybe goes into the more green parts and leaves the Sahel, hard to say until I am there, but Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso appears to be a gate to the region.

Stellan has already made the trip from Ghana to Ouagadougou; I have collaboration that it is possible. I just need to do the trip from Niamey, Niger to Ouagadougou, Benin to know the complete feasibility of the possible Tourist Visa Entente Trip, with corruption by Niger.

Stellans bike path.

I added the arrows to explain the direction of travel, I am not sure, and he may have done some in 2005 and not 2006.
Stellan from Sweden riding bike in West Africa:

I am tired, I do not like Islamic countries, there is nothing to do, except talk Football with the men, the conversations have dropped to zero, all there is here in Niger is an every present apathy and NGO world, a true NGO Disaster zone, caused by the NGOs here, they are the disaster. The place is already a problem, not they are making it a welfare nation fed by the world, and no need to work.

It is hot, desert, good for awhile, but to do the desert, I want to do the camel ride across the desert, not the 100 degree bus trips with no air conditioning as was my 13 hour trip from Zinder to Niamey, I do not need to tough it, I have done these trips too many times already.

I have options, the one is to fly to Accra from Niamey, but the Visa is difficult here, the other is to fly to Togo, I am not sure yet, I go to some Travel Company and probably Air Burkina if they do exist here, then this Air Afrique or something. Air Moroc flies, also, I will go to the travel agency first I discovered, and then direct to the airlines to see whom is the bigger problem or lesser. I do not like to buy tickets from Travel Agents in known corrupt countries. Niger is know, I have trouble getting change buying bread, the change for plane tickets is the same, and that doe not mean I get a ticket.

My gut says, I must go to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to fly out of Africa or south. If I get a ticket to Singapore or Bangkok for around 800 USA, then I am out of Dodge. I really want to know how much a ticket from Lome, or Abidjan though is to Asia.

Niger to Burkina Faso Plans

Niger Wet Laundry

Niger Wet Laundry
Niamey Niger West Africa
Friday, October 13, 2006

I am in an Air Conditioned, what I would say is Three Star quality room in Niamey, amazingly nice. I saw a washing machine, decided to pay the exorbitant fees to have my long pants washed.
I gave them the pants in the morning, rather hoping they would be completed in the evening. In the Hot Niger dry heat, a pair of pants can dry on the clothesline in an hour or two.


Easy to say, difficult to understand, what is an under-developed nation, maybe this is explains a little.

- Third World, general designation of economically developing nations.-

I am trying to do some simple economics, some business in Niger; I want to pay to have my clothes washed. I have only paid two times in two months of travel in West Africa. The reason, it is insanely difficult to find good laundry service at reasonable prices. I will do it myself rather than pay inflationary prices of 10-20 dollars per hour for laundry, in a country where 2 dollars per day is the average wage.

I tried to help the lady with the laundry, I could see my pants outside on the line earlier, I went to go take my pants off the clothes line, however the door was locked to the rear, it was not earlier. I asked the woman about my pants, she said they was not done, translated meaning, I cannot be bothered to give them to you now. She is the other, she is not even the one who cleaned them, she is the most responsible or irresponsible person here.

I thought, ok, I will wait, it has not rain here for a long time, and my pants will be ok on the line for the night.


I am lying here in my bed and it is pouring rain, my pants are wet again.

This is a simple of example of how under-developed nations, or the Third Word economies function. They have the choice and the options to do it right, however the culture stops them, doing a good quality job is not part of the culture.

Selfishness is primary, the leaders in Africa are selfish, and they only are leaders to steal the money from their people. It is not the leaders, a leader is the good representative of the culture, and a leader is a good example of the culture, from the top to the bottom, normally the leader of the nation sets the pace, is the example of the people, that is why he or she is the leader.

I love Africa, however, I will do anything, including washing all my clothes by hand, hanging them up in my room, like spider webs to avoid the most simple and common thing on the planet, doing my laundry.

The first time I paid, they lost my one shirt, the second time I pay, it is a calamity, a Cannery Row circus, and it is fun.

Niger Wet Laundry

Niger Hard Science

Niger Hard Science
Niamey Niger West Africa
Friday, October 13, 2006

I am slowly developing a dream, an image of the future I want, the world I want the sons and daughters of my family to inherit. The more I travel, the more my eyes are opened, the more I understand the truth about the planet Earth. The truth is and I have been saying for years, that,
- Life is GOOD!. -

I travel the planet, I smell the earth, I see the people, I live in the real world, it is not all fun and games, at times it is very dangerous, however, generally life is great for the planet. It has in 10 years become continually safer and easier to travel, and fortunately cheaper, as plane fare drop, and the location of cheap rooms is advertised on the internet.

I see a need for

I read fantasy, I hear fantasy spouted daily from the mouths of people, they tell me about the next country, they explain the facts, they often tell me about my country, the USA, and are clueless, just pure gossip. Most of it told to them on CNN, BBC and every other fantasy telling media on the earth.

Daily, I hunt for a cheap room, what many think is the panacea, the answer to all questions, is often worst form of disinformation on the planet. It is incredibly difficult to find the cheap rooms on the internet; however, every site says they are the cheapest hotels. Fantasy, lies, there is nobody telling the truth, all is done for the almighty Dollar, being replaced by the almighty Euro.

I have many people say to me,
- Andy, why do you care, this is business, and you can make a lot of money. -

There are people that weekly now, make offers, will pay me money, good money, great money if I will just say,
- I recommend this site or company. -

Nevertheless, I have sold my soul to the devil in the past; I have enough money to live comfortable, my soul is not for sale. I say to them,
- Why would I recommend something I refuse to use myself? -

If I like something, I will recommend it free, not a problem, I like, it is nice, it feels good to say, I like this, it is good. It feels good to say, this is a good person, this is a good product.

I work on future websites, the goal is to give people the truth, the best hotels, the best airplane flights, the honest truth, the challenge, the greatest challenge is to create a way to separate fantasy from the truth, and I believe it is a possible future, where the hard science, the objective truth is easy to find.

From a Lecture by Michael Crichton

The Greatest Challenge Facing Mankind
Remarks to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco
September 15, 2003

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge
facing humankind, and I have a fundamental answer: the greatest challenge facing
mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

Niger Hard Science

State of Fear

State of Fear
Niamey Niger West Africa
Thursday, October 12, 2006

I just finished the book, State of Fear by Michael Crichton; I have not read it two times. It is about Environmentalist proposing that Global Warming is going to cause abrupt changes to the planet.

Michael pretty much says, this theory on Global Warming is just stupid and a great way to raise money for environmental groups.

I am immersed presently in a state of.. ? This is interesting; the first word that came to mind like some Rorchach test is,
- Racism. -

I just walked from a small hotel for NGO-ONG groups, to the local corner stores, purchased an ice yogurt thing, introduced myself of the FanYoga guy, Madou, and walked back. I am thinking, why do I feel immersed in racism. The feeling is maybe this sense of those in the 4-wheel drives and those outside. I am walking, everyone seems interested, and like why is a white man walking around, where is your NGO-ONG-SUV-TOYOTA?

Not a good way to keep yourself an elitist if you walk around at street level, I am not an elitist, and this is the problem. I do not look for ways to be special. I think often of this, the socialization of all white people in this area of West Africa, is you should volunteer or help the people. I feel a pressure, as if I cannot just be a tourist.

When there is not a NGO-ONG-SUV-TOYOTA, I feel little pressure, I think it is the constant almost getting ran over by these giant too large and driven by fourth graders vehicles. The locals drive them also, the whites drive slower, the black drive like the own all areas of the road.

The sense I feel is the people in the vehicles believe to themselves,
- I am not like them. -

I think the blacks act normally like fourth graders, and giving them a one-ton car to point at me is irresponsible, they have enough of their own; I do not see the need more.

I do not know, the NGO people seem like six graders, a need to be in charge, just getting old enough and big enough where they get very distinct personality and expect people to listen.

Like HG Wells, and the Time Machine book, there are the haves that live on top of the earth, and the have not who live below, outside the NGO-ONG-SUV-TOYOTA,

The best job in the country is probably working for the government; you can abscond with the money paid by the NGO’s. The second is to work for the NGO’s.

I do not know, idle speculations, Michael was talking about this at the end of the book, I do speculate a lot. I observe and give opinions, not always correct, and for sure often wrong, however they are opinions, not facts. However, as he was saying, people believe the media or things written, I trust neither, and think nobody should.

I used to think a photo or film clip was good, but now, I can see how they can make them show anything they wish.

People have agendas, I am wondering what mine is, it is also annoying I cannot say hello to pretty girls here, without worry of violence, time to go south again.

I will think about this book more, it has some insightful ideas on how to run a save the world program. I never can figure out what needs saved. I am thinking though, Benin, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire had the same problems of malnutrition as Niger, there are people living in the desert that need to move out of the desert, not a place to live. Hey you, come in out of the rain, you are dying.

State of Fear

Countries User Friendly Rating

Countries User Friendly Rating
Niamey, Niger, West Africa
Thursday, October 12, 2006

I got way off on the angry tangent of how Niger makes life difficult.

- A system that is easy to learn and easy to use. This term has been so abused that many vendors are reluctant to use it. -
Quoted from - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia of website:

I am trying to discover or make up backpacker travel jargon. Sometimes, I catch myself in discussions with other travelers and I just naturally say a great term.

I have invested. 5 hours into my computer today.
I have invested 4 hours into trying to get information on Visa today.

They were somewhat together, however overall, I have worked from 6:00 am to 2:20 PM and support needed to work on my computer, blog, travel and get visa.

RATIOS - Time Enjoying and Time Working to be there.

There are percentages of time, or rations of time needed to visit a country. Some countries you can just enter, spend 90 percent of your time enjoying the country.

Example: I spend about 15 minutes in the process of getting a visa stamp to enter Thailand. For the country of Niger, I spent about four hours. This means Niger is about 15 times more difficult to enter than Thailand.

Getting a room, using the bank, transportation cost me about 15 times more work than in Thailand and cost about Three times the money than Thailand for the same quality of hotel, transport and / or even food, food is about Five times to Ten times more expensive than Thailand.

I hear, ask, and discuss countries with people who have already visited a country I have never entered. I realize, I am trying to figure out he user-friendly rating. What are the big problems, what are the impossible problems, and what is great?

It would be wonderful if I could just go to a web page, and know, this country is rated X, for tourist, it is 69 out of 311 on a continuum as how easy or difficult to travel.

Then break it down to Visas, Transportation, Reservation, Food, and Value for the Dollar.

This is not easy, the truth is, most people love the countries they visited, and have zero objectivity about the country. They think they can compare the country to the world.

Niger is safer than many countries, that I know, however it is insanely difficult to ask questions in, or about something.

They cannot read, and they are all behaving at the level of a fourth grader in the USA, and then are bullies, if you push, or do not accept their answer they can be indignant to the level of a Philippi no when you call him stupid. The try to bully you into accepting their answers, with no mental thought involves, rather like,
- Because my mother told me.. -
No logic, no thinking, the brain is one, but not running, amazing to watch and fun on some occasions amazing to watch full grown adults act like fourth graders.

Nevertheless, it is now at the bottom of the HUMAN development index or the HDI, and the development of the human here is last place, so what can I expect… hehehe. The average or mean level of development is the lowest in the world.

Countries User Friendly Rating

Niger Not User Friendly

Niger Not User Friendly
Niamey Niger West Africa
Thursday, October 12, 2006

- A system that is easy to learn and easy to use. This term has been so abused that many vendors are reluctant to use it. -
Quoted from - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia of website:

I am trying to discover or make up backpacker travel jargon. Sometimes, I catch myself in discussions with other travelers and I just naturally say a great term. Today has been an emotionally frustrating and stressful day for me.

It started with the computer, somehow or why, I do not know, the computer has no available memory. I could not use the computer; it was so slow every function took five minutes.

I do a disk clean, after I use the program - Crap Cleaner -, the disk clean says there is over 6 Gigs of unnecessary old compressed files. I go away for 4 hours and return; it is still working to clean them, now it says it is finished.

I waited for the computer from 6:00 AM to 12: noon, or for six hours I could not use the computer because I needed to work, to make it work, the tool needed a commitment of time.
While I waited for the computer to perform the Disk Cleaning operation, which took four hours, I decide, I will go to the French Embassy and see if I have a Visa to Burkina Faso or should I apply for one. Four hours later, I think I have about a 75 percent chance; I can travel to Burkina Faso with no problem.

The French Embassy was very difficult, they send me to the Benin Embassy because they have me the:
- Visa Touristique Entente -

Benin says, I am correct, I can go to Burkina Faso with no problem and they will honor the Visa Touristique Entente, the say I should go to the D.S.T office of Niger and I guess they want me to get my money back.

After about two hours of shuffling and waiting, I get to talk with
Soufley Ajdoffo, the Director of this office.

He speaks very good English, in fact excellent, and in the end, he says Niger is it own country, it makes up its own rules. He also says the Benin Embassy is lying to me.

I try to explain, if this agreed upon Visa, shared between five countries works, then thousands of tourist can travel between the five countries. If Niger make you pay, the Visa is more or less worthless.

He starts to lecture me about the USA and how I am thinking like the USA, I see that he believes he is smarter than the USA, therefore I see this is all about who is smarter.

I shake his hand and start to leave, he says I cannot leave. I am thinking, maybe this is one of them Arabic culture things, we need to argue and if I argue he will come around. I argue with him for another 10 minutes, I finally realize, this is stupid, no tourist, ordinary is going to do one-tenth the work I have already done.

He says, he is not going to honor the Visa, the problem is the interpretation of the Visa, and even if I had the rules here, I do not think it would matter. Agreed upon rules, need read, most of these person have about a first grade level of reading. The director has for sure about a 10th grade, however, as normal, he thinks he can get away with this and he does. I leave, however, I will do my best to make specific types of pages that I hope can tell the world not to trust the - Visa Touristique Entente - on the Niger leg or at least, insure a person deals with a Niger in a fashion that enables you to avoid any discrepancies.

I now, need to go back through every time I have posted about the - Visa Touristique Entente - or Visa Entente - and put in a warning. This is annoying, and corrupt on the part of Niger, his refusal to read, try to adapt, or even acknowledge is a symptom of the countries problems; they rather deserve what happens in life to them.

Note, I had a two men from, one a China Visa Expeditor, and amazingly good speaking English person explain, for 20 minutes to the first man the situation, it is obvious, the man and the country have my money and refuse to even listen, I think they know exactly that I am correct, but refuse to make the country better, they doom the country to the same existence by their actions.

Niger Not User Friendly

Camping In Niamey Niger Hotel

Camping In Niamey Niger Hotel
Niamey Niger West Africa
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am camping in my air conditioned 11,000 CFA, 23 US over-priced on world values room. The room is excellent, the toilet is shared, but I am in an exclusive compound of the Germany rents this place continually for something DED program.

I was here last year, had to leave because of reservations, and thought I would see the level of busy in Niger for NGO’s. If easy to rent, then lower, if hard than higher. I think the number of NGO workers has increased while the number of white ones has decreased; therefore, the room is easy to rent. The locals do not get the nicer rooms; they live at home or maybe at the office.

I think the way you define yourself can help you prepare, I am constantly realizing that camping equipment is what I need, there are special toys for campers, some very ingenious, I often walk through Walmart and look at their stuff, trying to get ideas to copy. I do not like to buy unless I can buy anywhere in the world, this is a problem.

I am trying to clean my corn and rice pans after cooking, without leaving my room. I have a shared toilet, if I take the pan in their and anyone sees me they will know I am cooking. Cooking in room is normally forbidden even if they do not have the rule, they will not be happy with electrical use. Therefore, I do all my cooking in secret, hoping for rooms where the smell does not carry. I do no normally cook popcorn, but I have in some room.

Rice and Corn are low smell food, I need to cook one item foods, like when camping, to make a casserole of some vegetarian brains for nuts salad, it out of the question. The Hotel has a kitchen for the guest to use, however, I am on the opposite side and did not understand here explanation of the kitchen, and therefore I opened the one in my camp, in the room.

I have never been in the perfect room, I do not care how much I pay, and there is always a problem. Therefore, I collect all the necessary camping equipment that I use in the room, solving the small problems. I call this my travelers nest, making my nest.

Here is an interesting problem, I have an air-conditioned room, I needed to wash clothes in Zinder and made sure I rented a room with a good fan for drying cloths. The present room has both a fan and an air conditioner, this is great, I can also dry my clothe easier.

See, a perfect room to me, has AC and a fan, but not for the normal reason to have a fan. A great room would have hooks on the wall for my clothesline rope. Some in Mexico or Central America have loops in the walls for hammock, when you want to put an extra three persons in the room, you just hang hammock.

The light in a room is normally not good for reading; I usually use my light, even when one is supplied. My present room has a light, but I am using my own. It you get good, you can make negligible the problems of a room. Give me four walls, a light in the center, a bed, and I am probably good to go.

Camping In Niamey Niger Hotel