Togo Travel Stories, Page 13

The Six Languages to Learn

The Six Languages to Learn
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 6, 2007

There is debate about which languages to learn, these six would be a good start of the 6812 or so languages out there to be annoyed you cannot understand.

I really need to stop reading the online Encyclopedia as it is amazing how little I know about the plant earth. Yesterday, I was all excited browsing around on the Francophone page and thinking about Anglophone and Anglosphere and all sorts of fun maps and things, when I ran across what the United Nations considers the Six Official Languages

The UN has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
Stop Quote

Therefore, to continue with my lesson in Humility and other self-floggings, I decided to try to find a map of all 6 bigger language groups.

So what do I learn about, I now am more positive I know very little, I only have about 1.5 percent of the six big language managed, what a drag, just when I was thinking I knew something, I get slapped back down to reality, the world is bigger than me.

When I see the big picture, the small picture fades away.

This is the Francophone world or the countries that have a big influence by the French Language.

English world or the Anglophone or Angloshere.

The Chinese are coming, do not ignore them, this is a culture that is ancient and thriving.

Arab or Arabic Culture and language, they had a bigger influence in history and not are sort at a standstill. Dubai is trying and Jordan is trying they seem somewhat hogtied by their terrorist problem. The have too much money, however do not seem to put the pieces together.

Probably the last on the list of my want to learn languages sort of like learning to not smile. Some people say, I should do this, I think more about what I should not do, and am happy to remove some off the list of should.

I think Russia has white girls, you know how long it been since I hung around with white women. I keep thinking about the Beatle and back in the USSR… I do not know Russia.

Spanish, I know Spanish.

Ok I get a 1 for Spanish and I am one-half for French, I am only a 1.5 out of a number of 6, so back to work.

The Six Languages to Learn

A Travel Golf Hole in One in Togo

A Travel Golf Hole in One in Togo
Atakpame, Togo, West Africa
Friday, July 6, 2007

I made a hole in one in Travelers Golf today in Togo.

I traveled I as fast as possible between Lome and Atakpame with public transportation. The ball sat and spun around the hole before dropping one time as the car seem to have gas in the fuel line and was sputtering, but the ball dropped and there were no delays.

Well, I do suppose the car did stop one time to allow all the executives in the taxi car to urinate along side the road, but this seemed to be needed.

I road a Motorcycle Taxi for 700 CFA to the road leaving Lome just one half kilometer after the USA Embassy. I did NOT go to the Gare, as this is foolish. I was along the road just long enough to walk to a car and put my bag in and leave.


I paid 2300 CFA and no bag fee and the car dropped me off a the Hotel Relaise de Plateau where I checked in for 3500 CFA and life is good.

I left at Five thirty (Before Sunrise) in the morning and arrived at the hotel at about 8:30, porthole to porthole. There were no delays, no sand traps and we did not stop one time to pick up a passenger, and nobody cheated me. It was small five-passenger car, everyone in the car had a mobile phone in his hand the whole trip except for me, and the one man was wearing a suit.

A Travel Golf Hole in One in Togo

One African Cockroach Got Away

One African Cockroach Got Away
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 6, 2007

There must be two of them, I have turned on every light in the room to make plea, please go into hiding, and I know you do not like the light.

I made a direct hit on one, there were too many sightings there must have been two. The one is dead and lying under the bed. If you travel in the tropics, you live with cockroaches; they are a never-ending annoyance. I do thank them for eating bedbugs, and for the most part they do nothing but annoy, and creepy scare me.

I have carpet on my floor, I want to remove the carpet, spray the room and seal that crack under the door. The last few days it has rained, my proposition is they come inside out of the rain.

Unfortunately, they come up from the shower drains of the world, I am not sure how they do it, but I know they do it; they live and thrive in drains.

I am learning to like rooms with no showers and toilets in the rooms, I do not like to share with humans, however, the human is a small step better than a cockroach. I am leaving for Kara, Togo today; I will do a super good toxic spraying of the room before I leave. A good residue based, I want you to die spraying of the room.

Cockroach killing without prejudice, Karma is for wimps, who do not have the will to survive.

One African Cockroach Got Away

Writing Two Lease Contracts in Africa

Writing Two Lease Contracts in Africa
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 6, 2007

I was on the Island country of the Barbados, I stopped in a small bar close to my room for a drink, many on the corner of the bar expats where there. A man asked me where I was from, I said,
“The United States of America.’

He was expecting me to say,

He started to laugh and said,
“I think you are the first American to say the correct answer to me, they also assume I know they are from America.”

Well, since I know the game, and I knew he was being a smart ass, I gave him the tit for tat, I said,
“And you do know, you should not call us Americans you will make all the South Americans and Central American and North Americans angry.”

They will correct me in these areas of the world if I say American, as they are Americans also, one of them Politically correct geography lessons where people do not listen for intentions, they are trying to find a reasons to argue.

I am here in Lome, however today I leave for Kara, Togo, and then over into Ghana or Benin, maybe both. I am trying to rent a home or two in West Africa, and am taking a long time to arrange and write a lease. I am going to lease the property for 12 years with some renewable clauses, and incremental increases in rent, and all sort of real estate legal words.

The Lease will be written in Togo French. I will read it in Togo French, and understand in the USA culture. The owner will read in Togo French, and understand in Ewe Mina Culture. The French man who has lived for 17 years in Togo will read in French, understand two thirds in French culture and one-third in Togo culture. The Togo Real Estate agent will not read it; however explain it in Ewe Mina culture.

I was a Real Estate Broker in the State of Indiana, in the country of the USA for 14 years, and purchased, sold, rented many properties. I think I was involved in as best I can guess about 1200 Real Estate contract negotiations.

1200 contracts and 2400 people.
I have seen about 25 people read the contract,
I think maybe five understood the contract.

I believe that all 2400 thought they understood the contract.

If you know a person that sit at a Real Estate closing and read all the papers they signed, the closing would take about five to ten hours. We sign the contract because we know we are all from the same culture and language and believe we have the same intentions. Moreover, the redeeming feature is we have the same legal system for about 300 Million people with some state variations.

In Togo, they have about eight major customs of understanding a contract.

1. Mina or Ewe
2. French Culture less than 1 percent
3. Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye)
4. Dagomba
5. Lebanese Culture less than 1 percent
6. Christian
7. Islamic
8. Tribal Religions

I need to have two groups understand and agree me and the Ewe, Mina Africa culture; however, the contract has to be written in proper Togo and France French.

I do not want to argue with someone 8 years from now, and I am 100 percent sure that 99 percent of people will try to break a contract if they think it not fair.

So, I am trying to get three major cultures, ME, the Togo Ewe Mina person and the French Translator to agree to the same un-written contract, then I hope to have a contract in writing that agree with what they will never read.

I am trying to get a Meeting of the Minds, an African and American.

A contract is not a contract until, and I agree, the owner or I should not be bound to a contract that we do not understand the intentions.

What this means is a person from France that buys a property in the USA without a lawyer and no translation into French has a good legal argument to break a contract.

I am always amazed at expats signing contracts, they just sign and hope it works and it does work about fifty percent of the time.

Fun and games in Africa

The solution is this, I look at people minds. I look at their eyes, when I feel, see and know they understand then we will sign the contract, and not before. I made, in the past, and will continue to make contracts that work, not that I hope work.


Meeting of the minds

Meeting of the minds (also referred to as mutual assent or consensus ad idem) is a phrase in contract law used to describe the intentions of the parties forming the contract. In particular, it refers to the situation where there is a common understanding in the formation of the contract. This condition or element is often considered a necessary requirement to the formation of a contract.

The reasoning is that a party should not be held to a contract that they were not even aware existed. A mutual promise between friends over simple personal matters should not be a situation where legal remedies are to be used. Equally, any such agreement where the obligation is primarily a moral one rather than a legal one should not be enforceable. It is only when all parties involved are aware of the formation of a legal obligation is there a meeting of the minds.

Under the formalist theory of contract, every contract must have six elements: offer, acceptance, consideration, meeting of the minds, capacity and legality. Many other contracts, but not all types of contracts, also must be in writing and be signed by the repsonsible party, in an element called form.
Stop Quote

I know a handshake is just about as good as a written contract.

American are anal, they will tell someone in the Caribbean they are from the Georgia and expect the person to understand. It is not their fault, the whole world has to deal with another language just 100 kilometers away, and the USA lives in a bubble. Maybe the least prepared culture to buy or rent a home outside the USA, and the most confident in their decisions. The good part, the person with the money does make the rules.

Writing Two Lease Contracts in Africa

Togo Photo of Travel Gear Shop

Togo Photo of Travel Gear Shop
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, July 5, 2007

What is a travel gear shop?

It is a place I buy products to carry in my backpack. Which travel gear shop do I buy the most travel gear from in the USA?

Which Travel Gear Shop in do I buy the most gear from in Togo or West Africa?

What have I purchased from these West African portable hardware store or gear shops?

1. Need nose pliers
2. One-Cup coffee cooker
3. Alarm Clock
4. Electrical plug male and female
5. I saw coat hangers, however did not purchase, when I am in a location where I would want to stop for longer than normal, I will purchase them.
6. I saw some small speakers I could attach to my computer.
7. Rope to use on my travel bucket.
8. Rope to use as a clothesline.
Funny how the words Travel Gear can make people go and buy things they do not need, and the things they need and want, they do not buy.

Togo Photo of Travel Gear Shop

Volunteer in Africa

Volunteer in Africa
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, July 5, 2007

I am working with a few people to open a few Hostel Homes in West Africa soon. Last night the two American volunteers were randomly listing things the Hostel Home should provide or sell.

Taia 28 and Marc 34 presently living in Denver CO, but are both raised in the Midwest. Taia from Kalamazoo, Michigan and Marc from Madison Wisconsin.

Maps to Togo


Note: Hobo OK
Richard Trillo the Editor of “The Rough Guide to West Africa,” is in love with West Africa. When I choose a guidebook, it feels good to know the Editor loves the countries I am visiting. When searching for dreams, better to follow a path laid down with love.


I interjected some ideas about how to create a spider web network of small trips to the various West Africa cities, whereby groups of tourist could share a van and go visit.

I was laughing about the need for a clean toilet by Mark and Taia or is it Taia and Marc; nonetheless, they presently have a real and present need for cleanliness. West Africa has some of the cleanest Hotel rooms on the planet, and somehow these two found the worst rooms in Togo and volunteered to pay for the experience…

I am listening in sales mode, thinking, what these two want, what could I sell them besides super clean toilets and it kept creeping into my first conscious level and out of the lower sub-conscious levels. These two have a real need to volunteer in Africa.

I am semi-frustrated with this need, as I think a desire to save the world is somehow misguided and try to say more or less,
- Africa does not need saved. -

They do not want to save Africa, however they volunteered some ideas.

--- We are overwhelmed in the USA with the idea that Africa needs help. We want to give back, we feel we need to give, we are so lucky.

Ok a fuzzy need, not clear and defined, however you word this need it is not important, they are not going to be happy until they give some good energy to the people of Africa.

Ok, I will put this word Volunteer on the list of things to help provide in a Hostel. Aagh!

This is like saddling up next to a horse thief, then riding along with the horse thief as he steals a few horses, than when the Marshall says,
- Did you help him steal them their horses? -
I would say,
- I had no idea what he was doing Marshall; I was just riding my horse with him. -

The problem for me is this, when I think Volunteer Organizations, I think Horse Thieves, I am not fond of the idea of helping the bad ones, by just riding along, as maybe people will think I am a Horse Thieve by association.

I will help these wanna be Volunteer in Africa find ways to get a good Karma rush by Volunteering in Africa.

I keep offering the one idea,
- You can go give them certifiably crazy naked people walking on the beach here in Lome some clothes and a shower. -

I can only think of one thing, maybe two, but with some work, I am sure I can find 10 or more good volunteer projects in Africa to satisfy this fuzzy need of tourist and travelers to Togo to Volunteer in Africa.

To be a Volunteer in Africa is good, to give back what you was given in noble, however go walk up to proud people and say, you are poor is bad manners.

Volunteer in Africa

The American Dream is Contagious

The American Dream is Contagious
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday USA
July 4 is Independence from England day in the USA.

I was having a discussion with the two Americans last night here in Lome, Togo. The couple signed up and paid about 1200 US dollars per person to volunteers at an orphanage in Kpalime, Togo.

They stopped being volunteers for many reasons, and why they stopped is not as simple as it was a bad experience of it was this or that. I listened and tried to understand why they quit, I want to the travel Lies, truth and honest opinion of their experience.

I listened with the desire to hear some statement or opinion that I could feel is obviously correct, or self-evident. In this statement from the United States of America Declaration of Independence from England it says,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain Inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

I am sure people can pick, debate and choose statement and problems however there is one phrase that I do not think anyone would want to argue over, this the right to the
- pursuit to happiness. -

I search for these little comments, these phrases, these are consensus statements or comments that when in a group of people, few wish to argue about.

I know after talking with the two orphanage volunteers last night a few things.

1. They stopped because they were not happy with the situation.
2. They were not 100 percent positive there was an orphanage.

Number 2, is the pivotal problem here, and if your goal is to volunteer at an orphanage, and have questions whether it is an orphanage, then there is a problem. When traveling I discover things I believe, not just hope to believe, I believe, and I feel the truths to me are self-evident. I search for these self-evident truths as I travel and try to not listen to extra noise or angers. These are the truths that function, they work, they are reliable, they can be used by me.

My mother wrote.

Happy July 4th Andy, Independence Day for the good old USA of America. Tomorrow we will hang the red white and blue out and celebrate. The only country in the world where we can do and say what we desire and not have to worry about getting arrested or thrown in jail. I know lots of bad things go on but we still are the greatest country in the world. If we were not all these strange people would not be crossing our borders to try and have a better life all the time.
Stop Quote

I would say this could be a very controversial comment and I am sure I and find many Europeans would love to argue about, however, the comment here that jumps out is,
- If we were not all these strange people would not be crossing our borders -

I believe there are many people crossing the USA border to enter, and this says, they want to be on the USA side more than the Mexican side. I feel safe in saying, the Mexicans that came across the border wanted to be on the USA side more than the Mexican side.

My mother dreams in Red White and Blue, she is, and I am all of this dream, which is the American Dream, I am my mother’s child and I know this, I know she is optimistic about the USA. This is what being an American is, she believes it is on the right path, she believes in the country, over 70 years old and still has a contagious dream.

The world has an American dream, it is fuzzy, unclear and un-touchable, and I hear and feel the dream from the Togo people. The dream of something easier, of something that is to them obviously good, when they dream of the America it is a dream of what they think is better. Right or wrong, there is the self-evident truth; people want to go to the USA.

I am always happy to say, I am from the USA, to a Togo person, I can see it in their eyes when I say,
- I am from the USA. -

Their eyes say to me, please give me some of the dream, I am not sure what my mother and father put in me, however I know I am the carrier of a dream, I do hope it is contagious.

I am sure tomorrow I will hear endless stories of what is wrong with the USA, however I can always remember more people want to enter the USA than want to leave, these observations stop the travel noise I hear, many refuse to catch this dream, the more they tell me there is no dream, the more I am positive the dream is true. The people outside the USA know it better than me, I am the dream, they have the dream. I do not sit around dreaming about the USA.

The American Dream is Contagious

Dysfunctional Travel Expert

Dysfunctional Travel Expert
What is an Expert
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, July 3, 2007

How to become an EXPERT?

Rent an office
Hang a sign
Buy business cards
Tell everyone
Get a website
Write a book
Get some letters after your name PHD, CPA,
Join and organization
Major or get a University Degree
Buy an NGO or ONG
Say you are…

ALTERNATIVELY, to be quoted somewhere… hehehe

I get a bullshit is coming on feeling every time

I say I am an expert in
…Travel, Internet, Real Estate, Dysfunctional Behaviors

I hear someone say
…. I am an Expert

I hear someone say,
…This person is an expert

Or the worst way to decide a person is an expert…

This person is an expert because, they have a Master, PHD or Degree in this on X subject.

I am saying, and I did say, I get a bullshit is coming on feeling every time I say about myself, I am an expert in I say I am an expert in
…Travel, Internet, Real Estate, Dysfunctional Behaviors

I think it is the number four on this list, that make me know, saying I am an expert is bullshit. I was having and I am having one of them shake all over and try to say, do something days. I went by accident yesterday to a page in the online encyclopedia.

I have an account, I can edit, however I read the comment at the top of the page.

I started, then I stopped, I wanted to re-write the introduction that in my opinion is 100 percent backwards.

Correctly said,
Family members develop addictions, these are the symptoms of people who have behaviors that are dysfunctional or come from families with shared dysfunctional behaviors.

This page dysfunctionally attempts to define a dysfunctional family… I was having a good laugh as I thought what dysfunctional page. First, you have two words in Dysfunctional Family, the words

-- ? Where is the link?

To function here they need to first define and make a link defining the word Dysfunctional and then at the link to the word for family.
Simple as it gets a dysfunctional behavior does not function. The person asks for a horse and family member gives them a camel.

I am for sure a Dysfunctional Travel Expert, and for sure, I know the answers I write in the help center are often very dysfunctional. I know they do not work for the person, they are just answers to guide, not to answer.

If you have traveled in other foreign countries, you may laugh and tell the funny stories of your trip. A great book and one that to me explains the dysfunctional nature of travel is the book "No shitting in the toilet." By Peter Moore.

As I understand, I am not positive why he named the book this, but I think what happened he was in Japan or somewhere on the planet and he came upon a sign on the toilet that said,


I would say this is about as good as it gets, this is one of the best explanations of travel I have ever read. By example, he explains how travel is inherently dysfunctional. This is my life, I ask how much the room cost and they tell me how to get a massage. Therefore, when people ask me a question, I know I am answering wrong, however I just give it a try and hope the answer flies.

I have people ask, how much do I buy a ticket from the USA to Thailand?

I think to myself, hmmm, I sure hope this person does not want me write a book on the subject as an answer. The question is toogeneral and all I can do is answer in very broad and general terms. I know he or she is not going to be happy. They are doing the dysfunctional thing; they want someone to take responsibility for their work of finding a ticket. To be functional, they need to ask extremely specific questions, and then maybe I could give very specific answers.

What gear to carry is not a very good question, however what gear to take to Togo may be a good question, or better.

I have been having fun, I know the site, I know them, I will not volunteer to be a victims of an editor, I know I do have not written a book on the subject of dysfunctional families, however, I am know this subject. It would be very dysfunctional to correct a page, then have the editor remove the comments, it would not function… hehehe

The functional answer, the answer that is not dysfunctional is the answer that works for you, however remember, you may be dysfunctional and what is wrong may seem right. Too much fun for one day.

(Too much fun for one day is a sentence fragment, but think, did it function?)

Dysfunctional Travel Expert