Togo Travel Stories, Page 28

Electricity I want for Travel

Electricity I want for Travel
Atakpame, Togo West Africa

If I put a solar panel outside my room, someone will steal it.

I am not going to wear solar clothes, I already stink enough without wearing the same clothes every day.

I need a continual source of electricity.

I do not have a river running through every hotel room to tap into.

The ONLY thing I know I do every day is walk, if I could harness the pressure of my every step and convert to electricity, then I stored on batteries, I could continually charge batteries to use for my camera, cell phone and computer. I really do not like the fact that my computer does not use AA batteries, what a headache. I live eat and drink on AA rechargable batteries.

If it is not run by an AA battery, I just say no to the gear.

Gear, West Africa Gear, Electricity, Togo,

Electricity I want for Travel

One Word of Common Sense

One Word of Common Sense
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Will Rogers
Mark Twain
Benjamin Franklin - A penny saved, is a penny earned.
John F. Kennedy
Winston Churchill
Jesus Christ

I am search for a concept, I want the way to explain, I want to know how to simply explain a type of reasoning used to solve a problem. This is a short list of people who could say something simple, and explain the big picture. They understood the art of common sense. The understood this type of reasoning, for which I have no good name.

Somehow, common sense is evasive, I search for it daily.

People plan for years to travel to a place for one month, in reality; they only need a passport and some money, buy the plane ticket and leave. Everything they need to live in the next country is already waiting for them when they arrive, just go and buy it and funny, 10 to 20 times cheaper than the USA and fun to do.

It is like taking Malaria treatment to West Africa… Duh, come on, they sell it here, and a lot easier to buy.

Pivotal Ideas - Is this a good name?

The idea for which all ideas pivots around, the essential idea, the benchmark reason, there is a way to explain this, and I will find the words.

I search for solutions to answers.

I learned today a funny lesson, a friend uses the insect spray in her home, and it cost 800 CFA for a can. She does not have a mosquito net because it cost 2000 CFA, and she has insect killer for 800 CFA.

The competition of the mosquito net is the insecticide, now the company that sells the insecticide is smart. They price it at 800 CFA per can; the price of the Mosquito net is 2000 CFA.

2000 CFA is about one weeks pay here.

The idea of business is to sell Mosquito nets and have everyone use one, the price must be about 500 CFA or one dollars US to be a viable option for the Togo people.

Or if the NGO-ONG would think, using insecticide as a repellant, and that is what they do, this has got to be toxic, bad for me, I use insecticide then leave, come back and turn on the fan, open the doors. They use it, then go to sleep, they do not try to kill all of them, the repel them. I think they need a sign, insecticides are toxic!

All the noise above is has one pivotal need to remember, the cost of a mosquito net has to be 500 CFA to be workable or sustainable.

I think there is a need for the world to grasp business first, and then try to save the world. Sustainable means it works as a business investment, not as a donation.

I wrote all this crap about Mosquito nets and hope, please stop thinking about Mosquitoes and focus, I want to know what type or reasoning this is? I do not want to know about Mosquito nets. IF a person puts a comment on this about Mosquito nets, I will delete….

Research, Logic, Problem Solving, Togo,

One Word of Common Sense

Mesonges du Tchoukoutou

Mesonges du Tchoukoutou
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sunday it the day for Tchoukoutou in Atakpame, Togo

Tchoukoutou is some type of corn mash beer, and Sunday is the day to partake.

This girl went to visit her parents and drank some Tchoukoutou, then proceeds to tell me she only drain half a bowl. I said, Tchoukoutou Mesonges, however she corrected my French and said, Mesonges du Tchoukoutou

More or less the lies of the home brew. She says she speaks Kabiye.

Sobabi is the high powered brew or distilled drink they make, I have started noticing signs on building saying Sobabi. More or less come buy moonshine here.

Beer, Drinks, Food, Street Food, Togo Food, Togo

Mesonges du Tchoukoutou

Off the Grid

Off the Grid
Badou, Togo West Africa
Friday, May 4, 2007

Off the grid of the electric company, or is this not participating, what if there is no grid.

I think this is the jargon or buzzwords of the solar, hydro-electric, wind and any other ways. I am not off the grid, I am going where there is no grid, or I am slowly trying to go there.

Electrical Grid

I am coming to believe the problem is simple math.

Take the electric bill and figure out my yearly kilowatts of electricity used. Divide that by 365 days, then I have how many kilowatts I use per day.

Go to the world of solar panels and say, I want to produce and store this X amount of solar energy per day, l think the sun shine hard for about 4 hours per day. How much for the solar panels to produce, and how much for the batteries to store, and please include all the other toys needed, like inverters, wires, etc and such.

There are people that just love to do this type of math and answer these questions that work with solar toys.

I have a village in Togo, it has 50 homes, how much does it cost buy the solar panels, and batteries to put two 25 Watt Light bulbs in the home and run all night. The technology exist, this is not difficult science.

I was just in this village of Akloa, there is a Cascade or waterfalls, theu are off the grid or as they say on the,
- Group -

This means they have a group generator, that supplies the one village from 6 at night to morning, this is not reliable information, but I do think they turn on the electricity at night.

I think, hmm, there is no need for electricity here, or they would turn on during the hours when a person work or not work. Sewing machine are those seesaw pedal things, not always electric.

Electricity is a convenience, not a need, unless you need it for work, I suppose I need it for work, to run my computer. I am trying to think of one job here where they use electricity and need it, nothing that I can easily think of, maybe this is a luxury, not a need in life.

I would need electricity to read, still a luxury, and I would want my children to read. I do not see reading materials, they do not read much, not like India, a newspaper everywhere for the cows to eat and the people to read.

Bottom line in the USA, if I could invest 2 years of electricity payments and go off the grid, I would say,
- Do it. -

Math, I think a solar energy person should be able to calculate and it they cannot, seems like the wrong person.

All this work, solar, water, wind, etc is not really the essential problem, the problem is to get the governments of these countries hand out of the pockets of the citizens. Any good idea and the country will put there hands in and want money.

I really appreciate the USA, a government official cannot just walk up and ask me for money, 80 percent of the planet they can and they do.

Off the Grid, Electricity, Water Power Electriicty, Solar, 12 Volt, Togo,

Off the Grid

The Trouble with Travel

The Trouble with Travel
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Ironic coincidence, is this a proof of Gods existence?

I received this comment in an email:

It is an amazing relationship, isn't it? The fixer and the rely on those that can’t be trusted. Does it get exhausting? Is there anyone you can release yourself with, where you aren't worried,
fearful, plotting, manipulating or being manipulated, someone you are not having to bargain with just to get by? Anyone you can just BE with, where presence is a mutually shared gift?...I guess I'm now writing about you, the forever traveler, and not just someone going
on a month-long vacation.

Until journeys!


I would say in a brief paragraph she has explained the trouble with travel, not the fixer, the whole experience. (And to always sleep in a different bed.)

My relationship between me and the people I meet on the planet earth. A good person does not walk up to a stranger, a foreigner, a person they do not know. It is the people with bad manners.

Maybe the started after this post:
I have been having this email conversation with Sarah, most of the emails are posted somewhere in the Help Center.

This comment is ironic; I am in Atakpame to take a vacation from all the concepts in the quote:

I become exhausted with people, the people of the planet can be extremely trying, they can be so frustrating you start to envision or have a desire to capture them, tie them up, then turn over to God and get a bounty for finding sinners. When a new person, ME, enters a culture he or she is not protected by the culture, this means any nefarious, bad, evil person that wishes to come up and try to manipulate, maneuver, sell me something has an opportunity. Nobody is going to say, do not do this to the person.
- They often think, allow Joe with no money to make some money, he need it, and will help or encourage the person. -

On 20 percent of the planet, not where I travel, in the so-called developed world you can turn them into the police. On the rest of the planet, they are normal people.

The art of travel in so many ways to avoid the bad people. If you avoid the bad, then what is left over is great.

I become very annoyed with Guidebooks, Travel Writers, and Adventure Writers who do not give me hints. Hell, I do not want hints; I want to know specific clear ways to identify the scammers and avoid.

I want to know who to avoid, MORE than what to do, what to do is easy to learn, everyone is writing about that. I want to know how to avoid people. I know in West Africa there are two easy ways, one is drive a car, and he second is to live in Tourist Hotels, the ones that cost above 10 Mille or about 20 US per night. Then life is insulated. The car would easily insulate me from the people. Then why come here?

I have seen very few people, I think one Swiss girl, maybe two French Canadians in my travel experience in Africa using public transportation, and me. This is three people in about 6 months of my life living in West Africa. In Ghana you have many volunteers that travel or leave the project and go on brief trips, they are not crossing borders. I have met one bike rider.

Africa men are very annoying, the closer I get, the more they know me, and the more they annoy me. I would suppose the Philippines men are often the same, and this makes the women love me here and there.

I am taking a pause here in Atakpame, Togo, I am in a controlled environment, and I am in a place where it is difficult to have a casual annoying conversation. I must pay a moto taxi to take me to the annoying cultural conversations. (Also boring, but good.)

This is a vacation from what you perceive as a vacation. I actually live here today, then tomorrow maybe somewhere else. I do not get to go home and recharge, I must re-charge here. No go home bivouac.

I love West Africa, the genuine normal people after I am able to somehow avoid the large gauntlet of annoying men, sometimes women are fun. Innocent, joyful, playful and curious, they do not now foreigners. I think the reason is also because they do not want money. They think 99 percent of the time about eating, talking, enjoying life or lying around like a big dog. What a wonderful society or culture, the majority of time is leisure. The do their leisure while disguised as work.

This is really 80 percent of the world, the under-developed part, the 20 percent in the USA, Europe and Australia etc are crazy, no time, I have no time, call me later. Here in Togo they would stop and talk all day if you would talk. The always have time, they do not let work interfere with the enjoyment of life and food is plentiful as the Garden of Eden, you can see the fat on the body, they do very little exercise and eat tremendously, if they have a problem, I think it is boredom.

I am going to give an example of a list I am making, I thought I already posted, maybe I did, and I cannot find or remember clearly.

I am making a list of how to avoid the problem people in West Africa. Pretty much, it goes like this, if a person does any of these things, pretend you did not hear, and continue to walk. They will give up quickly and forget.

IF you obey and avoid these comment, what you will have left over is well mannered and good people.

Togo Starting A Conversation - How they start an annoying conversation.

Yeh bow by an Adult - It means White Man
VA - I means come in Ewe or Kabrye, etc.
Spsssst sound
Cadeau - Gift
Donnez moi - Give me
Horn - On moto
Call Andre - Somehow learned my name.
Stare at me
Rastas - Always annoying and believe I want to talk.
Speak English to you.
Follow you
Grab you
Patron - Means like owner or boss
Blanc - White
Holler until I turn around, then demand I come
Tell someone else to holler at me, that is closer.
Walk into you - This is done as macho tactics.
Shake you hand - Pretend not to speak any language they know.
Have a friend introduce you, - Do not talk -

OK, this is a great way to avoid everyone.

How do you meet people.
I listen to the voices, children, and happy voices, inquisitive voices; there is also the polite person. I had a girl following me in Kpalime, she was a pain, she was so polite, and it was close to impossible to avoid her. She did everything right, the problem was she was 17 and wanted to come in my room to get a Gift, I was successful, I talked politely until she gave up. I find that about one day is the diligence level of West Africa, three days is an exceptional person. To annoy me for three days and me consistently say no is difficult.

The other good thing now, my French is improving, I can say no easier.

I am on vacation, the trouble with travel is the people you meet, and I guess I am tolerant, or I would leave. There is this somewhat idiot idea that tolerance is good. Tolerance enables people to continue to act badly, and intolerance of bad manners is what the world needs. Not a tolerance for bad manners and un-civilized behavior. I try to make a one-path entry into my life, by good manners only, if no manners, not behaved, they do not enter. What is amazing to me, the lesser the education in West Africa, the better their manners.

Togo Annoyances, Togo, Planning Africa, Annoyances, What is good advice, Why Travel, Why Not Travel

The Trouble with Travel

Movies About Travel

Movies About Travel
Atakpame, Togo West Africa

A person wrote, and sent a link with a list of movies related to Travel. I find this interesting, and would love to have a country by country breakdown. It is both good and bad, however movies are the education to the world of about countries. The bad part, movies are the imagination of a producer, writer, and is fiction. However, movies are more correct than BBC or CNN or the news.

I sometimes say to other travelers, you saw that in this movie about the USA, please try to focus, it was a movie, it was fiction.

However, on the good, movies do show us views of other countries, still normally some form or either romantic or tragic, but nonetheless normally a small part is true, not much.

The world as a whole is normally boring on a day to day basis, nothing like the movies.

Andy in Atakpame, Togo


Hello Rochelle,

I think you may be inspiring a new category for the site.

Books is semi the same idea, but for book. But you have made a list of movies, very good, Note, the reason I have never done the movies, is because I needed to make a page like yours to start people thinking. This page is excellent, I am not sure why some are up there.

It would be nice to have a small blurp or the reason why it a travel movie.


Name: Rochelle
Country: USA

Hey there. We have an extensive list of Movies that inspire or are about travel but nothing in category yet and don-t know how to submit our list.

Happy Travels,

Movies About Travel

Transportation Stops Africa Tourism

Transportation Stops Africa Tourism
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Monday, May 7, 2007

It has taken me 10 years of travel to have enough experience to say, and the confidence, maybe arrogance to say,
- Public Transportation in Africa is incredibly crazy -

I read between the lines of the book Dark Star Safari, by Paul Theroux and thought to myself, he took the easy way out.

My travelers pride was offended, I now learn maybe he was correct, and did not explain. I thought to myself, he is not a traveler.

He more or less hired taxis from one city to another, this is maybe the easiest, smartest, however most expensive way to travel on the planet.

I sometime think, what do I do? has become a financial success, I think, I want to just pay money and avoid some of the hassles. It would be a lot simpler to travel from Bangkok, Thailand to Changmai, Thailand by air conditioned taxi, then to ride a bus. I know the American way, the first thing an American does is rent a car, buys a car, think about a car, it is the culture. This is stupid. Outside the USA, I think a taxi is great and driving a car is close to asking to be robbed and killed.

I will admit and say, Africa is ok for a car or better yet a Peugeot VAN, or to buy motorcycle, bike, if you want to drive here it is safe enough, mainly because there is no cars on the road.

Paul Theroux understood Africa, however he did not explain, or I do not remember him saying, I am taking the taxis because it is the smart way to travel.

I am NOT saying a person should just hire a taxi and go from city to city in Togo. I am tentatively today saying, a person will enjoy Togo or and most of the West African countries more, if the take a motorcycle Taxi from here to there.

I keep thinking,
300,000 CFA for a new motorcycle in Atakpame, Togo. I can buy a new motorcycle for 622 US Dollars.

If I traveled 5 months or 150 days in Africa

622 Dollars divide by 150 equals 4 dollars per day to have a motorcycle; I think I would add 4 dollars per day for insurance, and papers and well with gas, say 10 dollars per day.

5000 CFA per day or 10 US to have a Motorcycle. The problems is getting this beast across borders.

It is impossible for me to spend 10 dollars per day on a Moto, what am I going to do, send the moto home?

This is easy, the cheapest easiest way to travel West Africa is with a Moto or Zimijan, I do not know how to spell and I do not want to look up in the guidebook, I say Moto and they all come. Zimi John seems to be the formal name.

Motorcycle Taxi or Moto

I want to pay to avoid frustration. This is the beauty of a taxi, most Americans or Europeans cannot afford to enjoy a taxi. I love to just say, take me here and I go from here to there. I get out of the AC Taxi, quiet, easy and quick not parking of the car, and when I want to leave, I walk out and hold up my hand, I am home.

A GOOD TAXI, I love them, a bad taxi driver needs hit with a 2 X 4.

I have completely given up on the bus stations or Gares here in Togo. They are made to volunteer to be a victim of abuse. I do not volunteer to be abused. I am thinking, I came to Atakpame, from Badou in about 2 hours or less on a Moto Taxi, the cost was 6000 CFA. I paid 2500 CFA because the van broke down, and it took 5 hours.

What is safe, I need to never leave the USA. The truth is, a car in the USA goes continually about 60 miles per hour, and a car in Togo and 80 percent of the planet is lucky to go 30 miles per hour. Africa has no police to watch drivers, they can be crazy, but for the most part, they are calm in comparison to most places, like Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Cambodia or Philippines. Etc.

I could afford to rent a car taxi across Africa, I think Paul was too smart, and just did not want to explain his understanding of transportation, instead was just bleak, or dark.

The problem with car taxis is this, it takes a lot of talking and searching and money to find a taxi car that will go from city to city. If I go to the Gare where they are sitting and would be logical to find one, and easy. I will have 20 people around me talking and it become huge soap opera of stupid conversations and demanding bully Togo people, all grabbing and saying, this and that.

I suppose I should go to the Gare and bite the bullet and see, how much to go from Atakpame, to Kpalime by car. Let me think, I would guess about 10-20,000 would be fare. If I could get a tax alone from Atakpame to Kpalime, it would be good. I would be happy.

20,000 CFA is about 40 US Dollars and a pile of money for a backpacker. I can get a room for 3000 in Kpalime; I am paying 3500 for a room in Atakpame.

I do not travel from city to city daily.

The math is painful, and biting the bullet and having transportation cost more than a room is difficult to eat. I have always felt that transportation was cheaper than a room.

I must remove the pain of travel in Africa, or I will soon want to leave or worst yet, refuse to move or travel. The pain is:
The Gare, the Bus Station…

Ok, rules of thinking.
1. No bus stations
2. No vans
3. Cars only.
4. Motorcycles that know the route.

This is confusing and complicated, but doable.

Easy way is this, I get on a moto and say go to this highway or road and drop me off, I want to be on the road leading out of city and leading to the next. This means, and I have never needed to do this when traveling. I look for bus stations; I do not read maps to find the road leading out of the city. I will not do the same as car driver, but with a moto and search for the road leading out of the city.

I should do this a day or two before I leave, that way the stupid motos will not say, this is the road, and I need to trust them. I can take two or three motos and continue until I am positive this is the place to leave from or stand. I suppose I can take a GPS reading.

The guidebook, words, there is very few ways to explain the locations to hitch a ride from one city the next. If I think hitchhiking, I am explaining better. Take me to the highway so I can hitch a ride to the next city.

This is more or less, what I need to say to the Moto.

Buying a 4-wheel drive and going across Africa sound romantic, but only about 1 in 10,000 people will do this. The other 9,999 people go to Southeast Asia, India, South America or Central and avoid the cost.

There is no doubt in my mind, getting rid of the small vans in Africa and replacing them with big buses would maybe increase tourism about 2000 percent. The white people just do not want to say to the African people, I do not want to get in a station wagon with 15 people; I will buy a car or motorcycle to avoid. There is this idea that to say something bad about Africa is racism, I think racism is to not say the truth like they are not smart enough to listen.

I truly do not care what any country thinks of me, I do not travel to Togo to make Togo people happy, and I travel to enjoy my life.

Putting five people in one section of a car seat is crazy and too difficult, my life is too short, and I am not going to travel this way.

Last time I was here, I complained about the cost or rooms, I seem to have sussed that out, now I am working on the transport.. hehehe. I will get this place figured out. I like Africa.

West Africa Transportation, Togo Transportation, Tranportation, Tourism, Planning Africa,

Transportation Stops Africa Tourism

Togo Beignet

Togo Beignet
Badou Togo West Africa

This is Togo Street food, found in Badou, Togo and other places I forget already.

Beignet d Haricot Piment Sel

One man says, or wrote this, it is a bread type of food, deep fried, and with an African type of pepper inside and salt. The pepper really is a good extra kick, I learned to like them before I knew they were made with Beans, Haricot in French is beans. If you would have said beans, I would have refused.

Literally this is

Fried Bread of Bean Pepper Salt

It is a little frustrating and sensitive to me, the Togo or West Africa diet has so many calories packed into every food. Pate, Fufu, Yams, Cassava, etc, then they put oil on the top of many things. This is an over packed country, the people are fat, there is no easy way to say if nourishment is correct, however if there is fruits around they eat better.

This is a lady in Badou, Togo, does not seem to understand French, is grumpy, and I am a regular customer. The way to buy food in Togo is often to just to give them money. Give here say 100 CFA or Franc and she gives you a bag with some amount you will learn the price after the fact.

My most cultural experiences and the best, I am have about a 1 in 50 chance of understanding what happened. I am slowly, it has taken 10 year of practice, but slowly I have learned how to understand a culture fast. This food as explained by one man, maybe the information is correct, maybe it is not, learning about food and culture is a process, not an event. I like the pepper taste of this bread like food.

I eat what is tempting to me, not what someone tell me is good. I do not like the Pate or the Fufu, therefore, I do not want to learn about it. I want to learn about what I enjoy.

The food of Togo is difficult, either I am in restaurant that is twice as expensive as the USA, and the same as France and the food is terrible or I am in the streets. There is very little middle ground, I like the street food 100 times more than feeling like a victim to an overpriced Tourist menu with bad food.

This lady prepared these perfect, strangely I had one on a moto trip to the Ghana border, and had to throw them away.

I have discovered by in Atakpame, it is rare and difficult to find the cooked cheese called Wagassi, I am sad or hungry or both.

Food, Togo Food, Street Food, West Africa Food, Togo, Togo Budget,

Togo Beignet