Togo Travel Stories, Page 31

Are Hippos in Nangbeto Togo

Are Hippos in Nangbeto Togo
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Monday, April 30, 2007

Nangbeto Hydro-Electric Dam

Nangbeto, Togo West Africa
Hippos near the Dam
May 1, 2007
07 degrees 24,606 North
001 degrees 25.111 East
147 Meters of altitude above sea level
32-33 Kilometers from Atakpame, Togo

Are there Hippos in Nangbeto, Togo, West Africa?
I did not see hippos, however I did not go look.

I would say yes, my guess is yes, my intuition says yes, everything here says Hippos could be in Nangbeto, Togo. This is a relatively easy trip to see Hippos and there is a Hotel there, not a bad trip for a couple who has too many CFA or on an NGO-ONG budget. A good day trip for the Barefoot Hobo Budget Backpacker, cost is about 4500 CFA round trip or about 9-10 US.

Trip to Nangbeto by Moto.
This morning I made my move. I said, enough of this and that, time to move away from here. The Hotel had the music too loud, one fan broke, the next one they gave me was noisy, everything said to me, it was time to go. Including a conversation with the girls that works in Micro-Finance a the bank about Hippos.

She said, there are Hippos in Niangbeto, not Nangbeto. I opened up my computer and went to the Encarta Encyclopedia map of Togo, I ask here to point the village out. She looked everywhere on the map, and well, could not find it. I got out the map you are looking at now, the one purchased in the bookstore close to the Bafana Bafana Auberge in Kpalime.

She could not find Niangbeto.

I quizzed her, what did you see, and she explains and pantomimes how a Hippo dives. I ask here how many, and she say many in French of course. I says, how many in many?

She say three.

Not many to me, but ok, she did see Hippos in Niangbeto. I cannot get a clear direction from here, is it North, South, East or West, point on the map. She does not know, then I ask, how long did it take, she said, about 30 minutes. Most people in West Africa and the world have only seen a map one or two times in their life, they do not understand maps.

I finally surmised that she went in a car, then looked at hotel, she said she did not stay in the hotel, but it had Air Conditioning. She went with a man who worked for the Electric company and there was a Barrage. This is Dam in French, and I am feeling confident, this girl really did see Hippos or Hippopotame in French, and I am proud of myself, I cam getting good at saying it correct. Hippopotamus is the spelling in English for Hippos.

I think she felt she cooked her Hippo, and then put her own foot in here mouth after it to eat also.

My guess is this, she went with some guy who worked for the Electric Company of Togo to Nangbeto. He maybe drives there on company time, with a company vehicle, and works for the Togo Electric company and gets paid to go there. They went, he shows her the Hydro-Electric Dam and she also got to see Hippo, then probably while on this business trip he goes to the Hotel with her, and he shows her the Air Conditioning of the Hotel and she gives him a Cadeau for taking her to see the Hippos.

The next story told to me, was a fabulous one and she took her foot and ate it. She then tells me how eating Hippo taste good and the meat is sweet, I guess the Togo Electric guy has connections to eat poach meat. I tried to explain, she should not say to me, she ate Hippo meat, not getting brownie points with me, in fact you are really losing favor.

I woke this morning and typed on my computer, and thought to myself, she really did see Hippos, however where is Niangbeto? I trusted it was less than two hours from the Hotel and probably only one hour, even though she said 30 minutes, this is Africa time so has to be wrong with the time, Africa Time is different.

I am tired of the hotel, I packed and I think, ok, find a new home, and she says there is a Hotel next to the Hippos with AC. Sounds like a tourist fare hotel to me, but I will do one night if way 8000 or less and fun.

I walked out, thought about slipping out the back so I did not have to say goodbye to the Hippos and the two future Hippos in the Hotel, but what the hell, not point in burning bridges or doing contrary to good manners for no reason. I walk to the reception area and they are surprised, you are leaving, I say,
- Hee Poh Poh Tam -

They say, and I cannot believe it, they say Nangbeto. I am overwhelmed, I went around and around with the two reception girls on how to say Hippopotame and how to find Hippos, I showed them the map and they explained how to pronounce the place north of Nangbeto called Atchinedji, now they say, more or less it is easy to see Hippos at Nangbeto. Never crossed their minds to say, it is easy to go to Nangbeto, I did not ask, so they did not offer.

I ask in French,
- How long? -
No response or the blank face.
- How much for a Car to Nangbeto -
- Which direction, North, South, East, West? -

More blanks, the then start talking about Hippos, and I again repeat, how much money, how long for car, how much time to go there and I decided, enough of not listening to me, and I walk out. They know the Hippos and truth is, they do not know more.

I am going to Nangbeto to see Hippos, I do not know where it is, or how to get there or how much money, but there is supposed to be a Dam there and a Hotel with Air Conditioning and I am positive, it probably is expensive, in typical West Africa way of doing things.

I grab a Moto, I say, and show him the piece of paper, where I have written Niangbeto, I think, this is spelled correct and now know Nangbeto is correct. He know the place, I ask, how much for Moto, and he says, Trop Cher, he finally says 6 Mille or about 12 US, I think yes, Trop Cher, very expensive, I say,
- Take me to the Cars -

I ask, how far is it, he says, very simple.
- 67 Kilometers. - (Later I learn 33 Kilometers.)

He is a smart guy, I sort of trust him, in and African Time way and African know the directions way, he did seem better. He takes me to the Car stop, two motorcycle taxis go to grab my bag. I see no cars, I see motos and he sort of says, the moto is the way to go, even thorough three minutes before he said, I need to take a car. He said, 67 Kilometers and now there is a couple of Motos fighting to take me for 2000 Mille or about 4000 less than the guy just said, I think I just do not care. I say yes to 2000 and get on the taxi.
(Mistake. Big mistake I must argue over the price, make a commotion, say too much and trop che and beat up the driver til he says, this is the price. Big Mistake, I needed to fight over the price, to be explained.)

I go on a great ride from Atakpame to Nangbeto, the road is dirt, and there are a lot of girl with no tops on and off course the normal pile of wood on women head, as they are using all of Africa for firewood. I see a few small Villages, try to remember the name of Akpare as being a special village to stop in and look at as there is every type of culture along the way. We have cattle people, we have farmers, we have Mussleman and all sorts of interesting cultures. I am getting excited.

We go half the way, and it turns from gravel to paved. The electricity disappears when we left Atakpame and reappears when we get to Nangbeto, which by the way, it not really there or anything and I think it is possible the move the hole pile of clay bricks to another place or displaced the village. Nangbeto is now, or maybe it is a village, well now, this is a workers village for the Dam. I am somewhat worried, where am I when I get there, I may have came 67 kilometers, the gravel road is bad, and I think in Miles. But, I am thinking, no, not possible, this is not the Border of Benin.

There is a sign about Benin, what, why Benin. We are at a police stop, I ask, is this the Frontiere du Benin, they say Qui….Yes, I am going to enter Benin, they then say, Pas or Non. I cannot get it figured, I am hoping I am not at the Benin Border. This is a small country, somewhat possible. The guards want something but they cannot get around to saying what. I keep saying, I am going the Hotel. Finally, the moto driver is very slow, he did not eat his Wheaties today and is afraid of the guards. I say, we go to the Hotel in French, they point, and I grab the moto and push it over the barricade stopper or bump, and get the driver to start it. What is wrong, we are at a Dam, not a police station, lets go to the Hotel. The one tourist in Togo is here.

The driver of the Moto says the price of the Hotel is 500 Francs or CFA. The one man at the border who is beat up looking and spoke English says the price is 5000.

Both of these prices are reasonable.

We go to somewhere, and it is bleak, looks like army barracks with no army, I am thinking this places it just too lonely, I do not want to be on a lonely planet. We stop, I descent in French, and go into the Hotel reception area, which more or less looks like a reception hall, two me are talking. I finally interrupt and say,


This place is boon Fck Egypt, there is nobody here, and two workers that cannot stop talking to greet the only tourist in Togo.

I go in, and I say,
- How much? -
He does a pause, then he looks at me, and I look at him, I am wishing I spoke as good as French as my Spanish, I want to say in Spanish,
- Cuidado. -

It is a game I play when I am negotiating with people that see me as a DOLLAR Sign. I like to say,
- Be Careful -
(I want to see how good of poker they play, say too much and I leave, say a good price and I negotiate, say too low and I like you.)

He says,
- 15 Mille - 15,000 CFA.
I turn, and walk out.
You lose, do not pass go, do not collect 200 Dollars, go to Jail as the game of Boardwalk works.

He did the greed move, went for the big banana, not the small one, he accessed me bad and lost. If he would have said, 10 mille, I would have thought maybe, I would then go and do this stupid game of looking at all the overpriced HOT room, cooking rooms in the Army Barracks or what feels to be an empty Army barracks in the middle of Texas heat.

Not a nice girl with a pan of water on her head for miles, just boys and men sitting around doing nothing as normal as can be. This is Africa and they do what Africa does, sit.

I am thinking, this is isolation, I am not going to pay 30-35 dollars to sit in an empty room and stare at the walls. Funny part, I think the signal was good, I could use the Internet GPRS here, there was electricity all would be ok, I need the girl with me to give me a Cadeau in the middle of nowhere, this has to be the worst place on the planet to go and have or give a Cadeau.

Photo of the Barrage or Hydroelectric Dam in Nangbeto, Togo.

I know, if I say good bye to the Moto guy at the Hotel, I have no way to return to Atakpame, and I will be surrounded by every person in the area wanting a Cadeau. They was hollering it as I went through village, white men have been here before, and gave like idiots, turned a nice people into a Cadeau.

You need at least two NGO-ONG people here and me, they can talk to the Cadeau or Gift askers, (beggars) and I can ignore, not going to work, only me. I decided,
- Return to Atakpame. -
I tell the motorcycle taxi guy.

Hippos, I had stop up stop trying, men with gates, men with uniforms and all the could do is not ask questions and talk. I have no idea, I think there are maybe Hippos if I wanted to sit around and cook.

Ok, I wanted to see Hippos, but not this way, I want to feel like I am in the jungle, a little bit. Not at a big dam, with a bunch of dam workers, who sit and do what these type of dam workers do, they sit and look at the dam. The trip to the dam was very nice, picturesque and all the cliches, definitely a place to bring some girl for a DAY trip, not to sleep, unless I missed the plot. The bottom line for me, I will go and see Hippos, maybe to the North of Nangbeto, the river Mono is the ticket, every time the word Hippo comes up in writing, they talk about the River Mono of Togo or Benin and Hippos. I do know what Mono means in Spanish, I do not know what Mono means in French or Kabria or Mina or Ashanti or whatnot. (Monkey)

I want to Frame the experience of a Hippo, the same as my first Rhino in Nepal, and the Elephant of Nepal. That had to be one of my best experience of my life, chasing a Rhino on an Elephant, tearing through the jungle in the Chitwan Park of Nepal, really just outside.

I want the Hippo experience the same as the Rhino experience or close to the same, I do not like to take a great animal and wrap it up in an overpriced, hot and isolated hotel, and full of dam workers, I have returned to Atakpame and got a room in a different hotel. I think I hit pay dirt, got inside shower, sink, and a new fan, and I am on the first floor with a concrete ceiling. The bottom line in what rooms are cool, you want to be on the first floor in the shade with a concrete ceiling and another floor to insulate above you. To have the sun blare on the roof of a one story building Hotel, when made of steel is a cat on a hot tin roof.

This room is cool and 3500 CFA, and for 500 more, I now have a wet shower in my room, maybe ok, hard to say, it is a shower and not a dip shower, I do not know where the toilet it, I hope not the hills again, I think this hotel is ok. Wish I could remember the name. I got the price down from 4500 to 3500, I am doing good in Togo on prices. Had to leave the hotel to get the price down.

Relais des Plateau is the name, I need to say Plateau and the driver of Motos know.

The idea of having a big Toyota land rover and a gun sometimes sounds like the way to be in Africa… hehehe

Maybe the vision of Africa in a way, however nothing natural here, his is the pond after the dam, sort of a marsh or lake is formed after the dam. I did not get past the guard and the Moto driver was too difficult to say, lets go look. I could not be bothered with him, this is a problem of Africa, too much interference you want to give up, and say I cannot be bothered.

The moto driver came into the hotel and demanded more money, The deal was 2000 one way to Nangbeto. I gave him 2000 to go, 2000 to return and 500 because he was confused and sat with the Dam workers and did not help. He wanted more, because gave too quick, I must fight for a cheaper price, they always think, he will give more. He gets into a conversation with the Manager of the Hotel, Paula, I think, what does the manager have to do with my Moto payment. I then separate them physically, push them apart from stupid talk and point at the door, saying PARTIR PARTIR and corral him out the door, and intimidate him until he leaves. Amazing how being a bully can work in Africa and pay fare wages only begets a headache.

I am glad I know Big Dog Theory of Alpha Male, the sad part here, is a big dog and take over, and that is not justice, I just want justice.

I will see you Hippos, I am coming, I have the rest of my life to find you on my travel terms, enjoyment of life. Remember you could 10,000 US dollars for a tour and not see Hippos.

Togo, Togo Animals, West Africa Animals, Animals, Hippos, Togo Hippopotamus Hippopotame, Cadeau,

Are Hippos in Nangbeto Togo

People Will Talk

People Will Talk
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Monday, April 30, 2007

I vaguely remember 20 years ago trying to stop people from talking about me, or being very worried, Why are they talking about me, then there is Gossip, people talking about me,

I asked a girl yesterday,
- What are you thinking? -
She says,
- I am thinking about us.-

As in me and her, I was intrigued as I had watched this girl talk on the portable cell phone at least 10 times with her boyfriend. I was thinking, I have nothing to do with you, there is no we or us. I am your friend or I am trying my best to be a good loyal caring friend.

I keep dwelling on the issue of loyalty lately, my one person was trying to weigh the importance of loyal readers on his blog. The again there was a comment on the blog,

How valuable is a loyal friend? It is difficult to put values on friendship, however in a way, I see friendships weighed in term of time and effort expended for the friendship.

I help you, you help me, then I help you, and you help me and so on and so forth.

Then there is the late night telephone call, I am in Jail, will you come and bail me out. Or the better one, I am moving from this apartment to another, will you come and help me move? That one stops most friendship dead in their tracks.

I was laughing about the girls comment, I truly suspect you was thinking, I wonder how much this White Man will give me, and how does it compare to my Boyfriend. She is trying to make a decision as to where is most beneficial from a security, money and safety point of view, I can relate and understand, I do empathize with her wishes. The problem is I do not think she is capable of loyalty, I think she can be made to be loyal by money, however the idea of just being a friend without money or something in return is sort of difficult to imagine, or in her mind.

I truly do think love can be purchased, and maintained outside the USA, providing you never stop giving money and there is not a better offer given to the girl or man. Men leave for a better, younger model or add another to group.

On the other hand, I do not think you can buy true everlasting love. I think you can buy something that feels the same, everything is the same, except if the money stops, so does the love. I see this in the USA all the time, the man loses the job and they divorce. Or worst yet, the man makes a million and the women divorces him for the money.

I know how valuable friendship is, and I know, if some friends asked me,
- Andy come back to the USA, I need you. -
I would be on the plane tomorrow.

I do hope my parents and family know this, I keep telling them, I am never more than about 3 days away. I can dollar my way home very quick, the farthest I am away is 3 days and normally less.

What will I do to keep or maintain a friendship? I was a professional negotiator, I sold big pieces of real estate for big money. I need to weigh and enforce a commitment both in legal terms and in personal terms. A contract is only as good as person hand shake, so I do look at the eyes, their actions and how they think, I can weigh the commitments easy and fast.

I think or guess I can look at all the people around me and say at any given second how well they will protect me. Will they protect me or sell me, I am a commodity for sale in some countries. In Iraq, a person could say, I have a man, I will help you kidnap him for this amount of money. To sell a person to be killed is not the normal person ,this takes an exceptionally bad and dark soul.

A comment on blog: I see this as a comment by the friend on my side of the issue.
- As a traveler you are in a unique place. Sworn to fun, loyal to none. -

Hmmm, am I loyal to none?

I think this is a little on the heavy side. I see many people as wanting no commitments or loyalties so the can do as they wish. This is travel, there is no more selfish activity than to travel, complete self gratification.

What is the problem with travel, this is the problem, to find a friend becomes close to impossible. Why, because they know I am not loyal, a good friend does not leave. The know and I tell them, I will leave, I can come back, but I will leave, this scares people to death, you are going to leave me. A great way to lose a casual friend.

The comment was located on a post about a situation where I was 110 percent clear on my loyalties to a dominant female.

I was 110 percent sure, I owed her zero, I knew she is dangerous, she would sell me to make money, it is my feeling, I am not going to sit around and test this. I am going to leave this hotel today, she is a safe person, unless you make her angry or stop giving her money, then maybe she will try to get vengence.

I try to keep the techies off my webpage, they can be very vengeful and will work very hard to hurt someone.

I see people who get very angry when someone talks about them. They want to run to the person and say,
- Why did you say that? -

Why do people write me hate mail, in he end, who cares, it is sort of fun to hear people think about me too much, and to think a person thinks about me, that I do not even know is sad.

I know this, I am 100 percent sure. If you want to know how much a person thinks about you, do this, talk to a person, then as they walk away, mark the spot on the concrete when they walk two steps. The you calculate the time it took to walk those two steps. This is the amount of time people think about me or you. The two step of time, after the two steps they resume thinking about themselves and stop thinking about me.

There is the floater thoughts, I may have written something and the idea is remembered, to actually think of me with fondness or love, come on, I do not believe you.

Asking favors, a good way to lose a casual friendship, a great way to solidify a real friend.

I sometimes reach for my friends around the planet, I write them emails, up to 10 and many never return the emails, I need to call, or do I need to call? I often wonder who is my friend, I will go home and try to get a friend to come and sit around and allow me the time to listen to their lives, when they say,
- I am too busy. -

I try to say, will you email me? The say,
- You know I am not good at that. -

There is a price to pay to be a friend, the price is different with every person, I would say I am extremely loyal friend, unfortunately I have learned the bad way who was and was not my friend, and can quicker than normal separate or identify people who are my friend and try to lose the takers from my life, the emotional vampires.

I think good friends for some reason always find a reason to talk. I am amazed at the number of emails I can receive from some of my friends. A never ending conversation of idea and feelings, this is great.

However, I do not give loyalty to a person that happens to be next to me, I do give them the respect of being a human. I do not try to hurt them, even when they try to hurt me.

People will try to take and hurt you, they will try to maneuver you to give them all you have and more. This is the world, this is travel. Then when you are busy trying to listen to a person who is trying to take you shirt, you will lose a friend who needed you, because you was too busy with the stupids of life.

I am not going to edit this… hehehe I need to go look for Hippos, I was told in Niangbeto near a Barrage or Dam, I think there is Hippos, a person says they saw them and described in detail how they dive up and down, so specifics, was told to me.

Togo India Air Courier Needed

Togo India Air Courier Needed
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Sunday, April 29, 2007

I am up to my ears in shipping cost, amazing how much it cost to ship something to Togo or India or anywhere outside the USA.

I worked a long time on an Air Couriers Site and did way too much research on the issue before I finally realized, this is NOT for the average person, they just do not get it, and I am not going to sit around trying to explain.

However, I do understand why or feel I understand why a person is needed to be a courier. Because, I now need two maybe, and NOW or within the next two or three weeks.

I think I need an Air Courier that can leave from say:

MAY 10 to MAY 20 - 2007
Leave from USA and go to:
Lome, Togo and Goa, India

Carry a 20 Kilo - or about 40 Pounds bag full of electronic gadgets. We can meet the person at the Airport and make life easier.

Chris is helping me to put together a big care package, full of all sorts of toys that would allow me to live in the jungle with no electricity and use my computer from Solar, Batteries, 12 Volt this and that.

Now, Boy Genius of India has burned up what he calls a brick in his HP laptop because of a power surge in India.

I think India is way beyond my level of tolerance level of electricity problems. I would go solar and say good-bye to the India electric companies. I think the only way for him to run his computers is to have a big bank of car batteries and a solar power source.

I sort of want a 12 Volt Hydroelectric supply also… hehehe

To send a package to either Goa, India or Lome, Togo I think I can give a person 250 USA Dollars to apply towards a plane ticket, if the person is already on the way, then they would save 250 US Dollars.

I am not joking, the cost to send a package to Togo or India fast is expensive, and then the more important problem is to get it INTO the country. This is the function of a courier, to get the package into the country as personal baggage.

There is a secondary goal here, I want to learn, can I pay 300 US Dollars and buy the equipment to be self sustainable with electricity, and have a fan and lights, and power my computer. Plus be travel light enough to carry in my backpack, some big goals. A Hobo goal, live cheap, and reasonable.

Air Courier, Togo, India, Customs, Shipping, United Parcel Service, FedEx, DHL Shipping

Togo India Air Courier Needed

Designing Home in Togo

Designing Home in Togo
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Sunday, April 29, 2007

I am trying to get my mind around some questions that have been annoying me for years, many years.

What type of room is cooler?
I need to test a couple theories.

Now, what a bag of worms that is, this questions, just me saying the question makes me realize there are hundreds maybe thousands of type or roofs on the planet. I think thousands would be difficult to find. The walls and the roofs rather set the standard for coolness of the room, now in my opinion the windows or the doors are the problems, and people really underestimate the value of a tree with shade.

I may have found a test home, or more correctly, I may have found two of maybe four major types of homes to measure for heat.

I can run a very simple test on the four types of homes.
1. HAVE - Home with steel roof and no dead air space.
2. HAVE - Home with steel roof and dead air space.
3. NEED - Room with concrete roof.
4. NEED - Two story home of concrete with room on lower floor.

Controlling the variables is difficult, however to control the people is a more complicated problem. People in the more primitive countries do not like me to be curious or solve problems, there is not a big hypothetical, what if this, and how do we do this type of person that is easy to find. They exist, but I think the see me coming and hide. I call these people now 0 and 1 people.

I have found a few in my travels who can think in what if terms, and was thinking the other day while looking for some mosquito net material I have slowly developed an extremely valuable skill. I am slowly learning to be and expeditor to find sources in other countries. I can find items to buy or sources of information about 100 times faster than when I started to travel 10 years ago. I will blog this separate.

One subject one blog post, the secret to making money on the internet, or one of them…. In addition, a good way to stop getting annoying emails from readers. An adaptation of diary idea, and really is good.

People can be dangerous and annoyingly difficult, to allow me walk into their home and say,
- Can I read the temperature of your room? -

Well, it become a circus of silly and annoying complicated, overwhelmingly difficult to solve culture problems. To walk into a home owned by a Mina person, which is made of clay adobe, and leave a thermometer in the room long enough to read correctly at exactly say 3:00 in the afternoon is a taxing mental cultural frustration for me.

The simple way is to be a bully, but not the polite and I think they say, Gentil way.

Yes, this is the Gentil way in the French language or the kind and nice way of collecting information. This takes the skills of a trained diplomat and a double in negotiations with Colombian Kidnappers Then with the knowledge of a carpenter and research brain push of Thomas Alva Edison

I am thinking of that movie with Russell Crowe here gets that man out of Colombia and almost does the wife.

I am doing some extensive reading on the Scientific Method or maybe … just terms. I am trying to understand and identify the one variable of a solving a problem that is 100 percent needed to solve the problem. The one problem that is the lodestone to solve the complete problem the one specific issue that stops or starts all problems and solutions.

Malaria is a killer, I am guessing, but I think it kills more than AIDS or SIDA, and I am hypothesizing that all the geese are flying the wrong direction. I am arrogantly under the suspicion that all the Malaria or Paludisme research has failed to solve the one missing piece to this puzzle, that would stop malaria on the planet or bring to a Tuberculosis level end.

The world has solved MASS problems of Malaria and knows how to treat Malaria, however the remaining residual number of deaths by Malaria remain to be very high, yet difficult to say a big world problem, however maybe bigger than AIDS.

Malaria now does not make world headlines, as it is an old issue; a new issue is what world shattering news becomes. Global Warming, which in my opinion has not killed anyone is news, while Malaria an everyday killer and car traffic deaths, probably the number one killer are ignored. Cars are dangerous, they are killers.

Ok, this is the hypothesis in a non-thought out and lacking in clear explanation.

I believe that people in Tropical climates and where Malaria, Paludisme is most prevalent, in these areas there is a short list of small changes needed to alter in house designs that would solve maybe 50 percent of the now existing deaths from Malaria.

My ideas revolve around one specific idea or problem. I think people do not use Mosquito nets because the are difficult, awkward and too hot. I observe that the average traveler or 99 percent of travelers in Malaria areas do not carry a Mosquito net. There solution is medicine, they believe they will either meditate to avoid or medicate to solve.

There are so many dynamic problems to solve to stop Malaria, so many that the people who contracts malaria just stops trying.

I tried to buy a Mosquito Net yesterday, two hours of work, and no net in my outrageously persistent hands. The one shop wanted 26 US dollars, the only one I found, and the Hospital Store was closed on Saturdays, I now need to check on Monday or Tuesday, maybe again Monday is a holiday. To stop malaria a person in a village, with no electricity and no education one needs to just stop the mosquitoes with very simple methods, I think they do burn and make smoke Amlame, Togo was full of smoke. I am not sure the goal at the Hospital, do they want the poor person on the Danyi Plateau to come here and buy one?

The obstacle involved in using a Mosquito nets are so overwhelming against me using a Mosquito net, that unless I am being bit every 10 seconds, I do not set one up. I on the other hand set up one if there is a way and I get one mosquito bite. However, maybe the truth is when the no-see-ums bite me, I set up the Mosquito net quicker. I truly despise the task of setting up a mosquito net. In a room with hooks, made for a mosquito net, it is very simple, however this room is only about 1 in 100 rooms. I enter of hotel rooms in Tropical Malaria prone areas of the planet daily. I can however, strangely in Africa, find a room with screens on the window in easy in West Africa, easy, however NOT in South, Central America, India or Asia, they do not have screens.

This is a never-ending thread of thoughts to explain.

The most comfortable home for me, would be a home made like a very fully screened in porch, with a roof that does not turn into a green house, every wall a screened in porch. I am not sure, I think the tents in Iraq, have flaps that go up, I am not sure about the mosquito nets or having the sides with screens, but somewhere along these lines, an open air room.

Everyone is so pre-occupied with AC or Climitasation, they forget to design first a house that functions, there is a reason Frank Lloyd Wright was famous… hehehe

Non-Cooked clay bricks are not the best to make a screen porchs, concrete, the new worlds building material is better; a combination of steel re-rod and concrete could maybe work. The solution needs to cost less to build than the normal design and needs to be five times more comfortable than their present design. Then be easier to make, wood is scarce of expensive I think, these homes need to have screened window whereby you can attach screens… Termites? The bigger problem is thieves, home are probably built first for protection and later for comfort.

Connecting a screen to concrete. I discovered yesterday that screen here in Atakpame cost 300 CFA or about 75 Cents US per meter - yard and this is cheap, however still one days pay. This may be cheaper than the mosquito nets… ? Hmm…

I think in the end all is about fashion and trends, people build home to be fashionable or to rent to make money. They will build the absolutely cheapest and easy to build home, and rent it. I know a person now that is renting a room for 12,000 CFA per month or 25 US dollars, then has a room for shower outside and she goes to the hills for a toilet. She don not have the electricity connected because I think she cannot come up with the installation fee. The bottom line though is she does not care, she has many clothes and a cell phone. She doe have lights,(Kerosene Lantern) she may want a fan, she needs a solar power fan… hehehe

The end of this for now.

The world is this, I need to eat dinner, please call me after dinner, I am busy now, and I know 100 percent you know how solve all my problems,

Note when doing research in Africa, the biggest problem is the library is in the USA, and I am in Togo. The GPRS Cell Phone internet connection may be a world changing research device. A person can go to the problem, and still have the library with them. I was told Boy Genius for India that BGAN may start giving unlimited internet access for a set fee, I have yet to get or bleed the details from him.

I was hollering a guy the other day, piss down hill, not up, strange how long it take to learn not to piss into the wind or up hill for the general population of the whole planet and especially including the USA. Without a toilet, they would be helpless.

Edison, Scientific Method, Deductive Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning, Heuristic Reasoning, Problem Solving, Paludisme, Malaria, Mosquito Net, Mosquito. Research, GPRS.

Designing Home in Togo

One Dominant Female

One Dominant Female
Atakpame, Togo West Africa

I learn who Andy is, by observing my reflection in the reactions and behavior of the people I meet.

I often say,
- I am just a Dollar Sign. -

When I enter a room, the people in the room react in many ways, when I talk, they answer in many ways. Every action it reciprocated by a reaction.

I can see who I am; by the way, they interact with me.

Living in the same house, the same city, the same neighborhood, and going to the same job, one slowly decreases the number of new people that enter into their lives. Some people may never meet a new person and shake their hand, or say hello in a whole month.

Reverse this; my life is in many ways an ever-increasing number of new faces, friends, neutrals and enemies. I travel slow, and travel into the cultures of people, often you will read about trekking, mountains, breathtaking view, and blue seas. This is not people; this is nature and is beautiful.

Going to the mountain is good, live up on a mountain or alone in a room and you are either going to learn to love the person in the room or find a way to avoid, stay busy, drink, constant travel, movement, anything to not think.

In the still, in the stillness is where I am, I can only find me in the stillness and quiet of doing nothing.

I thought this was where I learn about me, I also now realize, who I am is reflected in every face, eyes, and reaction of each person I meet.

About 10 minutes ago, I had another African experience, and it is a vulnerable moment in time. There are these reactions, moments and situations that I have not been socialized in my culture to understand.

It is similar to Dian Fossy going and living with the Gorillas, a person has to take great care and learn the rules. A 400-pound Silverback, Dominant Male could be dangerous. However, I suspect what I would feel is dominated, controlled and watched.

About 15 minutes ago, I was standing around, making a cheese sandwich with these eight small pats from a round container of Vache Qui Rit Cheese. The women are in the courtyard, many today, there is three extra younger girls. There are three levels. The lower, temporary girls who are young and quiet. The two reception girls who do all the cooking or eating in the hotel. Then the Dominant Female, who more or less frowns down people and eats.

I was introducing myself, probably on hindsight, establishing my territory, and introducing the three new ones to me. I then try to get the one reception girl to focus.
- I want take a photo of …
- La Pate Belly -

Pate is a type of traditional food made of corn flour, and high in calories, a complete swim the English channel in a bowl meal, and eaten often, sort of the rice of Africa, that and Fufu.

I start to leave the Dominant Female area of domination, I am saying, I am going to go make my cheese sandwich.

This women is, as best I can tell, and I do not care, is the owner or the main manager of the hotel, she is bad Karma or Mojo to me, nothing about light being inside her soul, I feel the dark.

The Dominant Female, I do not know her name says,
- Give me a wedge of cheese. -

There are eight in the pack, and easy to say yes, I say,
- No -
Quick, fast, no thought, just a no.

The whole group starts jumping around, like the monolith in Arthur C Clarks Movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey. They are jumping, making noise, strange observation of people, and speaking a language, I rather understood.

Then, I walk out.

I walk back in the area, to again focus on the Pate issue, I want a photo of her big belly full of Pate and the future of her body. I can make a blog title - The Pate Belly -

The Second Dominant Female says, and this time in ENGLISH.
- The Mom wants a piece of cheese. -
I say,
- I know - both in English and in French, then I say,
- Pas -
In French and a No in English.

There was not a caesura, no delay, no thinking, go to jail, do not pass go. I am 100 percent clear on this; I do not give this women tokens, tributes and especially a Cadeau or Gift.

They all start jumping around again, I am sure if she did not like money I pay for rent, then you could say I was using a machete to cut the path to a quick departure. I try to say to the girls, I give to people that give to me, I help those who help me.

Dominant Female territory, strange how I just ignore it.

When I walked into my room to start typing this, I thought, this a very strange culture. I am supposed to give tribute and respect to a person that I do not respect. Then her little soldiers all try to induce me give her respect and tribute of cheese. I think, this is very different, there is top down hierarchy and the ones below respect the one above, even though the one above treats them like dogs. I see this every day, very strange, and very common in West Africa, the manager, the Gerer, the Police can talk in a way, that could in a way be closer to a caste system and tribes and religions have this.

I saw who I was by their reactions; it was a very clear view.

One Dominant Female

Goodbye to Electric Hotplate

Goodbye to Electric Hotplate
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Saturday, April 28, 2007

I am saying goodbye to my save money product, I am saying goodbye to my electric hotplate and going to use the alcohol cooker.

I am using just the base that holds the alcohol of the Alcohol Cooker. Yikes, I just learned this gift I received cost about 15 to 40 times more than my can of Tuna cooker.

I guess they call this the Trangia Burner.

I think it cost 15.95 for just the base, I do not think the average person need the rest unless they go jungle for months, and I stay in rooms. A windscreen can be made out of trees. A nice gadget, however I think I would use the tuna can, my friend Chris sent it to me.

Alcohol is very heavy!

I have been using an electric hotplate for years, and it is cheaper to use than the alcohol cooker. The problem is I cannot use 100 percent of the time, however when have no alcohol, I cannot use that cooker…
Note: Arabic countries make alcohol almost impossible to buy, because people would drink it and they are Islamic.

I think I need to try gas, normal gas, I can always buy it. I am not going to carry gas in my bag. But I could buy quick and easy.

There are many problems with a hot plate.

- It will burn up the wires in your room, and you will have no electricity in a badly wired room.
- Blows a fuse about 10 percent of time
- Blogs a breaker about 10 percent of time
- Burns up wires about 1 percent of time.
- Breaks about 1 in 50 uses, so I have to rewire it.

Cheap to buy, an electric hot plate in the world is normally under 5 US dollars, and you can buy them most places. Africa is difficult, because they use wood about 99 percent for cooking fuel, and electricity is considered very expensive. I do not know, about 100 Fran per kilowatt.

I have tried to make a few of these; I just cannot find the asbestos material to make a small 220 electric cooker that works also in 110 but cooler. This one I purchase in India broke about 20 uses, it is too big and has many sharp edges, and the sharp edges it not normal. I can fix this, but I do not have the will.

I like the alcohol cooker, not because it works better.

Because I do not have to hide it, owners of hotels get Hotel Hostile when the see an electric cooker. About 60 percent do not care because they steal the electricity and do not pay. However, I do not show them my electric hot plate.

Africa has a problem with electricity here and I am opting for the alcohol stove. It is smaller and easier to carry, maybe this is not true, and the carrying of alcohol is a serious problem. I have found a special bottle.

I would not be changing, if I had not found that Togo sells this special bottle, and I think I can continue to buy it, so if I lose the bottle, I can buy or replace. Replacing the container is more difficult than the stove; a can of tuna will replace the stove.

Alcohol here cost about 4 US dollars per liter, this is not cheap, but it says, 95 percent alcohol.

My alcohol cooker unit is on the left, I have the other half of what I think they call a Dutch Oven or something, you can buy on

I cannot find it, but I purchased three there, maybe discontinued, there is a top and a bottom, the pair together and make the safest place in my pack for delicate items to be stored. To kill the alcohol, I sit the pan of vegetable on top and kill the oxygen.

They have a funky; I would never buy Hobo Knife and Fork.

Oh, rectangular items are easier to pack than round or oval, and a ball is ridiculous. I like this cooker because it optimized the space in bag.

One of the worlds most difficult to buy bottles. I have two shampoo bottles I have been protecting with my life for years. This could work for shampoo but is one liter in size, very big, but it rectangular and not round.

I found this in the market, here in Atakpame, they sell used bottle of all type in West Africa, and this one is special.

That little insert in the top, has a hole, it meets the inside of the lid, what happens this extra stopper helps to minimize leaks. This type of bottle takes a lot more beating than you water bottle ever imagined. This is why a Coca Cola bottle is so good. The world abuses the soap, coke, and other drinks. This extra stopper almost guarantees the bottle will not leak. Then if there is enough length of threads, I am good to go. I will trust this bottle farther, the problem, any bottle in a motorcycle accident can take a good squeeze, but this bottle. I should be able to fill it with alcohol and throw it from the top of the door height and not break, I will test later for fun.

This would make a great drinking bottle if I could wash the soap taste away, a liter in size, and would not leak. Hard to fill because you have to pry the top out. Water is an item you refill a lot.

I may need to buy a Hotplate again for a room heater.

Gear, West Africa Gear, Cooking, Stoves, Alcohol, Electricity, Food, West Africa Food, Hotplate

Goodbye to Electric Hotplate

Walk a Mile in my Shoes

Walk a Mile in my Shoes
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, April 27, 2007

I enjoy learning about cultures.

The only way possible to learn about a culture, or situation or a problem or to understand both the good and the bad you need to,
- Walk a mile in their shoes. -

Entering into a culture, changes the culture, therefore.

I need to be immersed into a culture, until my presence become so normal, they resume normal social and personal behaviors.

Dian Fosse and the movie called Gorillas in the Mist semi discusses and explains with animals, what in a way needs to be done more with humans.

Dian went and somewhat lived with the Gorillas of Africa.

WEB Designer

Any way I shake it, my job is to be a web designer. I want to have all 6 billion people on the planet get on my page. The goal is to attract all of them. China, about 2 billion and I would guess I get close to zero readers.

I need to immerse myself in their cultures to understand what they need. I am in Africa, the internet is exceptionally bad. I tried to allow a girl to access her email account, the email box was so strange, I could not even figure out the in box, because the French over complicated it. The girls did not have a clue.

When each page takes about 3 minutes to open, when to write one email cost a days wages, this is what I need to empathizes with or the person who is part of the 6 million or the 5.5 Billion.

One of the best things that every could have happened to my site is for me to use this extremely slow GPRS internet connection. I am forced to empathize with my readers in China, India, Nigeria, or Togo, and in Russia and all of South America, Central America, etc, 85 percent of the planet.

I see a great value in having one click to go to a page, simple fast loading and I know for sure the index of is very bad and too slow.

I am culturally immersed in the internet culture of the world OUTside the USA, and the GPRS keeps me slow, I cannot pay my way around to a faster connection here in West Africa, I must accept a slow connection.

Cultural Immersion

To walk a mile in my shoes, to have empathy, not sympathy for others.

I want to feel what they feel or do not feel, I want to feel and know their world, this is not easy. I have to let go of the money, I have to say, I will not use the money in my pocket.

I think about going back up on the Danyi Plateau, then to live in a village with no electricity and get down to base level. I wonder what percentage of the population of the planet does not have electricity.

The HDI Human Development Index says that 49 percent of Togo has a water situation as this.

“Population without sustainable access to an improved water source.”

Improved, I think the should be asking, what percentage have acceptable drinking water. If you really think, living there or anywhere means the water is someone acceptable. In addition, if it rains, they can get water, so somewhere the essential truth is, where does is not rain?

Ok, I suppose it is a good idea to say, and educate people to the idea that they should not drink from the ditch; people do need to be told.

Immersion in a culture.

There are many signs in Togo and Benin on condoms; it is close to impossible to not have a sign. In my room, number 102 in the l’Amities hotel in Atakpame is a very graphic and detailed explanation in French on how to put on and use a condom.

Yesterday, I sat down with Bernadette to do my flirt, she is reading a bible. I look close, this is not French. In my cultural arrogance, I had minimized the value of Ewe or Mina or this local language to the point I thought they only read French and spoke Mina or Ewe. Here as a bible in the Ewe language.

By being on the fringes long enough, I learned a small lesson about the culture, Mina or Ewe is a written language.

I come back to my room and think, WHY, why is this condom thing only in French, and why are all the big signs on the road only in French. I am going to press this issue; I am going to find out why they are not in Mina ALSO.

If you are trying to stop AIDS, it is really pretty easy, you say to a person in your language.
- YOU will get AIDS or SIDA if the sperm enters your body, you need to use a Condom. -

The average person here, does not read French for crap, I need to learn if they can read Mina. I was talking last night with a girl that works in a bank, she spoke excellent French, she said something about them studying Mina in school.

Fringe Immersion tells me, children below the age of school age do not speak any French.

I am trying to get in touch with the observations, I discovered a long time ago, that to earn money, I needed to understand the boss, the job, or how I made money.

It took me a couple of years to know in the business of Real Estate or and Estate Agent to understand one small USA principle. That from 9:00 to 11:00 on Monday morning, I needed 100 percent to be available by phone to answer calls. I would find close to 90 percent of my clients in this time frame.

What happens is this, there are many ads placed in the Sunday paper. On Monday the person goes to work, and when the boss is gone, they start to call all the advertisements. Simple and easy to figure out, Sunday is their day off, they waited until they are paid to work, to then make calls.

There is a big time right after the dinner, when a person sits down to read the paper, they will pick up the phone and call.

Therefore, I needed to be available to answer the calls on Monday morning and between 6 and 8 at night. Simple.

There is some sort of reasoning, I am trying to put my finger on, there is an ability of some people to access the essential obstacle or identify the one factor or variable that starts the whole game.

In problem solving, I must find the one essential factor around which all other variables, assumptions and questions revolve.

I would say, if I am in a place where it rains, I could generally have safe drinking water, short of living next to a steel foundry.

I find that a candle is a very good, cheap source of light, I can carry in my backpack and use quickly. If in a stable place, kerosene lanterns are cheaper and easier to use.

I find that a Coca Cola bottle is better than any bottle or gear bottle I can purchase.

I find that screens on windows are much better than mosquito nets.

I find that sleeping outside is cooler than sleeping in a room.

If you do not have sex or use injection needles for drugs, it is very difficult to get AIDS.

The more I identify these simple chunked down concepts when I am approaching the solving of a problem, the quicker I solve a problem.

I want to be cooler in the afternoons in West Africa.
A. Come in the rainy season.
B. Go and read a book outside under a big tree with a wind.
C. Store electricity in batteries and have a fan that runs off the batteries to use when there is no electricity.
D. Open the door to my room

I think option not utilized by me, but utilized by man travelers is to go get drunk and be too drunk to notice. Hehehe

I notice the man sweeps the courtyard at 4:30 in the morning, maybe Africa and the tropical world needs to only have the third shift of work.

I do think somehow to relate to a culture and to understand, I need to be immersed and walk a mile in the shoes of my readers. If I want to know how to make a great web page, I need to surf and use the pages the way my readers do. I am making this website and I hope to have every hotel in the world on the site. Why, because I want to use the site, I want to know every hotel in Badou, Togo, I want to know every hotel, room, Auberge or place to sleep between here Atakpame and Badou, I want to have a choice. It is just too easy to find a room on Khao San Road, Bangkok.

I also want to find a cheap room in London, and there is an extreme need to find cheap rooms in Paris.

I am immersed in the travel culture, I want to go to Paris, but I am not going to pay over 25 Euros per night for room and I am not going to live with a bunch of drunken idiots in a dorm and call it fun.

Immersion, Culture Immersion, Culture, Culture West Africa, Research,

Walk a Mile in my Shoes

Room Feels 10 Degrees Cooler

Room Feels 10 Degrees Cooler
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, April 27, 2007

I am NOT sensitive to heat, or I would not spend most of the last 10 years in Tropical Countries.

However, I am the same as anyone, I like to stay cool. I have hit some wall here in Togo because the rooms are modern, and designed to use electricity either for fans or AC. They electricity has gone off a lot, and a good room with electricity, becomes a terrible room without electricity.

I am in a room in l’Amities Hotel, number 102, the room has NO toilet or shower inside. I was considering this when in the Auberge Mandela in Kpalime. There was always water in the Auberget Mandela, the room was moist, sometimes when I walked in, I could feel the water from the shower.

This room feels cooler, there is no water in the room, less bugs, and the room is more comfortable, because the shower and toilet is not in the room.
Humidity makes the world feel hotter.

Room Feels 10 Degrees Cooler