Togo Travel Stories, Page 49

Beta Blog Forwards to Newsletters and Teasing Techie

Beta Blog Forwards to Newsletters
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, March 16, 2007

I am teasing with my techie from India, I am telling him,

- Forwards goes BETA. -

I am not sure what Beta means in technical terms, I do know how they mean or use it, I suppose it has something more than Greek Alphabet for reasoning behind it.

What is mean to me is this, we have something that works, we think is functioning, but we are going to start using it and testing it, it is in the Beta phase, need to test and watch, not perfect.

What is happening is this, I like to receive newsletters by emails, I really think more people read the blog by email than this new RSS or ATOM reader system, I think they just add and disregard, adding hundreds of reads into these systems and forget. It is very hard to forget an email, I must delete a newsletter that comes by emails, so there is a reaction. This must be some type of Marketing 101 class, passive versus active participation.

I cannot use RSS Feeds or Atom and find them extremely difficult to use from internet cafes and others ways, requiring way too much effort and time. I can download emails and take home, read in my room.

We have made a forwards system, I send ONE email and it goes now to three separate newsletters serving system, it will start to activate tomorrow.

This means or the bottom line is a person can choose a few more ways to read the blog. A long time ago we added the feature, about a year ago, I started sending also to A few days ago, I signed up with a long-term helper to and an original sender of newsletters

A reader can choose as they wish:

Now, I guess I can sign up for the MSN newsletters sending version and any others I can figure out that allows me to post by sending with an email.

Beta Blog Forwards to Newsletters

I Feel Electrically Helpless

I Feel Electrically Helpless
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, March 15, 2007

I turned on the air conditioning, just long enough to cool down the room and to give myself a cool easy feeling.

Then the electricity drops to an unbelievably low level, I can feel it as the air conditioner comes almost to a complete stop, I can feel the compressor, the fan, the movements inside the air conditioner. I know it is hurting, there is a continually edging away at its ability to function. How long can this air conditioner tolerate the abuse?

It causes me great inner frustration as I know I am helpless to help the air conditioner, I can only leave and go to another city, where maybe the electric workers do a better job, the is nothing almost ok in this small quadrant of the city of Lome, there is a need to fire some workers for negligence. I am in places where the electricity goes off, and on, but not where the voltage is so radically variant in nature.

I do not know the theories why exactly, I will slowly endeavor to learn why, however my astronomically mechanical mind knows there is problems being caused.

I know the small black box in the computer electrical line is also squealing a complaint, and my portable cell phone is already damaged, small, continues to regroup and try again to function, and is presently ok, yet I know just a few more straws and the smallish camel inside the cell phone will breaks its back, it will go over the edge.

The enjoyment or bright side of this, I now can go into the depths of the Encyclopedia Encarta and learn about things like Generators, Power Stations, Resisters, Volts, Voltage regulator and try to learn what those big masses of glass, wire and purple looking glass mounds surrounded by a fence outside my home town is doing?

I am in a place where what is supposed to happen, does not happen and I can see the why-it-is-needed, but that does not mean I understand.

Now with GPRS Cell Phone connection, when the Encyclopedia drops the ball and can tell me no more, I go to the internet and it will take me on to step two for learning. I normally need to quiz a professional to go to step three.

I have never heard of this before, however, there appears to be a need to buy a large voltage regulator for the Hotel complex.

Time to make instant coffee water with my one-cup cooker before I need to use alcohol to cook. Addictions require maintenance.

I Feel Electrically Helpless

être au régime

être au régime
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, March 16, 2007

Régime in the French language is a word used in combination with the to be verb of être to say, I am on a diet or I am on a regime.

I say things by using words, we all say ideas or gossip by using words, we mix in a few facial expressions, body movements and we communicate a vague thought from ourselves to others.

REGIME defined in English: (2)
4. established system: an established system or way of doing things

I do not have a French dictionary that define the word régime in French words, like I would use an English dictionary to look up words in English and read the definition in English, it would be nice to read the French definition of régime.

I am on a diet regime or a health regime, this is nothing new, I am always on a health regime. I eat food, with the goal of optimizing my body for the best health and functions. I take them vitamins and avoid listening to Vegetarians and Vegans to keep the régime. I study the proper mix of nutrients, calories, vitamins and foods trying to optimize Andy.

I sort of laugh, I do not drink alcohol or smoke, I do not do any drugs etc, except coffee, I do not like to drink tea. The reason I say or think about this is because of how I use also, both the words moderation and health.

When a person is a vegetarian and they smoke, or they eat only pasta and vegetable on Wednesday and rice and vegetables on Thursday and continue to so and so forth and so on and keep this up. The words moderation and health have a congruency problem.

Drinking and Alcohol use is a type of regime, maybe alcohol use is a lack of a regime, and the addiction to smoking is a very harsh regime. Eating the same foods every day is a harsh regime and the monotony of rice on Tuesday and pasta on Wednesday is harsh. There is a need to have a regime of balance and have a vast combination of foods, nutrients and types of exercise.

I think this is why I like the word in French regime, it helps or allow me to think of a whole process of events, a dynamic lifestyle that say, this is not just a temporary thing, it is how I live, I have a regime.

The girl that taught me this word in French or sort of pushed me to understand when a person is on a diet, they are on a regime in French.
- être au régime -

She is funny, she is sort of a hard body, with a walk of person that has been doing too many upper leg exercises. She has pushed the barbells too much and has the glutes maxed. Actually she has no regime of exercise, however the West Africa body is genetically made to have a larger butt than us white people from the USA naturally.

The younger people are genetically very fit looking and as they get older everything gets bigger and bigger, especially for the women. I think the men stay smaller and more average, but the women continue to expand.

Ami has a regime, I am probably spelling her name wrong. She lies down in the back, takes a nap, then she moves to the reception area, puts two chairs together and takes a nap. She reads the bible, than puts her head on the table and takes a nap. Amazing regime.

Ami named after the Mina name of the day of the week is on a regime.

être au régime

Languages Learned Naturally

Languages Learned Naturally
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, March 15, 2007

I am in an ideal hotel, location, situation to learn French, I have an over abundance of people willing to speak French with me so I can practice.

My friend Peter from Germany spoke Thai, Spanish, English, and of course German, I am sure he spoke a couple more languages.

My friend (forgot) from Australia spoke Tagolog, the language of the Philippines, Indonesian and anything he got near.

Rene from Lome, Togo speaks Mina the local language, French and English and maybe anything he gets near. (Photo on this page is of Rene, I call them Bongos, the culture is of Bob Marley is the same, the type of Drum changes.)

These types of people make the study of a language difficult.

I remember beginning Spanish class in Indiana University, my freshman year and needing to study a language as part of my Liberal Arts degree. I got a C in the course, studied more than anybody in the class and realized, everyone in the class had about three years of Spanish in High School and I had zero, there was nothing beginning about this class for them.

These types of people make the study of a language difficult.
Ghana is presently full of the native English speakers, the Brits, Americans, or people like the Dutch or Scandinavian who studied English for years in school.

Togo is full of French people.

French people generally do not go to Ghana.
British or American generally do not go to Togo
Ghana is a former English speaking colony
Togo is a dominated by the French.

Americans travel to England and Australia and call it great.
French travel to Morocco and call it great.
South Americans go to Miami and Spain and call it great.

People travel where life is easiest, where they feel comfortable, and they should. I travel where I learn the most, where I am mentally challenged the most, where maybe it the most difficult. I thrive on problem solving, and doing things I have trouble doing.

I enjoy writing because it explains my brain; to myself, as I construct a sentence I learn slowly how my brain works as I look over the already written sentences. I can see how it continually makes the same combinations of words, the same problems are repeated, and sometimes I slowly learn, how to unlearn to not make the same problems. I know the persons who are naturally good at English grammar and the English language are annoyed.

These types of people make the study of a language difficult.

I need, must, do, will exclude isolate myself, and separate myself from the naturally good at language speaking people. There are classes in writing, I personally believe they would teach me how to write like the teacher. I think reading is the way to learn to write, I would like to write like James Michener, however I probably write more like Jack Kerouac and do not like to read what he writes.

I know I naturally write or say things in a quizzical, puzzling manner, I could use the word enigmatic, but to me the word puzzle is the goal, to speak and communicate.

I watch and listen to my friend Rene, an African man from Lome, who speaks language easy. He enjoys speaking French with me, in a difficult and low voice, hard for me to understand, the tone is at a level where I have trouble. He enjoys this, than thinks he is teaching, when he makes it difficult, and he is, but not well.

When he does this, he has lost me, he has gone too far over my head, he is speaking French too complicated and too complex for me to learn from him. This is what happens when I am around the natural learners of languages, normally the only persons who would travel to a French speaking location like Togo, are those who enjoy being good at something and another person being bad, they enjoy the power, or really fools gold power. They want to be tyrants, probably why they volunteer…. Hehehe

I need to continually adjust my group of French speakers, as I continue to learn to speak French, I will need to speak with persons who speak French faster and better to increase my ability.

I am naturally good at computers, I need to continually subject myself to extremely intelligent persons on a computer, however boring I may consider it, and to me, this is extremely boring, but necessary.

I think if I am learning a computer, learning to speak a language, being a volunteer, or learning in general and I feel very smart. Then I am probably not learning, I am being a tyrannical learner, not learning anything. I must feel uncomfortable, and have small accomplishments every day, the proper balance.

When somebody says, oh this is easy, I now am starting to remember when I said this to people, there is nothing good about making a person feel stupid. I have slowly learned the wisest move I can often make it to not say a word, to listen, it helps me to learn, and it makes allows the other person to continual to learn.

I am wondering if learning all these small rules for myself will ever be important, I enjoy them, however I know, and understand this small inner journey is for my benefit. I must continually give the wheel a quick twist and turn to enjoy the spinning of my life.

Languages Learned Naturally

Almost Ok

Almost Ok
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

There are small quality control problems in West Africa, Lome, Togo presently does not have electricity, it is almost ok sometimes. I was in a small panic today as I was preparing to travel up country Togo.

I pulled some more money from the ATM as I am not sure when I will see another Bank Machine. I have purchased this and that, then later in the day the GPRS stops working. I cannot connect to the internet everything was - Almost OK - as my new friend from Ghana was explaining, never great, but almost ok.

I am thinking is it me or is it the computer, or the cell phone, I am never sure. I thought, I have not changed anything, however I know that when I leave Lome the next person I find to help with configurations will probably on be when I return.

It is working again, I went in an copied all the configurations and double checked. You think calling support is difficult, try to think about doing it in French. My French is not almost ok on a telephone. I try to tell girls, do not give me you telephone, I do not speak French.

LO to 84 Decibels

LO to 84 Decibels
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Low Voltage and High Decibels.

It is 5:52 AM in the morning, I have been playing around for the last half hour or more trying to measure the sound level in my room. I would say I am in a quiet room, then again I am not sure, maybe I am not in a quiet room.

There is a window air conditioner in ever room of this hotel where I am staying, although the price of air conditioner is not include in the base price. Every room has a meter:

The low voltage in this neighborhood of Lome, Togo or the fluctuations in volts may have caused damage to the air conditioners. Or maybe running on lower volts than required causes them to make noise. They make this constant wobble sound, like the ball bearing are bad in the compressor motor.

My room is very quiet, it registers Lo or off the meter when there is no fan or air conditioning running. Turn on the fan and the sound level measure on my Radio Shack Sound Meter can go up as high as 67 and if I put it right next to the fan the meter can read as high as 90.

The fan is a constant, or fluctuating constant sound, a background noise and is ok, it does go up and down as the voltage regulation in the room varies tremendously. It is not an annoying sound.

The person next door, I do not have my air conditioning on, turns on their air conditioners and the wobble grating noise starts.

What I have learn here is that the steady sound level can be high with the fan, yet not be as annoying as sudden noises or different types of noises. The grating of the air conditioning next door to me is very intrusive, while the fan making almost the same level of constant volume is not.

The window in my room is closed, the window in the shower is open, I measured the noise in the shower and it is lower than the room in the bedroom. The noise though is more grating and more annoying, there is nothing to stop the sharp pitches and highs and lows, nothing to slow down the grating, however it is less noisy measured in decibels because that room is farther away.

Choosing a Hotel room.

I suppose I will eventually identify what make a good room from a bad room quicker. Any bed and breakfast type, mom and pop, family run hotel or quaint back country type establishment is full of quirks. There may be a common area where the family sits around and has big discussions and screams when a goal is made in the football game on TV.

I am identifying the quirks of a room and want to know in the hotel, which room is located in the optimum location for peace and relaxation. The person next door has decided to turn off their air conditioner, the stress level of my room has decrease, the overall enjoyment in the room is great now. I woke up because of both a small increase in decibels, yet the type of noise was obnoxious. Plus, I suppose it was time to wake up for me, or close to time.

Small family run hotels, hotels with less than 30 rooms I believe are better than large hotels with more than 50 or more rooms. I do like the mom and pop around, if they are friendly and have an obvious smile on their face. However, when I am entering these small bed and breakfast size hotels, I want to know how to pick and choose the best room in the hotel.

I am afraid of reservations, a reservation says to the hotel, he is committed, we can put him in the worst room and he must accept this as his choice. When I enter a hotel, without a reservation, they know I can say no to the hotel or the room. I take a tour of all hotels, choose the room that is the best fit for me, not another person, but me, some persons could love to hear the loud music or what I think is annoying children. It may depend on the type of music.

To identify quick, make the best choice, then not need to move or leave the hotel is my goal. I have been in this Hotel for about 10 days, therefore it says something good about the room in the hotel. If I leave in one, then maybe it does say something. I do not always know why I am leaving a hotel, it just feels bad and is time to leave, there is nothing in my itinerary or time frames that is scheduled, I can leave when the life gets boring or stay.

Sometimes in a guidebook a writer will say, try to get on the backside of the hotel and avoid the street noise. Sometimes this is easy to do, however in reality, there is one or two rooms in every hotel that are the best. Strange as it may seem, this has nothing to do with price. The highest priced room has the most appliances, TV, Air, Fridge, and is large. Small, quiet, isolated, and with a good breeze can be the cheapest room in the hotel. I like the isolated rooms, however with a window facing something good, a room where what comes in the window is good whether it be noise, sunlight or a breeze. Sunlight coming in the room here in West Africa is not an advantage.

Note a horn beeping of any kind is annoying and abrupt, I cannot hear any car or motorcycle horns, a rooster has started crowing in the far distance.

LO to 84 Decibels

Feelings, Noise, Togo, Air Conditioning, Hotel Rooms Choosing

Understanding the Cadeau

Understanding the Cadeau
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I try to understand the culture of the Cadeau. This is the French word for Gift, however there are many uses and many meaning, it is similar to the word Manana in Spanish, nothing is simple.

West African people will ask for a gift or cadeau more often than not, the better they know you, then up pops the question, how about a gift.

I have now traveled about 4-5 months cumulative in the West African cultures in my lifetime, and I am still totally confused about this word Cadeau or straight out a small gift in Ghana.

The idea of a gift seem innocuous, simple, plain and how could giving a gift or asking for a gift cause harm or a problem. I am trying to think this through, the problem arises because in any or almost all relationships of any type I have had, whether male or female, old or young, the word Gift comes up, and it means so many things.

1. A worker in the hotel wants to borrow my pen, I give it to the persons, then the person says,
“Cadeau” a.k.a Gift.

2. I am ready to leave, and my friend as me for a small Cadeau in French so he can eat.

3. I start to leave for a walk around, and the girl workers in the hotel ask me to buy them some chocolate, never an offer to give me money.

4. I am hungry…

5. Where a man is on a date with a serious girl or not a serious girl he must give the girl a gift in the form of money.

I say to a good friend, if I give you 5000 CFA does this mean you will come visit me, she says,
“No, I am not a prostitute.”

I say do you want a Cadeau, she says,
“It is African Culture, you must give a gift.”

A gift almost always means money, a German man said to me last year, do not even think about anything but money, they do not want a gift, they want money.

Beggars, manipulators, flirting, serious loves, and hungry people, everyone wants a cadeau. I tried to explain that I was American in brain, and culture, anyway you do it, when you ask me for money I feel like you are begging and for the girls, I think worst.

I have burned my bridges here in Lome with one man who I paid to help me find another friend. He is now daily went from a friend, and even a paid helper to an annoyance, and somehow he believe he is entitled to ask me for a gift…daily. I did not think much when he wanted to borrow my phone to make a call. I said,
“It is in my room, I do not have it on me.”

He than says,
“I need to make a call, let’s go to you room and get it.”

I gave him about 75 cents U.S. and said to myself, he is abusing my good will, and goodbye, not a friend.

There is a cultural difference about giving orders or request here, that is normal, there is the idea that you can command a person to come. A person will say, come here, no please, thank you, or less than an expectation, come here. I am not good at jumping, really annoys them when I just look at them. I do nothing, I just look at them, they then expect me to come, I look, and think, than walk away with no comment.

Strange to me to give a person an order and expect the should come.

I have burned my bridges, I have been too kind and generous in this area, now I will leave and leave them behind, and remember, do not be kind and give a cadeau, or they will never stop. I know better when it is a beggar outside my hotel, I never give, because the person will meet me everyday at the door, and want more.

The Cadeau, the line is fine, between a friend, a bum, a beggar and a girls that works on her back. I wish I thought they were hungry.

I will go to the next city, try to keep all my money in my pocket, not be too generous and helpful, and maybe I can separate the good from the bad.

Understanding the Cadeau

Computer No No

Computer No No
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I removed a drawer out of the nightstand, placed on its side and I am using as a small table for my laptop computer. I sit the fan to the left of the bed as I am looking at my feet. It blows down my body and keeps me cool, or as above it blows from behind me down my body from the open window.

I have a major habit problem, I wish to place my coffee on the nightstand, yet, I continually remind myself to place the cup on the floor. I know, someday, someway, I am going to spill that coffee and the fluid is going to flow down into the keyboard of my computer and kill the poor thing. I put this up there as an example of what not to do, I never, say never, I say never put the drinks above or close to my computer.

I believe one time I had a problem because I loaned the computer to a man in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand and he spilled beer into the keyboard, I remember… That computer became junk, and many months later, I remember I did loan the computer to someone.

Now, I almost never loan my computer, and only to person that are smarter than me about computers, even then, I must say, no drinks around my computer. I worry here a little about sweating into the computer, or dripping clothes as I hand them up in my room to dry.

Actually now I never tell anyone I have a computer, or try not tell them.

Computer No No