Togo Travel Stories, Page 52

Michael Crichton Travels

Michael Crichton Travels
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, March 4, 2007

I finished this book by Michael Crichton called Travels. It is sort of relief to be finished.

If I see a very tall, close to 7 foot tall man walking in the Hotel, I will have someone I can try to convince to clean the fan and change the light bulb. There is no way this guy would fit into a chicken bus in Guatemala.

Autobiography, Auras, and Adventures, interesting collection of essays or ideas, gives me a better understanding of how he writes or creates his other books. I do not like to read travel books, and my natural desire to think as this as a travel book, interferes with my thoughts of the book, I would not call this a travel book. On the other hand, I have not read enough travel books to say what a travel book is, and hope I never become an expert on them.

Michael is insightful, he can see the value of intuition, unexplainable experiences, and probably travel.

I hope some publisher talked him into this and he did come up with the idea himself.

Advice for Michael on travel, leave the girls at home, do not take a tour, fly to a strange country, get on a bus at 6:30 am in the morning going anywhere. About 2-4 hours into the ride start you intuitive engine. When it says get off, get off, however if you make a logical choice, stay on the bus, until you trust you instincts. It is ok to get off any time after 2:00 pm for safety reasons. The inner journey is done alone, where there is no path.

I promise to make no jokes about being tall or hurting small Filipino girls, I think you could fly into Cameroon easy. I am quite sure Afrique is big enough for toi.

By the way, when you get off a the bus, you are supposed to go look for a room for the night, that is what we do, it is an algorithmic process. Bring Shakira with you, it would be good for me.

Michael Crichton Travels

Vitamin Loading

Vitamin Loading
Lome, Togo West Africa
March 4, 2007, 5:29 AM


I have went to Niger two times, I have went to Penn State to talk a professor about Malnutrition. I have a web site now:

We are generating large amounts of data, ideas, movement, and effectively I have done nothing, a big zero to change or solve the problems of Malnutrition. However, I suspect I am right in line with all the other organizations and have a better than normal chance of doing something.

What has been changed, is I am now eating healthier and taking my vitamins as I see a direct correlation between good health, happiness and brain alertness and the vitamins and food that enter my body.

If I eat well, and take vitamins, I am healthier and have more energy, I am the overactive brain Andy as normal of the past. My brain was slowing down, it was starting to be obvious to me, I was lethargic and did not wish to do anything.

I have went from cooking in my room about once every 20 days to cooking in my room once every two days. I am sure in Southeast Asia, I will always cook less because it is cheap to eat in places like Thailand. Here in Africa, I may be cooking daily soon, as I become more organized and prepared.

Sadly, I think I ate and prepared an egg sandwich in Niger and got food poisoning by doing what I am recommending. Eating in restaurants is not safe, however it is also complex and confusing to buy fresh foods. Just the other day, I realized the difference between and old carrot and a fresher carrot, the one is harder or almost brittle.

There are many trade offs in life, I now spend more times searching for food, but I have stopped eating all the processed package goods daily. I have never ate in restaurants regularly, I instead walk around and buy crackers, breads, and carbohydrates. Not the way to eat, but healthy and easy, or safe to eat this way, just not the full supply of nutrients and vitamins. If I eat packaged crackers, I will not get sick normally. If I eat in a restaurant, I will get sick.

Somehow, somewhere, there is an idea, a - presse - that will guide me to knowing if the food is fresh. I am thinking, I must only eat street food where I see them prepare it in front of me, or in highly active restaurants and only the plate that everyone is eating. The more exotic the order, the more likely the food has been sitting in the back for weeks waiting for some nut to buy.

I drank a whole container of apple juice, it must have been a liter. It took me days to find a place that sold juice that has the 100 Percent on the box. It is all French, and there is such and allusive use of words, I think they are selling sugar water, convincing the public it is healthy, and putting juice flavoring in the sugar water, this is portrayed as juice. I now only purchase juice looking drinks that has the 100 percent on the box. When looking at what is represented as juices, I see that about one in 10 boxes is really juice, the rest are just sugar drinks with flavoring.

Hmm, what great fun, I can watch the veggies and see if they pick up on this, I seem that as 90 percent easily manipulated by illusions of healthy foods. I will see if they buy the 100 percent or the normal, I think they normally just eat an orange because they have no money and a box is anti-organic in their mind.

Vitamin Loading

Arrived to Work on Time

Arrived to Work on Time
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, March 4, 2007, 5:03 AM

Jet Lag

I am happy, I left the USA on February 22, 2007 and today is the fourth of March. I woke today at around 5:00 AM, and I have arrived on time to work. I have been late for work every day, and some days I did not even to go, just lounged around and did nothing.

I do not work.

However, I normally wake somewhere between 4:00 AM and 7:00 AM, then spend the time between waking and going to the internet café typing on the computer, or playing. This time is my get organized for the day time, it is my preparation for life time, it is my clarity of thought time. Here in Lome, Togo is very calm, life is easy, I have very little brain clutter that accumulates during the day, therefore if I wake at my normal time to start play, there is little clutter in the brain to clean. I will be super organized today, not just moderately.

I am looking for the clarity, that brings me serenity.

The problem was my diurnal cycles was off, I had jet lag, the body demands to sleep and wake when it wants to, I am not a person that forces my body to stay awake. I am an easy boss, if the brain wants to rest, it rest, no qualms anymore with doing nothing. I have nothing down well, this is one of the wonders of travel. I have slowly been socialized in these under worked countries to do nothing. I can be just like the locals, or closer, I can languish around, hang out, talk with people and not have a guilt in the world about doing nothing.

I just realized, the men on the corner of the bar downstairs, do the same all day. However, I think the experience of going to the bar, sitting on the corner, drinking the beer somehow feels to them, like they are doing something, they appear to have no problem with doing nothing either.

My workers in the USA , had no problems with doing nothing. I am probably wrong here, I am the weird one, it is not normal to think you should work, the majority of persons probably spend most of their time trying to avoid work, while I am always trying to learn to avoid working.

Not an important issue, unless maybe you have no money, then being lazy has a problem. I work at doing nothing all day, nonetheless, I get more done than most. I feel I am effective.

I have been reading the book TRAVELS, by Michael Crichton, it is interesting to learn how this very accomplished writer thinks. The book is more of a self-revelation or auto-biography story, then intermixes some near death experiences or high adventure tours so the name can be Travels. I truly think the travels is just want is says on the book, the reviewer says something about going to the other end of the earth to “see oneself for the first time.”

Oh, well, not good to start on incomplete thoughts, I will finish the book today, therefore, I am intuitively thinking, this guy will wrap it all up, sum it up, make a tally and a total, and explain why he assembled the book together this way, and how “Spoon Bending” is related to travel.

I think he does not like revisions, he would like my style, no revisions, and, I do not ever reread or change bad wording often, I just let it fly.

I am awake today, and went to work on time, I am able to step to the batters plate and swing at the ball hard. I can try to bang it for the bleachers today, I have tons of reserves, and I took my vitamins.

My body cycles have been adjusted, my body is in synch with Togo, Michael would probably like the idea of good Karma or Kismet.

Arrived to Work on Time

Socialized Smiles

Socialized Smiles
Lome Togo
Saturday, March 3, 2007

West Africa children smile, jump, frolic, and are just plain happy children, adults have dull eyes, dull faced, and often seem to have lost the smile.

There is a nature, nurture question here for me, where does the happy thought go? I am not sure, but I do know, that Peter Pan needed to have a happy thought or needed to travel into his mind and feelings and find the happy thoughts, then he would smile

Socialization, are people socialized to learn they should not smile? Cities teach people to not smile, there is something about cities that say, you shall not smile. However, what happens to a child when he or she grows up, that one day they decide, I will stop smiling.

There are many adults in West Africa that smile, however there is a many who do not, I am not really thinking about Africa, I am thinking about India or Nepal. If I think of China, I think of Stone Faces, impossible to smile, the face is stone.

I often think or blame the United Nations, and all the NGO, ONG’s for the lack of smiles. There is someone out there telling people they are less than, that life is drudgery, I am sure the African children do not know this, and the India children do not know this, although Indian children learn very faster to not smile.

I am sure there are places where life is drudgery, painful, earmarked where taking a shower or cleaning becomes a half-day task. They will slowly learn to skip the bath and live their lives.

Life is very good in Africa, there is lots of wide open spaces, the place is not crowded, if they banned motorcycles now, it would or could continue to be so. Everything grows easily in the jungle, there is no way to stop it, the loggers have cut down all the trees, therefore a plethora of farm land is available. Food is abundant, except in the desert where someone needs to say,
- Excuse me, you are living in the worst place on the planet, will you consider moving down about 5-10 degrees of latitude? -

The happy thought, I experiment with the more jaded persons, I say bonjour until they break, I sometime need to go multiple days and multiple attempts to make them smile. There is a black/white thing here and some of them are not sure they have permission or qualified to say hello to white people. Then again, the white people here do not walk in the streets, and do not roam around saying hello, they tend to drive the SUV, an enforcement of the I am different class system, purchased by money, a good old boys clubs, a country club separation. Buying first class tickets is a kind of tribalism, caste system, or class system, the first estate, where nobody says,
- Why do we have a King or Queen? -

A lot of this is because here in Africa I have found my happy thought again, I can smile easy, I can laugh and spontaneous joke and play, I have remember to take my vitamins, life is playful.

Socialized Smiles

Three Month Rule

Three Month Rule
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, March 3, 2007

I am stating, there is a Three Month Rule for travelers, I have nobody else to debate with, I have thought about it for years. I know of only a couple people on the planet that have openly, overtly discussed the rule with me, however, someone has to say,
- There is a rule. -
- There needs to be a rule. -

There are unspoken traveler rules, normally that non-travelers think they qualify to use or apply.

This is about the Three Month Rule.

If I stay more than three months in one location, then I have stopped traveling and have become an expat, I am living in a different country, I am not traveling or a traveler.

1. The counting of days or months is frowned on, no true traveler is clear about what day of the week it is or the date.
2. Doing a Visa run to another country, and returning does not stop or terminate the counting of time.
3. A person must have traveled for over one year, not violated the three month rules, to be considered eligible to think about the rule, talk abut the rule, all others person shall politely admit, they are not travelers.
4. The counting of days, the counting of months is to be very loosely enforce, nobody is allowed to say to a person, show me your passport. This is bad form.
5. The passport is the proof, yet in a accordance with rule 4, no person I allowed to check your passport.
6. This is an honor system, you need to feel guilty proof of purchase system, the only person who enforces the system can be yourself, you are allowed to cheat, lie, get quirky, make up sub-rules, however in the end, you will know if you obeyed the rule. Guilt and shame is your little goblin on your shoulder, telling you what to do.
7. Persons who say the rule do not apply instantly have defined themselves as non-travelers.
8. Travelers are not expatriated or expats.
9. After violating this rule, have lived in one location for six months, a person is required to stop the time count, they must start again, they cannot say, I have traveled for X amount of years as if it was continuous travel.
10. A person is not to discuss these rules with non-travelers.

All the rules above, violate the Prime Directive of Travel which is to do what you enjoy, and not care what anybody else thinks or says, therefore the Three Month Rule is moot.

I have thought two months should be the count for years, decided, this is too short, a Visa is often is for two months to three months. A good visa is offered for 90 days or the three months, a bad visa is for 30 days or less, a great visa is six months or more. There has been many considerations about this rule, however, the biggest one is I start to feel guilty after about two months in one location and say to myself,
- I need to leave. -

This rule and conditions are automatically activated and when I hear the words, I am traveling… or,
- I am traveler. -

If you are talking with me, Andy, and I say,
- Remember to travel. -
You can take it as an insult, because it was. This means you have explained how you are traveler too long and I know, you are not.

Three Month Rule

The Togo Debate Team

The Togo Debate Team
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, March 3, 2007

I am on the debate team, we are having a debate with the other team, both side have one member who debates, I am the person who represents both sides. How to debate against myself is sometimes a mixed up world, I will say,
- Stop fighting with yourself. -

This is the downside of travel, having to choose destinations, choose options, I am required to make a decision.

I met this man Tim from England, an ex-game making person, and he is trying to ride his motorcycle around the world. He has now taken three years to go from England to Togo, spent about a year in Senegal and a year in Ghana, now a girlfriend from Ghana is coming to Togo to visit him.

Applying the Three Month Rule of Travel, he has probably traveled for one year, and live for two years in locations.

He was very non-committal, he did not make the choice to continue to travel, in reality he made the choice in two locations to stay.
I asked,
- How long will it take to travel around the world. -
He goes this long story about finishing what he starts, how he has an endless need to complete something, alluded to a near-death experience and said,
- A girl will never stop me from travel.-

Spoken in the true male macho style, he is riding a motorcycle, but to me standing down the line on my list of macho. I gave him an out,
And said,
- I think I will some day meet a girl and never have a good excuse to leave. -
He did not take the out, or the choice.

Enough about Tim, I said,
- 25 years. -
It will take him 25 years to travel around the world, or as normal for the person who want to say something, they will cheat, skip, or go too fast, but be able to think they can say, I did it. He is Brit and seems to obey all the proper Pub rules of Brit Travel.

I am debating with myself, shall I hang around for a few weeks, or should I try to find a benchmark location about one to three hours north of Lome. Nothing spectacular about Lome, in reality a great way to avoid Black People here. The hotel, I am presently in is full of White people with black girls in tow. There is strangely what looks like two sets of French Backpackers, they smoke.

The reason to hang around in Lome is to buy things and finish small project, I have been trying finish and send a newsletter on the top travel sites of 2006, it not the first of March and not completed. I suppose I need to commit.

The Togo Debate Team

I Can Think in Togo

I Can Think in Togo
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, March 1, 2007

I am a recovering alcoholic, I passed the 20 year mark a week or two ago.

Many alcoholics drink to avoid thinking, they wish to drink to stop thinking about life, to avoid life. They wish to hide from the world, and climb into a bottle.

I find it strange now, however, I see the whole world trying to avoid thinking. I suppose thinking can be annoying, sometimes I am very bored. I have been a little bored here in Togo, as I learn to adjust to having free time. I hid in India and Nepal from the people, they just was too much in my face, I cannot stand the constant haranguing of my day.


I see too busy as the identifier of a person who is trying to avoid thinking, or keeping too busy. It is a very good way to avoid yourself or myself. I just keep too busy doing stupid things, sometimes smart.

Not all countries are the same, I have received some nasty emails from persons who wish or think I should be in love with all countries. It is sort of funny, really is just plain stupid, why does a person read a blog and then complain to the blogger. I deleted one the other day out of the newsletter system, I hope they never notice.

I have time to think in Lome, Togo, it is sort of a mix of issue, sometimes the streets are too busy, there are a lot of motorcycles or they call them motos here, they make a lot of noise. However, on the small sand roads between the hotels here, there is a peace and quiet that is greatly appreciated.

I can now think and enjoy life, it has been a long time since I could say this completely. I really enjoy the Philippines and Thailand, however, there is too may people. West Africa has about one-fifth the number of people or concentration of people. Yes, a city, is a city, however, I have found Africa pretty much deserted.

I have time, I have a thought to myself, I can dwell on an issue, I can think clearly without the clutter accumulating in my brain of too much of everything.

When I walk outside the hotel I am presently located in, I am instantly jumped on by about 5 people to buy this or that, they are learning, I just do not say a word, I do not answer them, I do not say anything, I just keep working. It is not natural for an Indiana Farm Boy to ignore people, it is city folk way of doing things. I try to remember, the next persons I met to say, Bonjour, or Ca Va or something, then I am back to being myself.

There is something to this, I am not sure how to identify it, but whenever, I walk around and there are people grabbing or wanting me to buy in a too forceful way, then I am in the wrong place. The hotel is not too much, it is only them waiting like the normal predators sales people they are, they demand to want to make money.

I was downtown Lome yesterday, in front of the Palm Beach Hotel and thought I was going to club a guy, he literally grabbed me or touched me. This is not common, a person doe not touch a person to sell, when they do they are wanting to get slapped side the head by me.

Togo has extremely low amounts of this type of behavior, India or Nepal has large amounts of this behavior. I can think here as the ratio of pushy venders has dropped considerably.

Tourist areas are the worst, transportation areas are bad, anywhere there is five star hotels and big centers of shops, many stalls, groups of mass people selling junk that nobody needs, then there is normally pushy salesperson.

I will leave the tourist area soon, this means I also leave some of the convenience like ok internet, the big grocery stores of West Africa.

However, I am a recovering alcoholic, I like to think, I like to be with myself alone and happy. I like to be with me, to think, to talk to people, to explore.

There needs to be some maxim or rules, one could be.
- IF a person really wants to talk to you, then do not talk with them. -

A rule of travel, hehehe

On the other hand, when I am in the most remote, never seen a white man place on the planet, then everyone wants to talk with me, I can not win.

Africa, no tourist, what a great place to think.
I am sure people wonder why alcoholics also go to places like this, or hectic places, or places like India or any under-developed country. They do so they can save all their money for drinking, and it is very difficult to get in trouble with the law, family, or social customs. It is easy to be a drunk, and nobody knows your name, there is zero commitments here, if you make a fool of yourself, you can move on down he road.

What makes life fun though is watching all the chaos, mixing, and the clashing of culture, lifestyles and ideas. Everyone is very serious sometimes, I find I get too serious, it is one of the identifiers of when I need to keep it simple stupid.

I Can Think in Togo

Amazing Africa

Amazing Africa
Lome Togo West Africa
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Africa is an amazing place, the life is slow here, the pace is slow, everything is slow. I have more time alone here, but I can see the noise, the cell phone, the cars and motorcycles will increase, there will be a slow movement from peace and quiet to chaos. I think the bigger cities like Accra, Ghana and may more are already over the edge.

It will take me a week or two to adjust to the Africa lifestyle, and remember the good and bad of Africa.

I was laughing as I purchased a baguette this morning, I could not understand the French of the lady as she said 125 CFA. As, I walked away I realized every foreigner that walked up probably spoke good French, I am alone here on the French part of life, everyone speaks French and nobody speaks English. If someone does speak English it is normally one of the working girls hanging around the Hotel.

Amazing Africa