Motorcycle Taxi

Amlame to Atakpame Togo by Moto

Amlame to Atakpame Togo by Moto
Atakpame, Togo, West Africa
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Amlame to Atakpame is 28.1 Kilometers

I made it to Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Auberge Coordinates - L’amities 3000 CFA Bath outside with Fan
April 25, 2007
07 degrees 31.315 North
001 degrees 08.952 East
297 Meters of altitude above sea level

I am getting better at this Togo Travel thing, I asked the owner of the 3000 CFA Auberge in Amlame, called - The Meet - how much a Moto was from Amlame to Atakpame, they said,
- 1000 CFA -
I went to the road, I say to the Moto,
- 1000 Atakpame -
He says,
- 1500 -
I repeat 1000, frown, threaten to walk away, and he still says 1500, I finally say, checked he had mirrors, looked at his face, eyes, foot pads for me feet, they were slightly bent down, then said,
- Ca Bon -

I give the boy my front bag, climbed, on with the back one still on my bag, and had a wonderful ride to Atakpame in the breeze, baby mountains on the left, larger than normal trees, and a quick run for the big city. He never one, grumped on the price, and no threatening bully ideas, to extort money.

I forgot to say,
- Trop Cher -

Meaning in French, something like too much cost or too much expensive.

This was great, I am learning how to negotiate with the taxis with the least amount of arguments. I need to set the tone, I argue with them, then ague some more, say too expensive, then get on the taxi. The Togo brain believe all white men are rich, stupid and will pay money because it grows on trees for us, and someone is paying this stupid amount of money. They learned it somewhere.

My father would say,
- You never learned the value of money and of hard work. -

Africa does not know the value of money and of hard work, there is an inclination to not work, and take the money. All the leader seem to prove that…

I really do not care about the 2 or 3 dollars here, it is the principle of not making beggars and corruption on the planet. I am not going to enable them to abuse me.

I must argue for everything in a way, or they think I am stupid, and will just give them money for nothing. The art here is a little different than other taxis, as they are bigger, and will really get aggressive. I think if there was two of us, me and another person then I would have maybe less problems. The biggest problem with motos is to have the correct change at the end, or they will again go into whine and baby mode, anger, child tantrum mode, demanding to keep the change.

I am in constant trying to break the 10,000 and 5,000 CFA notes the bank give me down to smaller one, then get the 1000 notes down to coins. In a perfect world, I would walk into a bank and collect the change, this is not that world, and it really just normal.

I am trying to make my life simple, this moto mode of travel is in a way perfect, until my French improves and I am able to negotiate the front seat of the Peugeot Cattle Wagons better, I am better with the Motos.

I think I prefer the cars, but they are too slow, stop too much, and in the end, they just do not leave until they are full, but better for long hauls, I am in Skip, maybe Hop mode, not Jumps mode of Travel.

Moto, Motorcycle Taxi, Taxi, Togo Transportation, West Africa Transportation,

Amlame to Atakpame Togo by Moto





Togo Pig Accident

Togo Pig Accident
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We hit a pig, I think the pig is ok.

I was on Motorcycle Taxi, for what I hoped was nice peaceful trip from Atakpame, to Badou. My camera was on my lap, all was good, we was just clearing all the city perimeters on the road to Badou when the driver hit a pig.

I now have about a three abrasions, a two inch, a one inch, and one on my head, I think is about 1.5 inches. Hard to see, the mirrors are normal, no good, do not have to worry about vanity, I can never see myself that well.

Got a good thump on the head, nothing major, was a little dizzy, the bigger problem was the insistent, panic, noisy people around me, I was glad I was out in the country and less people to bother me.

I got them to lighten up and relax ,by asking this exceptionally beautiful girl to come back to my hotel and help me clean my wounds. She did not come, but it did change the focus from some trauma thing to some silly accident thing.

The kept saying,
- Hospital -
In French of course, and their French as really bad, I kept asking, do I have a cut on my head. I am going to go look up the word to check, the word for cut is:
- Couper -

I was correct, I was talking real slow, and slowly repeating this word to the growing group of locals, and one military guy. There is some military something right at the turn to Badou, and they came out to join in the saying of,
- Hospital -

I kept trying to get the Togo people to relax, Finally, after I stopped being dizzy, walked over into the shade and sat down. Ask for a drink of water, then they had problems with the word water in French.
- l’eau -

I guess in defense of their ability to speak French, they was all thinking in some other language, Akposso or Mina or the unknown local language. To get them to think French took a repetition and a shake them up holler.
- l’eau -

LOHW

I say this word all the time, I know how to ask for water.

I drank some water, change the focus from me to the girl by asking the girl her name. Then the locals started laughing, and the focus change from a problem that needed noisy chatter, to a problem that was not a problem, just a complicated situation.

The Moto driver had someone drive him back, he followed me to the hotel and wanted paid. I think he wanted more, but I just gave him the fare to Badou, of course he wanted paid for nothing, as normal, I had already advanced 2000 CFA in Petrol money.

I said goodbye. I am sure many people have moto accidents every day here in Togo, there is no room for error here. I was sort of trying to induce the driver on the way back, to not tailgate the motorcycle of the moto driver that wrecked. Every sense of good driving habits stops when you leave Europe or the USA. What is good, and maybe the saving grace, is because of the crazy drivers, and no laws enforced, nobody can go fast enough to really get hurt, they, it it is difficult to find a good stretch of road for speed. I think in many ways walking along the road can be more dangerous. A pig jump in front a car, the car swerves and kills you, on a moto it is a 20-30 Kilometer per hour bike crash.

I will have a few large scabs for a few weeks, I did not get to see the pig.

The screen on my camera broke, the computer is fine because in a plastic tub, inside the bag. The one bag is very bad shape, need a shoe repair man.

Note, the girl just left, she came over to ask for money… They never turn down an opportunity to ask for money. Amazing lack of care for human life, everything is money.

Togo Pig Accident





Togo How Do I Feel

Togo How Do I Feel
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 26, 2007

After my Motorcycle accident.
I am getting these small email from my parents, how do you feel, are you ok, do you need something

How do I feel?

feel like I was doing a two a day American Football practice in August and am very worn and tired.

I was a middle linebacker, I remember when I screamed through the line and sacked the quarterback in scrimmage.

Now, this brings on a torrent of screams from the coach, the Center and the Left Guard are worried, if it happens again, the coach say,
- You are going to run the ridge till Hell Freezes over. -
I have embarrassed them.

On the next play, for some strange reason, I am out of play, I fall down in the backfield around where the safeties would be, as I am getting up, the Left Guard and Center see me, I am out of play. But, I am the threat, they decide to take the cheap shot, as my knees clear the ground, I am hollering, hey, I am out of play. This is just scrimmage we are on the same team.

They take the shot, two fat, overweight, farm boys from Indiana, with a head of steam do a dive block into me at about rib level, I am on my knees, they plough me into the ground, I am punished.

This is a real story and this is how I feel, like I got punished by two very large Farm boys in Indiana who wanted payback.

What can you say, it is over, it happened, I was in a motorcycle accident, I accept it hurts. I really do not have problem with physical pain, it is pretty normal in travel to not be comfortable.

I was trying to avoid the fight with the Peugeot Car Taxis, this is why I was on the Moto, I wanted to be more comfortable. It is real ineffective to talk about pain, explain pain, it passes, I broke my femur in four places and walked around on crutches for a year. I know 99 percent nobody cares, yes they can give platitudes and comments, but who cares, I had to let the time pass, then all was ok. It is very easy to say you care, difficult to show it.

All the comments were just reminders I was damaged. Now, then again, my parents are worried, and they do not see American Football as dangerous, they can relate, understand me feeling pain for the home team.

Time allows all pain to pass, I have no choice, it will go away, I am positive of this, if I wait and try not to push to hard, time will heal all my pains in life, both physical and mental.

Health, Injury, Sports, Togo, Moto, Motorcycles, Motorcycle Taxi, Tranportation

Togo How Do I Feel





Motorcycle Purchased in Togo

Motorcycle Purchased in Togo
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, July 10, 2007



125 CC Sanya, Electric Start, Four Cycle for 325,000 CFA and 50,000 CFA for Insurance and Plates, this is about 750-800 US dollars, and I should be able to resell it for about 450-500 or more after one year of use.

I am now the semi-proud owner of a 125 CC large chasis Sanya, made in China motorcycle. It was an internal fight, a struggle up to the moment I rode away form the shop, should I or shouldn’t I buy this motorcycle. In the end, I think I am safer to drive the motorcyle myself on roads with very few cars. West Africa has what I would say is very light traffic, except in largest city per country.

I feel that a person who knows a road is a better driver than a person who does not know the road. However, these are not difficult to drive roads.

I must use a motorcycle, I have no choice, I must either take a Motorcycle Taxi or I must drive my own motorcycle. If I thought I would stop taking motorcycle taxis or that was even remotely possible in Togo, I would have abandoned the idea of buying a motorcyle.

I just returned from an afternoon drive around the city, I feel confident now in my decision, I was not in one too-close-to-the-other-motorcyle moment the whole time I was gone. Normally, what is difficult for me to handle of their driving is they will not allow more than the width of a persons distance when they pass either a person walking or another motorcycle. This is not enough allowance for human error. If a person sways or jumped into the road, there would be an accident. When I driver I allot adequate space between me and the othere people walking or driving to allow time to stop.

I feel safer now, I do hope I am not delusional.

I drove up many a small lanes, drove way up the hills of Atakpame, and around in small neighborhoods. I saw in one hour more small unique area then I knew existed, they were just annoyingly too far of a walk to explore before. I am thinking this is my new exploring the world friend. A motorcyle will go many remote places and allow me to take more photos of my world.

Motorcycle Purchased in Togo