Togo Budget

Kpalime Atakpame Togo Map

Kpalime Atakpame Togo Map
Kpalime Togo West Africa

I can go left, I can go right, I can both, I will nomadically wonder from place to place with a semi-tentative plan of regrouping in Atakpalme.

I am thinking of first going towards the Ghana Border to find a border hotel. Plus, I like the frontiers or border cities, I like to watch culture clashes. I truly believe any self-respecting guide should have or show a hotel on both sides of a border for safety. When a person gets into a five day haggle over their insurance on a car, motorcycle, when a person bounces off a border for Visa problems, they need to decompress and get a room, life is dangerous when you are being angry.

There are strategic rooms needed in cities, with no big tourist attractions. The borders and near bus stops, are a good start as strategic hotels not tourist hotels.

Michael stopped over and told me these words while I was typing.
- Chambre Passager -

There is a hierarchy of cost here on hotels.
Hotel is expensive
Auberge is below.
Chambre Passager is below and I suspect spelled wrong.

Often everyone say or quotes, that it is not the destination that is important, then take off like a bat out of hell for the next destination, never slowing down until they arrive.

Nomad what does is mean, wonder what does it mean. I take this Hobo Vagabond, wonder the planet nomad like personal.

Kpalime Atakpame Togo Map

Togo Children Photo

Togo Children Photo
Kametonou Togo West Africa

Togo Children diligently helping their mother do the laundry in the river.

There is a small river that creates the border between Ghana and Togo. On the Togo side these children are helping their mothers to do their laundry in the shallows of the river. It was if, they shrunk the children from adult to small size.

While the children are washing clothes, they are often trying to decide if they should go and bath with the major group of children. Fun to watch as they continually jump in and out of the water, trying to be small adults and finish the laundry, yet at the same time be children and go play in the water.

This seems to be a daily ritual, the water is a playground for the children, it is cool, shaded, and a very small set of rapids creates a pleasant place for the life of this village.

The next day the owner of the rooms we rented did my laundry for free, somewhat as a Cadeau to me. I am learning, if I am to get a Cadeau or gift in return, this type of Cadeau is going to be laundry, or something they can give that does not normally cost money.

I was delighted to have my laundry done by a person that can do this better than me, and also know they rinsed it well. Water is always short in supply as they need to carry it from the collection points. There is plenty of water in South Togo, yet the carrying of water make them sticky on the use. They washed my clothes in the stream, thus plenty of water and the rising cycle was done well.

The rip me off prices of laundry in West Africa demands, I normally do my laundry myself. Actually the best way to have you laundry done is to count all your clothes, remember the number, and pay some local to do them, not the hotels if you care about a budget.

Girls will volunteer to do my laundry.

Togo Children Photo

Kametonou Togo Auberge

Kametonou Togo Auberge
Kametonou Togo West Africa
Togo Ghana Border

Hobo OK
This is living in a persons home more or less, and is not a Togo Auberge or Togo Hotel.

Homestay of Ami
06 degrees 58.127 North
000 degrees 31.338 East
296 meters above sea level

On the Togo side, the city sitting on the border is Kametonou, there is no formal lodging, however there is a bar that has something, but we opted to live in a home that rented us a couple of room. There was approximately 5 rooms offered to us as accommodations and seem easy enough to find. I guess the way to find is to say Dormi or pretend to sleep, some people speak Ghana English here, so you can speak English, French or Mina is you can.

This is a Ami, her sister is Alice, there is a whole family of them and if you walked from Ghana across the river, you would take the second walk up and run right into here compound home. However, the best is to look for her, if you is home or in the village.
The next for sure closest place to sleep in at the Auberge Papillon for 3000 CFA or there are two places that you need a car called the Campemount or Nectar something in the small village of Konda, Togo about 20 minutes down the road from the Togo - Ghana border.

More or less Kpalime is about 30 minutes of direct time travel from the border. A Moto is 1100 CFA and a Car is maybe 500 to Kpalime from the border, and you must negotiate.

Kametonou Togo Auberge

Cheap Room in Good Hotel

Cheap Room in Good Hotel
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I have found the cheapest room, in a good hotel, maybe the cheapest room here.

I decided I needed a different Auberge or Hotel, or Pas Cher accommodation, therefore about 7:30 am this morning; I left the My Diana Auberge. My friend Ami has quit the job there, and is gone, now
the place has gone from acceptable to not ok. I do not understand, yet it appears to be a huge electricity problem.

I was paying 5000 CFA for a fan room, with no electricity most of the day yesterday, then they turned on the generator at about 7:30 after I continued to holler at them for 20 minutes. I did my best to educate them to the curse words in English.

I am now paying 6,500 CFA and have Air Conditioning in the room, and at 1:28 pm, the electricity has commenced. It stopped at about 9:00 am, and they told me, you will now have electricity after noon, whether by normal public service or by generator.

I am in something called the Providence Auberge and I do not know where it is located, I do know I am far from the ocean. Not a big deal as the oceans is not used to speak of in Lome, Togo. I did a 1000 CFA tour of the hotels of Lome, and after many hotels, dumps and other, I found this one, under a big tree. The big tree makes this place about 10 degrees cooler.

Togo has been an education in how to find acceptable lodging. There are landmines about me, as I realize one small bad choice, and I live in a headache. This Auberge Providence, location unknown, is great so far, they have provided me more or less in Africa terms, exactly what they said. I was told the electricity would start at 12 noon, and it came on at 1:30, so right on time in African terms.

I discovered many smaller hotel, and have differentiated between Pas Cher or Cheap and not fun, or not Amical. I think that mean friendly, in French. A person wrote and said that the room at the Ghana - Togo border seemed good, as I said, very quiet, cool, easy to sleep, friendly and cultural.

That room was good, yet I do come from a culture where there is a toilet, shower and electricity. This is many ways a constant goal, how to bring my travelers nest up to my standards, yet live in the bush. I need big batteries, the lights are not a problem, and I have this hand wind up lamp given to me by Chris that is great. I need more batteries for my computer; I cannot work on my computer more than about 3 hours before the batteries are gone. There is also a severe shortage of English books in West Africa to read.

I think the number one thing most travelers need though is a place to party or a buvette, and they need some fast type action party, something that makes them feel like they went out in their own country. If you read both the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guides, you will see they continually tell the tourist and travelers how to find party type entertainment. I am fortunate in a way; I do not need this type of social life. I could have lived at the border for weeks, yet in the end, my desire to keep my internet pages current conflicts with the location of the village. It was in the middle of where the map said, and the map said, cell phone access existed. There were zero bars of signal.

I have found one new way to get a great room, I go to a more expensive hotel, and have them show me all the rooms. It seems a requirement that all white people must look at the most expensive rooms and say no, before they will take us to the cheap rooms. I told them, I want a Pas Cher room and finally they found the cheap one, when they understood I was serious. Therefore, I have the facilities of a 10 Mille room or 10,000 - 13,000 CFA room, and live in room for 6,500 with inside bath and toilet and air conditioning. I am going to try this approach more. I will go to the 2 or 3 in the Roughguides and see if they have the 1-2 number priced rooms. There is close to zero tourist, they can be flexible.

There is always the best room in the hotel for value and location, sometimes not so obvious why and this is the art.

Often it comes down to my negotiation ability, can I hold the price and be hard enough to say, I will not pay that ridiculous price. It is clear in my head and easy for me, I think any room in Africa over 5000 is on the ridiculous price level in West Africa. I have lived all over the planet, I am positive these rooms are overpriced. Believing in your price is the first objective in negotiations. I know they are overpriced, so I am going for the correct prices now, and not being tolerant.

Cheap Room in Good Hotel

500 CFA for Togo Laundry

500 CFA for Togo Laundry
Danyi Apeyeme Togo Homestay
Sunday, April 22, 2007

I had my laundry down yesterday for 500 CFA or about one US dollars and about 10 dollars less than the hotels. I also think it was done about five times better.

The girl was exceptional and I gave here 1000 CFA after she realized the number of clothes I had. The motos allow the wind and the dust of the red roads to accumulate in my clothes. I have a line in my room constantly and am constantly washing my own clothes. I refuse to pay the tourist fare prices here in Togo or West Africa.

This is my new friend Saficoh who is washing my grungy red dust filled clothes.

This girl and I am think her husband, this is under negotiations is working in this Chinois Chinese Massage and Acupuncture shop, I think it is some trend or fashion in Togo

This is an interesting photo of the kitchen, separated from the main room that is for sleeping, this is actually two kitchens for two families. The doors or steel, chicken wire on the windows and soot black coming from holes at the roof line that is steel.

Laundry Wash, Togo Laundry Wash, Togo, Togo Budget,

500 CFA for Togo Laundry

Togo Beignet

Togo Beignet
Badou Togo West Africa

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

Beignet d Haricot Piment Sel

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

Literally this is

Fried Bread of Bean Pepper Salt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Togo Beignet

Togo Supermarket and Food Cost

Togo Supermarket and Food Cost
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, June 14, 2007

A big supermarket is expensive and the smaller Togo neighborhood ones are cheaper.

I took a taxi to the Palm Beach Hotel, then went to the ATM machine around the corner, went into a large Grocery I think the name is Leader Price. Well, I am trying to buy a light bulb, and they seem to all be about 500-700 CFA. I buy a lot of canned vegetables, peas, kidney beans, string beans and Haricot Blancs, etc.

I have gone to the larger stores many times, Ramco is a big chain here, however I have only seen in Lome. It has continually confused me, as I finally am learning the best food prices.

I swear, I am almost positive the bigger the store, the more I pay, just opposite of what I would anticipate. I tend still go to the bigger stores because there is a bigger selection, however for any normal staples like Laundry soap or Insect sprays, I go to the small Togo owned stores.

The same insecticide is 2000 in the big store and 1000 in the corner store here in the neighborhood.

It is hard to understand, I think there is an European cultural variance here in operation. I remember in Belgium, I could buy bread from the Turkey people for half the price of the Belgium people and the Belgium people would still pay double.

Often price is not a sales point, there is some other economic variance here that is hard for me to understand.

Togo Supermarket and Food Cost

Two Economies of Togo

Two Economies of Togo
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Togo is may be one of them countries where 1 percent of the people have 99 percent of the money. I ask myself,
- Do I support the rich getting richer, or the poor getting poorer? -
I make the vote with my dollars.

950 CFA or 2 US Dollars to purchase, and is good shampoo.

99 percent of the people buy cheap shampoo, 1 percent buy expensive, this is a bottle of cheap Egg Shampoo here in Togo.

This in my opinion is part of the Togolese economy.

I went to the large supermarket called Leader Price, on the shelf is a medium size bottle of Pantene Shampoo for 5900 CFA. This is about 12 US dollars per bottle, I normally pay around 3-4 US Dollars outside the USA, and I do not know the present USA price, as I have not lived there for 10 years.

Togo Price 2 Dollars
Pantene Price 12 Dollars

When the average person earns between 500-1500 CFA here in Togo, to purchase the Togo priced shampoo is one days work.

This sounds a lot worst than reality, the Togo people have a very comfortable life. However, if they want to venture out into the world, if they wish to one time try the Pantene shampoo, how do they do it.

Fortunately and unfortunately the Togo peoples hair does not grow long, the average length of hair is between nothing and three inches. The hair I believe falls out after it gets longer, somewhat like the hair on your arms, there is a limit the growth. The business of adding on braids, tresses is a thriving business in Togo.

I try to buy Togolese priced products, and try to help the poor get richer side of life. Note that it is easier to find in a Togolese owned store.

Togo Economics, West Africa Economic, Togo Budget, Togo, Shampoo

Two Economies of Togo

Togo Group Generator for Electricity

Togo Group Generator for Electricity
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, June 28, 2007

I purchased this noisy little, smoke making 2-cycle gas powered generator for my room in Lome, Togo.

This is a Group in Togo French, it is not a Generator, and they call it a Group.

This cost me 35,000 CFA for the Generator, and I made a 6 meter cord that cost me 3000 to run a good wire to the room. The gas cost about 1000 CFA per day.

38,000 CFA or about 80 US in the purchase.
1000 or 2 dollars per day in Gas.

I now have a toy; it makes 220 AC or 12-Volt DC and has some small plug for a cell phone.

Cost of room in hotel with Group Generator is 6000 CFA; I am in a room for 2000 and 1000 for the petrol

38,000 dived by 3000 net saving it will take 13 days to break even and then after that I am saving a lot of money per day. Now, if I could figure out how to put in a backpack and carry gas easy, life would be confusing.

Togo, Generator, Electricity, Togo Budget,

Togo Group Generator for Electricity

Atakpame Togo Restaurant

Atakpame Togo Restaurant
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 13, 2007

I ate two omelets here today in Atakpame, Togo

Two, two-egg omelets for 500 CFA per omelet along with piece of bread and some ice cold water in a bottle, which I am sure, was not purified. I wrapped the two-egg omelet up in the bread, make a sandwich and life was good.

500 CFA is One U.S. Dollar, not the cheapest meals for the bottom of the HDI scale countries, however this is a good bargain in West Africa.


Cafeteria in French with a couple of accent marks and maybe I have finally put together one hidden ideas of eating cheap in Togo. I knew there was a Cafeteria in Kpalime, where most of the White people sat and drank in the center of the village.

There was also a place with a sign on it that said Cafeteria on the way to the Auberge Mandela.

Cafeteria is the word.

This may sound strange, however one word can make my life better. The word Hotel causes me to look at too expensive and crazy priced hotels. The word Auberge gets me down to reasonable priced rooms, and if I want to get rock bottom rooms I now say, Pas Cher Chambre de Passage.

If I say restaurant in Togo to a taxi, they will probably normally take me to a French restaurant that would cost a Togo person one half month pay for lunch.

Cafeteria seems to be the correct word for cheaper restaurant food and a lot cheaper than the hotel food.

I am excited now, I am going to try this world with a motorcycle taxi guy in Lome or somewhere, see where they take me. It is always nice to take down the curtain over the wizard who knows all the answers.

I normally eat street food or purchase food and cook myself from the small markets. Then splurge once in awhile and eat French or Lebanese food to leave Africa.

I have been checking the not ready for prime time site, it is probably good for the Hostel Toursit in Europe and fun to check.

Drink bottled water such as Volta or sachets of "Pure Water". Bissop juice is also fairly safe as it is boiled, avoid the lemonade "citron" despite its delicious aspect. Stay away from road-side meals if possible.

Ok.. I drink the tap water.
Bissop taste like crap so I drink the Citron.
I usually eat the road-side food, I like to meet the cook, see how the clean and know what life is about.

I lose or I win.

Atakpame Togo Restaurant

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