No Michael in Kpalime so I Go to Atakpame

The last time I was in Kpalime, Togo, I met a man by the name of Michael, or Michel in French. I have been walking around to his local haunts and cannot find him. I have sent two e-mails to him and they continue to bounce, this is annoying. The best reason to use Facebook is people enter but never leave on Facebook, and it survives an e-mail change.

Losing good Travel friends is trying, it takes too much work to find them to go and lose them, but it happens way too often. If you truly like someone, you need to somehow get a couple of backup ways to contact them. I suppose one way is to return, which did not work this time, Michel is off my social grid.

This is the only photo I could find of Michael, he went along on a Motorcycle tour of few small cities here in Togo. Not a good photos, but the photo also shows one of things I did in Kpalime while I was here.

Atakpame, West Africa --- Sunday, November 28, 2010


This man replaced the zipper for 1.5 dollars, I paid him two dollars.

The zipper on my computer / camera bag broke; I went to this tapiceria shop here in Kpalime, a booming business I think because of the number of Motorcycle taxis. I used to find how to spell the word "Tapiceria" in French. I searched and it gave recommendations, this is how I often check spelling.

Quick Service
I took the computer bag to this man; he replaced the zipper in less than an hour. I decided to add a couple of extra rope connectors to my backpack, so I would be able to attach my grain sack bag to the bottom and make Moto rides safer. It raises the bottom of the bag and allows me sit comfortable on the Moto while the bottom of the bag sits on the luggage rack.

I was so happy; I overpaid as much a culturally significant, without going into the stupid realms of the average white man in Africa. I give him a 25 percent tip, which was 50 cents U.S. I do not tourist overpay, it causes damaging inflation to the economy, I always pay just a little more than local.

I am not sure what I would do in the USA, it would just be too annoying to be in the USA and have a bag repaired. I love my computer / camera bag, I carry it everywhere with me, and it is almost the perfect bag. It is not easy to have a bag repaired while you wait; the USA is a throw and replace culture, it is truly sad to need to replace a perfectly good "Something" because you cannot find someone to repair it.

This is the second time I have replaced the zipper on this bag, and I have squeezed fixed the zipper many times. I installed a pouch on the inside to hold my camera in Pucallpa, Peru, it is neither too big nor too little, and is also a computer bag.

Travel to Atakpame, Togo Today
Atakpame is only about 75 Kilometers North of here, I want to say Klicks, but is it spelled Klick or Klics, this is the tiresome thing about writing, the constant research that involved in writing the way I think. It takes a lot of work to unravel my brain onto paper. It is much easier to remain formal and out of the way of idiosyncrasies that get in the way, but that is not a style.

I will go North, it will take about two hours if I am lucky, three if unlucky, and I will be in the same hotel, I know the hotels therefore my transit time is greatly reduced. I normally stay in the Relais de Plateaux in Atakpame. I need to adjust "my room" in the hotel, they have done zero maintenance since I left three years ago and it is about three notches worst, it has went from ok after a few adjustments to the uninhabitable.

It is about 40 years since the French left, West Africa has been spiraling down every since, I am not sure what this place will be like in another 40 years of no maintenance, or no inspiration. It is quite obvious the majority of building were built during the time of the French Colonization.

I always have "My Room," in a Hotel, there is normally only abut 1-3 rooms in a Hotel that are acceptable, the rest are "Spoiled," better said in French, but I have forgotten how to say "Gatay."

I truly love to watch tourist enter a hotel and just take any room, it makes me feel kind of, like I am watching the Gladiators being eaten by the lions. I do not care what price range you are in, there is always good and bad rooms, a savvy traveler will choose a hotel room, not a hotel.

Why Atakpame?
Hmm, a nice woman keeps calling me, texting me, beeping me, maybe she is more beautiful than nice. I am going to return to let the situation run its course, there is always a beginning, middle and end to new friends, this one has only a beginning, it is uncompleted business. Women are a dime a dozen in the world, but a good smile, warm eyes, and an acceptance is hard to find.

I think of American women with a feeling of business, like to have a relationship with an American girl is something I must purchase. There is no quick and easy acceptance, the interview process takes days, and they are so afraid of the world, the leave at my first cavalier comment. I am not politically correct, and by nature say these little stinger comments, that bite to the essential meanings of situations.

There are always business negotiations with women, how much time, how much money, and how much is needed to go from a beginning to a middle? A good friend always starts intuitively easy without a lot of work. Friends are diamonds, hard to find, and they have special meaning.

I often look at persons eyes for a long time, trying to look beyond their fears and needs into a softer spots. I do not need to speak the local language when I talk with my eyes, when the person refuse to talk with their eyes, then truly we are incommunicado.

I wish the electricity would come back on; my computer has that yellow warning sign on the battery icon. Moreover, it is very difficult to pack in the dark, leaving just after sunrise makes travel in West Africa faster, because I leave with the "Early Birds get the Worm" group.

I have two computer batteries, and three BlackBerry batteries, but I cannot be bothered, I will publish in Atakpame. Hmm, showering in the dark, I am seriously thinking about LED lately.

I Arrived in Atakpame
Two preachers from the Atakapama "Apostles" something church picked me up, after watching and listening to me refusing to enter a van with 20 plus people. I had some good Travel luck, the road between Kpalime and Atakpame is one of the worst I have seen, I was lucky I was not carsick. My body physically aches from being thrown around in the back seat.

The car overheated because a wire disconnected on the electrical fan in this Opel car.

The cost of the ride was 2000, but the man said to give him what I wanted, I decided to give him 5000 because of this engine. (10 Dollars - 75 Kilometers - Two Hours.)

- No cap on the water reservoir for the radiator.
- Left side of radiator held on with string.
- No air filter on carburetor
- He used a rock to lodge the wire onto the fan.

Hitchhiking is not free here, you pay the going rate, the benefit is you do not have an overcrowded car.

I have not idea why this car continues to runs, there is nothing that functions correctly. Ingenuity keeps it working. It reminded me of when Buster Spade, my farmer boss used a piece of Barb Wire at a distributor wire when some kids stole the center wire off a tractor in Indiana.

I am in Atakpame, in Room 203 of Relais de Plateau for 12 dollars U.S., the nine Dollar one are over the edge.

No Michael in Kpalime so I go to Atakpame


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For a tip. any shoe repair in the US will peplace a zipper, the last time I had my backpack zipper worked on the said no charge, also canvas and tent shpos do it

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