3:23 PM Monday September 12, 2005
I have arrived by bus from Zinder to Agadez, Niger; the trip took from 5:00 AM to 2:30 PM so I guess about 9 or 10 hours. It was an easy trip, however I have yet to encounter these great SNTV Air Conditioned Buses, and this was the third bus and no air conditioning. I am thinking the normal travel route is directly to Agadez and nobody really goes toward Zinder, Maradi, or Tanout so it would be easy to think there are many air-conditioned buses. I have seen them, just have not experienced them.
The world is s funny place, I got a ride in a Mercedes Benz to the bus stop with Bab, and however he was not sure where the bus stop is located. We do find it and I leave, there is enough children on the bus for two buses, I am guessing a minimum of seven persons per row, however mostly small children and fat mamas.
We had a tarvy road the whole way except for one stretch of maybe two hours where we did the sand road trip.
Took me a few Hotels to land in my present hotel, kept finding these other travelers who were not able to suss out the city and could not recommend or evaluate the city. One French girl with her Niger Boyfriend in tow, and a French and Fat American girl that seemed lost, and for sure, I did not trust.
I came upon four Peace Corps people who recommended a great hotel. I went to the Hotel they where they are staying, it is expensive, and it was 36,000 and then he discounted to 32,000, I said I would pay 15,000. Therefore, the great hotel told me to go across the street and I got a good room for 15,000. Therefore, even though the Peace Corp people are staying in the Five Star Equivalent for Agadez, the advice helped me find a realistic Hotel.
What I wanted was the - Popular with the Backpackers - Hotel in Agadez, and they seemed a little wise to the idea, however not really hip, so they kept thinking only price, and I was wanting a hotel with at least one person for conversation purposes.
The Hotels here are empty and mostly trying to pull my leg, I think, as they really take the tourist to the cleaners here.
This is a pushy city and everyone attempts to become my tour guide by walking with me, I do not pay for being annoyed, so they always get frustrated with me when I do not pay, not guilt in this boy.
I have not seen any camels in the city and few with the scarves around their heads, I am hoping when the heat of the day passes the city come alive, it for sure is dead presently.
I am right next to the Mosque so maybe in the Center of The Backpackers Universe for Agadez. I was laughing with the Peace Corp people as they were saying there is no backpacker Hotels. I said there are no backpackers in Niger; however, I did see one Photographer. I am the only person traveling in Niger that I know for sure is a backpacker. There is a French Couple that is maybe tourist or backpackers; however all the rest are NGOs or Peace Corp or some paid to be here types.
Hmm, I think it would be possible to count the number or White Western People I have seen, maybe around 30 in the country. Note, most of the NGOs are not full of Western looking people they are mostly Niger or imported from Nigeria or one of the closer countries.
Oh yes, I forgot, the Doctors without Borders had maybe 20 people in the one spot, this is the only organization that is all Westerners or at least highly educated people. Most of the NGOs are below par for competing in the world.
I have been mulling it over and I keep trying to figure out how this works, maybe the NGOs spot the people and the Red Cross and the Doctors without Borders set up a nutrition center to help the children that need a high energy nutritional food boost to get them healthy.
I am trying to not call it a - Feeding Center - even though this is partially true, they are being fed, however it is not just food, it is special food for the children who are failing to thrive due to improper types of food.
There is an interesting parallel here that is the same as the food for oil stupidity that happened in Iraq. I watched by accident on CNN the man give his speak to the United Nations about the Food for Oil program in Iraq and the problems. Kofi Annan did react honorably, and this is good.
However as the speech was given, the man outline a situation whereby the person Sadaam had the ability or too much freedom in how the program was ran. This to me is self-evident that the United Nations and all the various legs of the give the country receiving the aid, the ability to manipulate the aid.
On a more expansive thought for me, I can now add a new way of attaining wealth in the world. I normally say the way to be wealthy in most countries on the planet is to become part of the political network, however I must now add that to work for organizations meant to distribute money to problem areas means you get to drive around in a car that would cost more than the village, live like a person from Switzerland, and never again have to associate or take a normal person public transportation.
Note that Niger has very few street lights so like walking around a bad neighborhood at night, an eerie feeling.