Many guidebooks have started to give suggested itineraries, however, for me almost of little value, sometimes they give good hints. Tourist will travel against the grain sometimes, normally though the normal tourist route is a deep rut. I pay attention when everyone is telling me to go here or there, I know it is the tourist rut, probably full of pigs, snorting and rooting around. To me the problem is the normal culture disappears in the rut, and the what-sells-easy-to-tourist crap emerges. Like the drums, music, pizza, etc. all the normal things, sold anywhere.
I suspect here in Africa, they fly between major cities, or only on guided tours. I have not seen any backpackers, zero, I have not seen any tourist, I have to believe the guided tour is the normal path, while most of the tourism occurs when a person working here roams around, like NGOs or Missionaries, or Oil Company people. This is the most anal of all travelers because they have 5 times the normal money and it never ends, they do not seem to care about a budget.
MAPS I never can stop laughing to myself at the insightful brilliancy of Alex Garland when he wrote the book. - The Beach - Everyone in the book is fighting over the Map, or who gave the map, to the secret beach. I search for the map, or set of map all the time, I have extremely good maps in my computer on the encyclopedia Encarta, however still lacking in many ways. So far after nine years of travel, the Encyclopedia Encarta is still my best source of maps, but I have to have a computer to use, thus off the list of 99 percent of travelers.
I am always fighting to find a map, Alex was just too correct in his story, however he was pulling our leg for the most part, a great story.
Natural Path in Ivory Coast versus against the grain paths - Note, I have not slept in Abidjan, it may be possible that there is a natural path apparent in the city, between places. To be a path though people need to travel on this path, I have only discovered one path by accident, a bus between the Ghana Embassy in Abidjan and the city of Accra in Ghana.
Political Map of West Africa
The places where the color change is where racism starts and end. The line between countries is to me, where one country said you stay away and we will stay away, we are not like you, we are different. It done clean, then will have a big river or a mountain range separating of some natural boundary. Crossing the border of a country and the whole world can change, you can never guarantee that anything will stay the same, all the rules change when you cross a country border. These are major path changes.
This is a religion map, you can see that I am in a Christian belt, that flows along the ocean, probably in the more money rich places also, normally money is along the water, you need water for wealth, and you need water for cheap transportation. Planes are changing this a little.
There is sort of and upstream, downstream form of religious racism that happens. A Christian is going to have a tougher time in an Islamic area, and the Islamic is going to have a tougher time in the Christian area. The LAWS are made to help the prevalent religion and work against the others.
Israel is a Jewish State. Pakistan, Iran are Islamic States. The state by definition is one religion, to live in the state and not be that religion is really working against the grain, a good time to move.
Business does not really care about religion, it is just a tool to stop competition from entering the area.
RIVERS The Rivers flow from North to South in this area mostly, there are valley and easy to make road.
TRADE ROUTES There are traditional trade routes between countries, cities, and such, I would think the trade between Ivory Coast and Ghana is mostly by boat, and then a little by land. The big goods shipped by boat, I am not sure how China gets all the goods here as many things here are made in China, probably boats. This is a more international trade route.
Language Map My Encyclopedia in a Scholastic ignore the obvious manner totally ignore, the languages of business. French, English and maybe Arabic are the languages of business in these areas, or for trade between countries. It is not that simple, but you cannot just leave out French and English, Portuguese and all the Colonization languages. I spend a lot of time trying to get or figure out the colonization of countries. I really need a big map of the world showing how, when, where colonized.
Colonized and Language are intermixed, then religion overlays, water routes, and long term trade routes whether ship or donkey, camel. The trains are there, but only in a smaller way, the big trucks are breaking in, however all in all, every location has specific interplay of these above maps.
VISA PATHS OR TRAILS
That is my tentative plan, nothing is decided though, there is now great reason to go this path. It would be nice to kind of go up and down, north and south in a zig zag manner INSIDE the countries, making a trip down to a place and back on the same road though is not a traveler path, it is a tourist rut, travelers do not like to go back the same way they came.
NO RETURN - NO ROUND TRIP
One of my biggest fights is to stop the return ticket, or round trip, we must return to the nest mentality. I go forward, I do not return, I circle the wagon, come back by going through the new path, the new trail, I try to keep off the old. I LIKE TO SAVE MONEY, I am here to look around, I like to see new, I do not like to pay for the same path twice.
GUIDEBOOKS ARE FOR ONE COUNTRY PATH There are a few guides written for multiple countries, however the normal guide is only one country 90 percent ignores the next country, does not fit the next country into the route. There are written one at a time, by one writer, not one writer going to all, this would be a traveler, not a writer. There are a few writer, travelers. But the majority no, therefore the guidebooks drop the ball.
PLAN A YEAR, THEN LEAVE PATH These are the extreme anal people that write me with annoying comment, saying how easy to travel where I am is, they planned the trip, read the books for year, got all their Visa, took their cookie jar, broke the baby, then took off on their ones in a lifetime dream trip. I purchased a ticket, have to rely on information available in the country, a little on the internet, or whatever I can find and put on my computer as I go. They did not buy a one way ticket, they have a job.
TOO CRAZY TRAVEL PATH
Sitting around planning for a year is fun, however, not totally sane, sort of obsessive, and for sure, I know there is not the answers they want to find in the countries they are planning to visit. A guided tour is great in a way, no planning, just Dollar or Euro your way through. I am thinking, what is the ratio of months planning to months traveling. I would say a person will plan for 5 months, then actually travel for one.
MY HOPE FOR TRAVEL PATHS
All the information exist, there are many holes, however my hope is to find the best mult-country travel paths, then collect all the data, interconnect it on the internet and allow a person to print their route as they wish.
MY PRESENT PATH OR TRIP
I am almost clueless, however from people I have learned one easy jump, I can go to Aboisso.
This is an easy, station wagon, group taxi trip for 1500 CFA and I should be able to suss out whether the roads stop being good and turn to torture, or if there is some missing link to this story. I would stay in the Christian area maybe, however will probably jump outside the we-need-to-speak-French mentality to a back to the roots language mentality. There is a perceived idea on the planet, if I speak English I will make money, if I speak French, I will make money. In reality, has very little to do with how they make money. Helps, but not as clearly necessary as they hope.
TOURIST BUBBLE I am in maybe what I would call one of the stupidest forms of tourist bubbles on the planet. It is not simple to see I am in a tourist bubble, because I am also in a cultural island.
FOUND QUOTE that applies to this in Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux:
- The Charities and foreign donors had had a questionable effect on the poverty and misery in the country, but were positively destructive when it comes to hotels, because they were expense-accounters for whom money was no object. Those of us who were budget-conscious and aimless wanderers were punished for their profligacy. But I stayed at the bad expensive hotel; I had no choice. -
Cultural Island I believe, I am not sure, I think there is an island of half-French former colony and half indigenous type culture here. Sort of a mestizo mentality. I am not sure what the word should be, but I am in a half French, half Ivory Coast culture, the city culture is trying to be cars, tires, cell phones and big advertising signs, the wanna be world class, leave my roots behind type of thinking. Normally it just means slums, no better life to me, like leaving the farm and going to the city to learn about crime, rape, and how to be rude.
There are signs of the culture outside the tourist bubble. I saw some beads on girls getting a bath, around their waist. I saw some henna painted feet, there are local customs covered by a soccer ball, a cell phone, or even a few Bob Marley Rastafarian hats, really the last thing Africa needs.
Under the cover of new culture is the old culture, they are hiding and denying it exist, ashamed of what is good. Prideful in what is bad, there is no sense on the planet when the only good is new and what has been good for a 1000 years is now bad.
The test of Aboisso is the language. If French disappears than I am truly out of the tourist bubble. I find the guidebook amusing when it shows all the birds, the mask, the statues, the language information, many times it just is out in never never land, this information is easy to find in books. Almost impossible to find in reality. What the sell me is not authentic, what they wear when nobody is around is real. Mythomania is ever present, but easier to leave I think in Africa, but impossible to stop reading when people write about Africa.
Toilet Travel Path Sadly, the world is not full of toilet, I can squirt anywhere, however to do a number 2 is difficult. I am having a high speed solids path in my body from mouth to exit, I am not sure how to slow it down. It is not diarrhea in the normal sense, it seems to be the wrong mix of foods. I am not sure, I am drinking to much of this liquid yogurt, I am not sure. But 2 hours in a station wagon is not easy when you only have a one hour max between stops in the restroom. I think I am clear, however this is an extremely major consideration. I think India is still in my body. It is 5:39 am, very early and whatever is in my body has time to clear the exit before my 9:00 target time to leave. I need to hope the internet opens at 8:00, I am not sure the city of Aboisso has Internet.
What is the natural path or trail to take through Africa?