Swedish Bike Rider Tourist Lome Togo Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I have met my first certifiable, yes this is a tourist traveler. He is also doing some type of bike ride around West Africa Trip. Tall, blond, thin, lanky, speaks English because he is from Sweden and rides a bike.
I guess, I do not know his personal rules, but I believe he rides the bike from all cities to the next cities. It would be wonderful if someday I learned about some master set of rules, for these bike riders, that says, - You did this, therefore you are qualified to say, you rode around the world. -
There is many ways to carry a bike, put you bike on you back, avoid the difficult path, yet is the path riding a bike.
This man in not riding around the world, at least not in any one hop, typical try show he can ride a bike around the world. His father in Sweden has a Christmas tree farm, therefore for 45 days a year he returns to Sweden and helps to harvest, send, sell, or whatnot the trees. An excellent, I want to be a traveler business, because the money is earned in a concentrated period, making a big chunk of the year available for travel.
He is also staying in Gajgon Hotel, is a nice hotel, I was laughing with him as we sat at the bar. I said, - I do not normally go to tourist bars. - He looked around and thought, he is a good thinkers, definitely makes his own opinions, - Yes, this is a tourist bar. - I said, - Yes, 100 percent. -
I had earlier perused the menu and found foods, or Frenchie foods like Steak Tartar or things, I do not eat, or know about, probably spell wrong also. The menu was not clear to me, except for the posted menu behind the bar and for some reason they are in English partly, the one has Hotdogs. I am amazed anyone in this caliber of bar and restaurant would put the word Hot Dog on anything, I would hide it down on the menu.
The menu was a board, a good sign of tourist bar or something not cheap. Price, that is a perfect sign of a tourist bar, the prices were comparable to a restaurant in the USA, which would be normal restaurant, it was no fine dining prices.
Tourist, they eat a nightly meal. It is an occasion, it is not a normal meal, and it is like going out to eat. This is what tourist do, and this is the type of restaurant they go to.
Tourist Bars serve western food or European or French in this case, I could be wrong; I could not find anything I wanted on the menu. They do not serve local or Togo food, Tourist Bars or Tourist Restaurants have Tourist Menus.
The Africa Bike Touring person and me talked for an hour, or so, amusing the perspective of Sweden. He was, or the Scandinavian culture thinks more than the British, French, Belgium, for sure Spain, and most of the lower countries in Europe. The Swiss think they think, however really do not. Sometime the Germans can be very well thought out on subjects.
The Dutch are balanced thinkers, or close to the Scandinavians countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, etc.
There are stereotypes, this man was Swedish, understood his stereotype, and understood the European stereotype.
The Europeans massively, rapidly and consistently have stereotypes of Americans. They often do not believe they fit into any categories, or stereotypes. I would say they have to, sort of an over-all; we are European, the EU and then the specific country stereotype.
Swedes are normally anti-Israel. (I would say, Anti-Semitic generally.) Go places in Middle East and promote this, work as volunteers. Like to go to Iran. Tend to end up where other Swedes are locate, tend to like to go to Sex Tourism Place, many were killed, a LOT in the Tsunami of Thailand, because they were at the Sex Tourist location of Phuket in Thailand.
End up in Cuba, another Sex Tourism location.
Seem to like to take long trips from Europe to India and Asia. They are one of the few countries that does not see going across Pakistan or Iran or Turkey, Iraq by land as terrible strange. They are blonde-haired person often, blue eyes, but huddle up close to the Middle East somehow. Like to go ranching in Iran.
A big manufacturer of Weapons in the world, but put themselves or portray themselves as being anti-war, mostly they stayed out of WW II pretty good, sort of two-ways about life in the war, like Switzerland, playing both sides.
I like the Swedes, they can often introspect and see themselves, and this biker was able to view himself as whom is he… Oh yea, Sweden is being invaded by the Islamic bunch because of all the free money they give to people and their close association of love of Palestine type countries.
France is going to become Islamic over time, a long time, but they will become Islamic, the culture of France will eventually have some type of Christian Fleeing.
The man last night said, - All cultures change. -
Insightful, astute, and fully aware that no place stays the same. I have met very few persons traveling who see that it is not so important what a place is like and for sure ridiculous to try to keep a place the same.
The French wish to remain French, the Islamic person wants their people to remain Islamic. The two large cultures are disappearing in my opinion, they have only a hundred years or so and they could be almost impossible to recognize. The TV, Fashion and Music are imploding or destroying the culture of Islam; they cannot watch a TV and keep their children obeying their 2000 rules.
The French are being eaten by Islamic culture, and will have to make a choice, does Islam occupy us now. My friend Jack in Mexico, he was Canadian would say, - The French are good at being occupied. - Germans like to occupy…. Brits came over, the French seemed to allow anyone, they would agree, say yes, we are the same and get occupied, we are not in favor, yes, we gave the Jew, but we disagreed, when the English and USA came and occupied….blah blah blah.
The Germans, Americans, Brits are good at occupying, I suppose.
Cultural change is about occupying another culture until the other culture is assimilated and it blends. This is 100 percent normal, one culture enters another, until they blend or disappears.
Ghana has imported an inner city, USA black culture, is slowly converting to Bob Marley, and mixed with an African, nicer, softer sound. However, have some characteristics of the violent American sides. Wants to be American, but does not know what that is, knows only hip-hop, rap, and American Flags.
Imported is this type of culture. In Togo, here they have been dominated by French Culture.
The bike rider, has spent months in Mali, Niger, Benin, and now Togo, he does not speak French, says he understand Arabic better. Speaks good English, blogs in Swedish, I bet money his picture is on his web page, I think he wants to be small famous for his rides, most long-term bike riders want to have people notice.
I have trouble understanding how a person could spend so much time in North Africa and not speak French, this man learned English, therefore he can learn a language, and he knows the path.
He says he does not have a guidebook, sometimes gets one to find where he can find an English conversation by going to the hotels where he meets travelers. Has a map, a good map, I wish I had a good map of roads. He camps a lot, this is brave.
There are I suppose to ways to avoid language problems in countries.
Drive a Car or Truck. Ride a bike.
Transportation is the problem for language. I have a very difficult time trying to tell the taxi driver anything, and in Africa, they cannot read. In Arabic countries, I have visit, then can read better.
This is why the NGOs have big Toyota Land Rovers, it allows them to avoid dealing with the people they come to visit, and they drive around the problems. I would believe they would say, it allows them to quickly go to the problem. I believe they will do anything to avoid really living with the people on a bus, truck, trotro or normal form of transportation.
In addition, the buy a guide, translator, who then keeps them one-step further away… The next step is to hire, the local teachers, or steal the best and make them workers. These people then are paid to much, drive the big Land Rovers and have zero desire to help their people and put themselves out a permanent job that is always portrayed as solutions.
Solutions are stopping a problem, therefore temporary in time to implement, permanent in behavior.
The biker was talking about a Swedish man he met in Niger who planted or gave seeds to plant trees in Niger. This was to provide food for the people of Niger….
The man has been working on this project for 20 years, I think planting trees is a great idea in Niger; the problem is he is probably planting all the trees and the people now have their hands out. The biker said, now the tree planter has problems, they are stopping growing the trees and putting their hand out wanting money.
I said, and the biker agreed. - Give them the option, show them the trees, somehow provide the trees, and explain their children are dying. -
Then leave, if they die, they die, so what, nobody is should be forced to live, it is their choice.
I do not see that people dying is a problem, dying is normal, I do think having a country made into a nation of beggars is a problem, and I also believe a person that knows solutions should share the solutions. It is not the person’s job that knows solutions to go and implement the solution. I am afraid for Africa, seems to want to remain a child, never wean itself, never grow up, always want a master. Africa never had a slave master, until the NGO’s came, or maybe the French… That was an anti-French remark… hehehe They are excellent at making people believe their snobbish ways are good for the people they are dominating. You should love my culture, and you are not French, strive to be French, you are black or you an American, love my culture, but you are not French. What a stupid buy into this idea, I do not want to be occupied, I am an occupier, I am American.
What fun, but the Biker said it, - All cultures change. -
I need to get up early and run and find him, see what types of trees were being planted. Maybe he has the name of the Swede Tree Planter, I can go visit and celebrate the man or other…