Passport and Money Belt on Me Aneho Togo Saturday, September 9, 2006
I do not carry my passport and money with me when I leave the room.
The bullies attacked while I had my money and passport on me. I was NOT robbed, but violated my own procedures or rules of travel safety.
In Aneho today, I was going down the road to use the internet, I dropped my bag off, I still had my wallet in the secret pockets my pants, and my passport. I have second passport and about 900 Euros hidden, or in the room, but I accidentally took all my money in CFA about 800 Dollars with me.
I do no have a money belt, I have pockets sown into all my pants that will hold in the one side a wallet and the other side my passport, I keep any tickets or such normally in my by computer bag area.
I carry the valuables only when I go from Hotel to Hotel, I do not go from City to City, I make a move from Hotel to Hotel. As quickly as possible, I travel with all my possessions, all my money, computer, camera, clothes and money on my back, it is everything I own and obviously is everything I own. I do not walk with this stuff unless necessary, I take taxis.
The big mistake today is I got my two bags to the Hotel; however, I did not unload the money and passport. The passport is only about 40 Dollars U.S. to replace and not that big of problem, however I do not want to lose 800 U.S. dollars in CFA, I am presently carrying in Africa close to 1600 U.S. Dollars and am not sure how not to carry this big of amount. The guidebook does not solve or explain how to get money, ridiculous, the two big problems, Visas and Money are ignored, the whole guides are set up to travel into the country like a tourist, stay a few weeks the leave, no multiple country trips.
I was more or less pushed and attacked, not hit, but against my will told I am coming with them. I had the money, the camera, the passport with me, I exposed myself to being shaked down for the camera and the money, I knew the camera is always possible, however the money was silly on my part, and not good travel procedures for me, I do not carry more than I would spend in one when walking around in a country.
I am carrying my camera, I am lucky, I feel richer and know now that taking the photos is more important to me, then to protect the value of the camera from being stolen.
A camera is a guaranteed way to tell the world, I have money on me; I have a camera you can sell. An Ipod or Walkman or any music equipment is more likely to be stolen, this is what the young dwell on, the music, or for sure a cell phone.
They want music and cell phone for themselves, a camera is maybe to be sold, and they are clueless what to do with a computer. Has very little resell value, I would think an Ipod is the big resell item.
Ok, West Africa is a very dangerous place for a camera, for sure the men will come up and try to intimidate a person out of money, in the dark, in an isolated area, this could be 10 times worst. I am getting worried about recommending The six country round trip of West Africa, I do not trick beer or alcohol, 99 percent of the travelers have a big problem leaving it behind for more than one night, or they will need to search out an entertainment bar. These are the most dangerous locations on the planet at night. Any bar, and street leading to a bar, and drunken person, anywhere on the planet are unpredictable and dangerous, I have not seen any police to protect, and it is the locals that will protect me from locals. If all the locals are drunk, there will be no locals. I just do not think the quality of human flesh that goes into a bar every night is up to snuff for Africa, a person coming to Africa needs to cut down or almost stop drinking.
I was watching one big oaf Peace Corp man sucking down a beer in the Galien, while I was in Lome in this hotel at least 10-15 Peace Corps came in to drink beer. I did not see him as having a chance at anything in life, a major loser; the girl another Peace Corps person was just average Joe Blow. I am thinking, this is what is bothering me, of the 15 Peace Corps people I met only one was quality and really up to task, the other 14 was like putting raw meat in the cage of the tiger. They in my estimation will spend more time surviving and about zero time proactively doing something. 95 percent of volunteers do almost zero, however, 95 percent of the time they have zero leadership, and do exactly what the leaders say to do, nothing. The Peace Corps probably does do more than all the other volunteer agencies together because they must volunteer for two years, after about one year they get bored, figure out how to survive, and then proceed to make a little progress.