Togo Cooking in Hotel Room Aneho Togo Saturday, September 9, 2006
I am here on the east border of Togo, on the city of Aneho, Togo side, and I assume, however, not sure that a city by the name of Hilla Conji Benin is on the other side close.
An obnoxious extremely smart American girl walked into my room in India and said, - You are a backpacker, a backpacker has everything needed to live anywhere, cook, sleep, eat, and survive anywhere. -
I admire this observation, and often wish to make levels of qualifications of what is needed to travel in some countries or areas of the planet.
I finally, I am so happy, purchased an electric hot plate here in Aneho, Togo; it has taken a month to find one by accident. I do not speak French well enough to really do well, so hard to explain, and electricity cooking is almost a two on the want list here. Charcoal is the fuel used, then propane, but number one is Charcoal in Cote d-Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, and I believe for sure in Benin.
Therefore, electric hot plate are hard to find, being Frenchie expensive here, they it cost 4000 CFA or about 8-9 dollars, I usually pay around 3-4 dollars, or maybe up to 5, and for sure in a cold country have one for heat.
The hotel is advertising the special it is Double anything on the menu, however West Africa is expensive for food, cheap in comparison to France, and just about the same price as England for a restaurant.
The guidebook is a mystery to me, it points out where you can get a tourist meal, like Steak TarTar, or Grilled this, or some French named thing, it does not tell me how to travel on a budget, or backpacker budget.
I saw a restaurant that looked nice, clean and a good situation for a backpacker who is weak and cannot eat street foods, not that any are very good here, but. I almost went to inspect the menu to see if the prices were even close to reasonable, but in the end, I do not care, I do not eat in restaurants normally, at least the sit down type. Street type, on the corner type, temporary type, all the time, however to sit down with a tourist menu would kill me, and does when I do. Africa is a mine field on the tourist restaurant, it is like the only people that eat in restaurants is 5 star hotel tourists, of course NGOs go rich or they do not go, and so do volunteers. I have only seen now three other tourist on this journey in Africa.
I am now stocking up on canned vegetables, rice, chicken bullion for the rice, and hope to find some soy sauce. I bought some popcorn, and should buy some corn flour, I think I can make the Arepa thingy from Venezuela here; the flours maybe is the right texture, worth a try for a late snack.
I now need to find a way to carry oil, I have lost my oil bottle or left it far behind in the easy and cheap to eat Asia. I realize, it is easy and cheaper to eat in Europe, I can always find a grocery to snack in or scavenger inside of, here this is the problem, hard to find a Super Marche.
I am getting better; I will learn how to say, canned vegetable to the Moto Taxi and enlist them in the search. The big cities do though have big super markets, and now I know, I should be going to them and buying 10-20 pound of food rocks to carry before I leave the big one-city capitals.
Eating in normal tourist restaurants would make any true backpacker traveler want to shoot the cook. I could here Francis, or Oren, or Pascal going crazy, looking frustrated, saying very little, but leaving the restaurant.
HIGH CLASS EXCUSE A great way to be cheap, is to walk into a restaurant like a snob, ask, - Can I inspect the menu? -
Pretend to be interested in the Cuisine, the quality, the ambience, and get to the point quick is this gouge tourist menu or reasonable tourist menu, I cannot say I have seen, maybe in the German places in Tokoradi, Ghana a reasonable tourist menu, yes it was.
I should discuss why not take an African girl to a restaurant, however later in the day… I will put together, the spice, oils, staples like rice, and will focus heavy on canned vegetables as they are close to impossible to buy here in Africa unless you want tomatoes, peppers as the staple vegetables. Fruit is easier, the cucumber and tomato seems to be the staple vegetables on the planet.