West Africa Traveler Gossip Savalou Benin West Africa Friday, September 22, 2006
I am alone again, normal, always alone in the hotel, there has only been one hotel in Ghana where I can say there were some people, maybe I will call them tourist. Volunteers who took off after some paid to volunteer stint to travel for a few weeks. Mostly they traveled I think and volunteered a little, but that happens when you pay, not obligation to volunteer, it is pay to play position, sort of the wrong way around on the idea. I think volunteers should be paid to work, or no pay involved on either side, maybe the volunteer pays their own way.
Well, in Cape Coast Ghana there are the most people I have seen in West Africa in one place, the only place actually, unless you count the French Soldiers or Lebanese grocery and restaurant owners.
GOSSIP The voice, the noise, the pipeline, there is not information path that is blaring in my ear, how do I know how to travel in Africa without a big noise. Does every person have to make his or her own path; I just cannot believe that is so quiet.
CHRISTMAS My only inclination is that at Christmas, from about December 20, to January 10 there is probably in influx of French people coming on winter vacation. They probably fill up the over-priced hotels for a few weeks and creates a sense of I-AM-RICH to the locals that somehow convinces them they are thriving. I saw this for two years happen in Pie de La Cuesta, Mexico, for a couple of weeks they had full rooms, the rates went up, and the price of everything was so high the locals were Mexico rich, now I see the same, it must be the same, however it is so confusing when I cannot just fly in and out of Africa at my whim, I suppose I can, but the cost is painful.
The French ruled West Africa until around 1960, this is amazing, I can now feel or see why France thinks it is a world power; however, it gave up the Vietnam or Indo-China and the West Africa area around the same time. Lost the control, lost the power, lost the dominance, and the forces are moving into France now, reversed shifting of gears.
France is the key, I must somehow read, understand French mentality, I must read and speak French fluently to try to learn how to travel all of North Africa successfully.
I am happy to know that it is safe enough for travel, the cities are the only major problems and the area that would seem remote and dangerous are the safer areas so far. I am not sure, it take a lot of traveling to get a true notion of what you are looking at, however if Savalou and Niger are any indication, then the place is monopolized by the NGO forces and now they have become placid hoping to be given money, so no attack, just take, a wide open land for travelers. The NGOs have lived too nice, they really have made the cost of rooms outlandish, I am gong to try to push the prices. All of the hotels are empty except on weekend, I can negotiate better. I cannot be bothered normally for the five to eight dollar discount; I am only staying for two nights, difficult to push for me so hard for five dollars. My cheap nature is becoming soft because of my success of my website.
15 Dollars per night, it what I would say is and easy number to reach for rooms in West Africa, and when pushed up to 20, however with some good backpacker banging away they could push the prices down, anywhere there is two hotels, they would compete, however they are Mexican in mentality, if I do not get my price I will starve before I take less.
This is a Mecca for the people with trucks, or vehicles whereby they could sleep inside or camp. The relative easy and safeness of finding a camp spot encourages people to drive. Africa is so much easier than South America or Central America to drive, there is no comparison, the theft in the Latino world I believe is ten time worst. However, the thug and kill you rate is probably higher here.
I do not like to drive; I believe it make the trip too dangerous, especially for one person. I could sense in Iraq, all a vehicle or police need to do is stop you; they drive fast, pass the car, and then block the road. They stop you in some isolated area and you can be dead. Obviously, this is not happening much in West Africa, because the aid workers would all leave, they do not provide aid when it is dangerous. They need a soft area to provide aid, then only random killing of them. However, it does appear that the aid efforts are an English or Anglophone thing more than a Francophone thing. Ghana was full of Volunteers, you can see this, then yesterday I met a Peace Corp American thing in Bohicon, Benin, the Anglophone seems to be the spearhead of aid to Africa, I am very confused, the place is rich in food and resources, just need tapped. The Sahara is not a place to live; it is a place to leave, so I am not sure why people are living there, move south to water.
However, to be sure, I need to understand the Francophone influence, the Francophone guidebooks to Africa and more true would be the Francophone internet pages.
THE INTERNET GOSSIP
I do believe that the internet is capable of creating the gossip needed to create the backpacker paths needed to make life simple. There is not enough backpacker here to give the sense of travel that is needed to make people feel safe and comfortable. I on the other hand cannot believe that the place is not full of men, the women are everywhere in the Christian area, a man can find a girl too easy, it like a candy shop and nobody is in the shop watching the candy, every kid can come in and grab.