Hotel Kpalime Togo Kpalime, Togo West Africa Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I am in a very quiet hotel, it is about 3:41 am in the morning, and I woke very early, because I went to bed very early. I suppose about 9:00 pm, I am awake now, about 7 hours later, my normal pattern of sleep. I wake approximately 7 hours after I fall asleep.
Now, going to bed at 9:00 is both ok and not ok, according to why, or what I am doing. To stay active during the day, to not be bored, to have friends and interesting conversations is the goal. I could force my way towards a more exciting evening last night, I could go looking for a restaurant or bar, they call them burettes here, try to find people to talk with, and force the play. I allow life to happen.
I am thinking of how to recommend hotels, a guidebook recommends in a fashion hotels. I make internet pages for a living, I am a collector of information, whereby I try to organize the information and put on web sites. The better the content, the better the site.
Blogging to me is not about having good content, it is my journal, my thoughts, my feelings, take it or leave it. I feel it dishonest to edit my log of feelings and thoughts.
However, to recommend a hotel is both good and bad, very taxing on my stress levels. I am never stressed or distressed if I believe I am recommending something that I truly believe is good for people.
This is the crux of the problem about recommending hotels. I arrived yesterday to this hotel, there was a nice girl Sarah who I negotiated a price from 6000 CFA to a more fair price of 5000 CFA. The 6000 CFA is the asking price as dictated by the owner of the Hotel, whoever, that may be, I do not know.
I like Sarah, I am not sure if I would like the owner, or not like the owner, the other girl working with Sarah is nice, but is quiet, no personality and does not lend to my overall happiness. Sarah does not speak French well, this is bad, I am not sure what she speaks, it may be Ashanti one ethnic language from Ghana. I am having trouble finding out; I ask her, do you speak Mina, Ewa…? She does not even recognize the names.
Ethnic groups: Ewe, Kabiy, Gurma, others
Languages French (official); Ewe, Kabre, Mina, Dagomba
I find the name is spelled Ewe, or Mina according to my Encarta Encyclopedia, that does not matter much, it is an interpretation by someone, somewhere over time.
I think to myself, I like Sarah, if I recommended the Hotel; would she be here the next time a person came to visit because of my recommendation? I discovered yesterday with the help of Michael, that she has only worked 3 months, I also asked her again last night how long she has worked a the Hotel to collaborate this answer. Three months working, is not a good reason to recommend a person.
Is a Hotel a person or the room, to me it is both, however I believe for maybe 75 percent of people, it is the opposite. For me it is the manager and all the staff that makes a hotel good. However, for most or about 75 percent of people, it is what is inside the rooms that they use to define a hotel as good or bad. Not correct in a way, people tend to mix up or enmesh all the issues, saying a hotel is great, when what they are truly saying is they had fun in the hotel, they met people and their overall experience was good.
This hotel would be ok, if I owned a car, it has a place inside to park a car, but the road leading to the hotel is a deeply pitted and rough road, not a good hotel location where you can just pull in a park easily.
There are hotels along the highway, I think leading north where it is much easier to park, life is simpler, I do not like them, I do not like to use cars, I like to walk, or take a taxi. I do not like to baby-sit vehicles or take care they do not get stolen or damaged.
However, for the person who believes they need a car, this is probably not the best hotel. For a person who wishes to be centrally located, this may be a good location. I went to bed last night early, because there was nothing to do, and I had not place to walk around and view, peruse, or any conversations.
I am dwelling and thinking, there is a set of services that need to be objectively listed, there are many, but for example:
Beginning Price of Rooms Air conditioning Is the internet café walking distance to the hotel? Fans Restaurant on or off the premises Hot water
This is a very short list, but more or less, a list, and a person could choose from the list or fill in the prices. With well-worded questions, the owner or patrons of a hotel could hopefully describe a hotel correctly. Then a person like me, could choose the one close to the market, and a person who wants a place to park their, to be isolated can choose another.
I am presently ready to leave this hotel, the hotel is ok, but down the street in all directions I am somewhat accosted by venders on a constant basis. People saying everything from come here, to white man, to monsieur to anything to get my attention. It is an annoying location for this type of problem, I am not sure, Kpalime so far is an annoying city, too many people trying too hard to sell me things, and I have had three people come up drunk the first day. Drunks are annoying and can be dangerous.
I believe at this moment in time, there is only one sure idea; I can only recommend managers or owners, maybe the staff of hotels. If the general management of the hotel quits, moves, leaves, the hotel was sold, all recommendations would end. Then there is the price issue, if they change their prices, the recommendations would stop.
I guess in that rational, this hotel is not a good choice, because I had to negotiate the price to make it fair. This is not easy, the guidebooks have a tough job, if they want to do it correctly. In reality, the goal of a guidebook is to say as little as possible that anybody could disagree with, and hope most person would generally agree the opinions were correct.
However, the opinions that are direct, to the point, and stringent are often the best. I will think about this more, I am trying to decide if I want to give a list of hotel options or choices as a hotel path from here to Ethiopia by land.
There seems to be two major itinerary problems in West Africa. 1. The Visa path. 2. The Hotels to choose, mainly because the cost of hotels can be very expensive if you choose poorly.
Visa Example: I met a boy from Holland yesterday, he came across I think somewhere around here. He was told he needed to go south in Ghana to the border crossing, I think the one near Lome to cross, whereby he could get the Visa. He decides, I think to save money, and time to just walk across the border illegally. So far, so good, but he is in a world of headaches if he is caught. I do not think drastic, but his parents are not going to be happy.
The boy was somewhat typical of travelers, he was very dirty, clothes were dirty, he smelled. I was trying to tell Sarah, hook up with this one, take him, wash him down, clean his clothes, and take care of him, because he needs it. The boy, not really a man, needed someone to care for him. He more or less survives, I guess he would think very well, and if nothing goes wrong, he will return to say how well he traveled in Africa.
He was having his family Western Union him money yesterday and was anxious to try to collect, he has no money, his bank machine card does not work, travelers checks are really not that good here, in reality, he is doing everything wrong.
However, he is in good spirits, and happy, except for the cadeau thing and he is not managing this well, he is very annoyed with the people asking for money or cadeau, gifts. They are beggars for the most part, not anything less.
He was very dirty and needs to slow down and learn how to live better; he was much dirtier than the locals. A traveler will often give up showers if it requires too much work.
This boy needs Visa guidance, money guidance, and a very solid placed kick in the butt, telling him how stupid he is being. I did none of this, a little help on the money issue.
So, am I in a good hotel or a bad hotel, good question, my thoughts are to move on soon, the overall experience says to leave.