Lome Togo Hotel Change Lome, Togo West Africa Tuesday, March 6, 2007
I have changed hotels, I left the Galion Hotel a pretty good choice for hotels because of social life and location. However, my present room is a much better value. 5000 CFA, the same as I paid at the Galion and about twice as big, better screens and it has electrical plugs in the walls. The Galion is two apartments buildings. One is older, looks nice, but is really a bad choice for living. The other one, the one I lived in last time is more modern, and the upper floors of the building the right is good if not great. Above the restaurant area induced me to decide to look for a different hotel as I felt sort of miserable.
There was a woman by the name Marie that was the main day receptionist, and I hear got married to a Swedish man and moved to Sweden, good for her. She was a sweetheart and very happy and professional, the women that took her place is blasé to the point of making it fashionable.
I feel bad as the really enjoyable and happy Elena, the cleaning girl I leave behind, she was precious, happy, and made my life great. A hotel is about people and then a room, however, I did come to visit Africa and not France, now I am living in Africa. Although a bunch of old men drinking is not France… My new hotel has the option of turning on the Air Conditioning.
This is a first, this is first hotel I have every encountered, planned as a hotel it has installed electric meters along with the air conditioners. They can charge me for the electricity I use only, and not on a set rate, they can include or not include air conditioning, and I can leave the think running for days if I wish, and I pay.
I am told, by an equally blasé receptinish, however more attractive receptionist Marjorie that it cost 150 CFA per Kilowatt, I have no idea how long I can turn this for and cost me about 30 cents US, I guess though I can turn it on. I need to ask the not so helpful or happy staff how much to use for the night. I am guessing they will not answer clearly or with any enthusiasm.
I think culturally there is a I am too s e x y for myself thing going on and it is not cool to pay attention to people, more s e x y to ignore. I have loosened up the one no-name-known girl that works here and she is becoming a pleasure to know. I wish Elena was here. The hotel also has a kitchen and a fridge, I could have paid 6000 CFA or 4 US dollar more and had a fridge in my room. If, the hotel allows me to utilize the kitchen, this is by far one of the better prepared and designed hotels I have encountered in West Africa.
Blasé though is the problem, it is not a good idea to talk or recommend hotels. I can recommend people, hard to recommend hotels, or places, or anything, I think I can recommend people. I would easily recommend the happy go lucky Elena in the Galion Hotel, the rest of the staff is there. The older owner is a good shake my hand, he-speaks-no-English guy, and the younger knows a lot and speaks English, a great place to start in Lome, however very expensive food in the restaurant.
There is this overbearing mentality that attempts to socialize me into accepting that paying way too much for typical Africa is good. Even Elena tried to say it was not expensive.
A worker here in Africa gets about 2 US dollars per day. The cost of cleaning my T-shirt is 300 CFA or bout 60 cents US. Therefore to pay to have 5 T-shirts would cost about 3 US Dollars. Elena says to me, - No Cher, -
I try to say, explain or ask, - Would you pay this? -
This is the incredible to believe, white man / black man difference, they incredibly to believe, hard to understand, I cannot relate do not even consider that we the white man would like to pay the same as the locals. We could actually live, drink, eat and pay the same, the black people of West Africa and Togo do live very good, I do not see them living bad, in fact the other persons in my new and present hotel probably have the same room for almost half the rate I am paying… hehehe. I did not want to fight over price, however I think it is highly possible to get rooms in Lome for 3000 CFA per night, that would be great.
A moto or motorcycle taxi cost about 200 CFA to go anywhere, this is about 40 Cents US, I can be about anywhere very fast, the location is not important. The beach although adds flavor to the city, is 99 percent ignored by the tourist, and I never see any white people on the beach. The wind is a little high for lying on the beach, although a great beach feeling city, in reality the beach does not exist as a place to go.
I am using and cleaning about 3 t-shirts per day as I am perspiring, a.k.a sweating so much as I acclimate to Africa and lose weight, that I need to clean clothes daily or stink. I know the other backpackers or tourist are sweating the same….. Heheheh, however, I have not see them do laundry.
I think I wish to get close to the Africa people more than the white people, I feel or think they smell better.
I could pay a person from Togo 2 dollars to work all day washing clothes, and at these prices make about 20 to 100 US dollars per day cleaning clothes. However, it appears people do not clean their clothes as much as me, so there really is no market. If they would wash clothes though for about 2 dollars for all my clothes, I would pay in a heartbeat.
Living on a budget is interesting, one thing cost, like laundry, therefore I do the laundry myself. Food is outlandishly expensive in any Western style restaurant, therefore I cook myself. The cost of rooms is the big budget cost of Africa in reality, I do not have to eat Western food while in Africa and am not sure why I would want to, but for sure it is not essential. Vitamins, vegetables and nutrients are essential and they are quickest and easiest to buy by cooking myself.
There is always an area or a component of a country that is expensive, the smart travel adapts and plans on how to minimize the cost of this big budget expense. Transportation in West Africa is cheap, however people buy vehicles. Food in open air markets is moderately cheap, and they eat in Western style restaurants.
Africa is full of black people, it is what makes it a great place. I do not understand the backpackers here, if there is any, the few are all cloistered inside the womb of western styled culture. They either drive a vehicle to avoid the locals or they live in white people hotels.
The way the world is visiting the culture of Africa seems to be by finding mates or women. 90 percent of the white people in Togo are men, then they find a girlfriend, this way they slowly learn about Togo. I am wanting to go for the countryside and the small villages where I can stop seeing white people in the same locations. I do no see them walking down the street, I see them driving by in an SUV.
This time in Lome, I have more energy, I feel better, I think I had some type of lower energy level because of lack of vitamins. I have walked for miles in every direction here in Lome, it is a city, not of much interest, however it is interesting, just a city though and the Mina or Ewe cultures are being cleaned of obvious ethnic features.
I am managing my budget 5 times better this time than in the past, and I am sure as my French improves, the cost of living will go down, I need to talk to ask questions and learn how to buy cheaper.