Chambre du Passage

Chambre du Passage
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, May 24, 2007

Chambre du Passage or
Room of the passing. …

or maybe Transit Hotel, it is not an Auberge or Hotel, it is for sure different. I am not confident of my French, and from my experience of learning Spanish, I know, I should never assume I understand a word or phrase.

Maybe, I have been using this French phrase incorrectly. I thought is was a like a way house or Inn, a place where you flopped simple for the night and moved on the next day. More of a motel of passing people with no desire to stay a long time or pay a good deal of money, a transit hotel.

I am in Togo, Africa, this is not France, my friend Michel from Ghana was using it as a cheap hotel, however, we both knew or know that the cheap hotels are used by the locals as a love hotel to visit with their girlfriends. However, last night, I was taking with a German man, when a Lebanese young man came in with a Togo girl in tow. The went for the edge of the area and close to the stairs leading to the room. Then, someone lead them up the stairs. I was curious so I did the push with the one server, and I said in French,
- How much for one hour? -
I keep trying with a few hand signals explaining the love part.

She did not understand, and then the German man said,
- Chambre du Passage. -

I thought this was the phrase for a type of hotel, and it is, however, this is the second time, I know in Togo, this means I want to rent a room for short time.

Ooops, I have been saying,
- Je Vous, Chambre du Passage, Pas Cher, pour 3 or 4 Mille -

I want a short time hotel, not expensive for 3000 or 4000 CFA.

I guess I just need to say, Chambre, Pas Cher 3000 au 4000 Mille, I am sure they have been confused, why does a man alone, entering a village need a short-time hotel.

The girl server says, the room is 3500 CFA, Chambre du Passage.

I think my biggest challenge in West Africa, is to somehow convince them I am not French, not ONG-NGO and I want a cheap, reasonable priced African room, not some country club priced room to guarantee there are no locals in the hotel.

Technically I have not lived in a Hotel in West Africa yet, that I would say now, was not also a Chambre du Passage, this is the number one business, or the way for the manage to give himself or herself a bonus that never reaches the owners pocket.

Chambre du Passage

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