The Trouble with Travel Atakpame, Togo West Africa Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Ironic coincidence, is this a proof of Gods existence?
I received this comment in an email:
QUOTE: It is an amazing relationship, isn't it? The fixer and the traveler...to rely on those that can’t be trusted. Does it get exhausting? Is there anyone you can release yourself with, where you aren't worried, fearful, plotting, manipulating or being manipulated, someone you are not having to bargain with just to get by? Anyone you can just BE with, where presence is a mutually shared gift?...I guess I'm now writing about you, the forever traveler, and not just someone going on a month-long vacation.
Until later...safe journeys! Sarah
I would say in a brief paragraph she has explained the trouble with travel, not the fixer, the whole experience. (And to always sleep in a different bed.)
My relationship between me and the people I meet on the planet earth. A good person does not walk up to a stranger, a foreigner, a person they do not know. It is the people with bad manners.
This comment is ironic; I am in Atakpame to take a vacation from all the concepts in the quote:
I become exhausted with people, the people of the planet can be extremely trying, they can be so frustrating you start to envision or have a desire to capture them, tie them up, then turn over to God and get a bounty for finding sinners. When a new person, ME, enters a culture he or she is not protected by the culture, this means any nefarious, bad, evil person that wishes to come up and try to manipulate, maneuver, sell me something has an opportunity. Nobody is going to say, do not do this to the person. - They often think, allow Joe with no money to make some money, he need it, and will help or encourage the person. -
On 20 percent of the planet, not where I travel, in the so-called developed world you can turn them into the police. On the rest of the planet, they are normal people.
The art of travel in so many ways to avoid the bad people. If you avoid the bad, then what is left over is great.
I become very annoyed with Guidebooks, Travel Writers, and Adventure Writers who do not give me hints. Hell, I do not want hints; I want to know specific clear ways to identify the scammers and avoid.
I want to know who to avoid, MORE than what to do, what to do is easy to learn, everyone is writing about that. I want to know how to avoid people. I know in West Africa there are two easy ways, one is drive a car, and he second is to live in Tourist Hotels, the ones that cost above 10 Mille or about 20 US per night. Then life is insulated. The car would easily insulate me from the people. Then why come here?
I have seen very few people, I think one Swiss girl, maybe two French Canadians in my travel experience in Africa using public transportation, and me. This is three people in about 6 months of my life living in West Africa. In Ghana you have many volunteers that travel or leave the project and go on brief trips, they are not crossing borders. I have met one bike rider.
Africa men are very annoying, the closer I get, the more they know me, and the more they annoy me. I would suppose the Philippines men are often the same, and this makes the women love me here and there.
I am taking a pause here in Atakpame, Togo, I am in a controlled environment, and I am in a place where it is difficult to have a casual annoying conversation. I must pay a moto taxi to take me to the annoying cultural conversations. (Also boring, but good.)
This is a vacation from what you perceive as a vacation. I actually live here today, then tomorrow maybe somewhere else. I do not get to go home and recharge, I must re-charge here. No go home bivouac.
I love West Africa, the genuine normal people after I am able to somehow avoid the large gauntlet of annoying men, sometimes women are fun. Innocent, joyful, playful and curious, they do not now foreigners. I think the reason is also because they do not want money. They think 99 percent of the time about eating, talking, enjoying life or lying around like a big dog. What a wonderful society or culture, the majority of time is leisure. The do their leisure while disguised as work.
This is really 80 percent of the world, the under-developed part, the 20 percent in the USA, Europe and Australia etc are crazy, no time, I have no time, call me later. Here in Togo they would stop and talk all day if you would talk. The always have time, they do not let work interfere with the enjoyment of life and food is plentiful as the Garden of Eden, you can see the fat on the body, they do very little exercise and eat tremendously, if they have a problem, I think it is boredom.
I am going to give an example of a list I am making, I thought I already posted, maybe I did, and I cannot find or remember clearly.
I am making a list of how to avoid the problem people in West Africa. Pretty much, it goes like this, if a person does any of these things, pretend you did not hear, and continue to walk. They will give up quickly and forget.
IF you obey and avoid these comment, what you will have left over is well mannered and good people.
Togo Starting A Conversation - How they start an annoying conversation.
Yeh bow by an Adult - It means White Man VA - I means come in Ewe or Kabrye, etc. Spsssst sound Cadeau - Gift Donnez moi - Give me Horn - On moto Call Andre - Somehow learned my name. Stare at me Rastas - Always annoying and believe I want to talk. Speak English to you. Master Follow you Grab you Patron - Means like owner or boss Salut Blanc - White Holler until I turn around, then demand I come Tell someone else to holler at me, that is closer. Walk into you - This is done as macho tactics. Shake you hand - Pretend not to speak any language they know. Have a friend introduce you, - Do not talk -
OK, this is a great way to avoid everyone.
How do you meet people. I listen to the voices, children, and happy voices, inquisitive voices; there is also the polite person. I had a girl following me in Kpalime, she was a pain, she was so polite, and it was close to impossible to avoid her. She did everything right, the problem was she was 17 and wanted to come in my room to get a Gift, I was successful, I talked politely until she gave up. I find that about one day is the diligence level of West Africa, three days is an exceptional person. To annoy me for three days and me consistently say no is difficult.
The other good thing now, my French is improving, I can say no easier.
I am on vacation, the trouble with travel is the people you meet, and I guess I am tolerant, or I would leave. There is this somewhat idiot idea that tolerance is good. Tolerance enables people to continue to act badly, and intolerance of bad manners is what the world needs. Not a tolerance for bad manners and un-civilized behavior. I try to make a one-path entry into my life, by good manners only, if no manners, not behaved, they do not enter. What is amazing to me, the lesser the education in West Africa, the better their manners.
Togo Annoyances, Togo, Planning Africa, Annoyances, What is good advice, Why Travel, Why Not Travel