Togo Travel Golf or Chess Kpalime, Togo West Africa Monday, June 25, 2007
I had a very enjoyable trip yesterday from Lome, Togo to Kpalime, Togo in the back seat of small van with three others people from the USA. I was able to talk natural English for three hours and this is a rare experience for me.
It was a humorous day, one of them days where I remember, the journey is more important than the trip. I plan my travels like a chess match or a round of golf, although I do not really play golf. I plan my moves and hope to anticipate the moves of the opponents, or avoid the sand traps.
There is all game playing, hypothetical thinking and strategic planning; sometimes the military jargon is best.
Yesterday I lost, it was a complete loss, and maybe one of them SAPFU’s for Travel Gaming.
SAPFU - Surpassing All Previous F-Ups. (Togo Travel Only, I am sure I have done worst.)
Normally, I am playing the game alone, however, I do have to admit, and it more fun to lose as a team than as a solitary independent traveler. There is an enjoyment in losing together, however, I suspect the other three Americans thought it was a victory, hard to say, the game is my game, and normally everyone around me is oblivious I am playing or see travel as a challenging game.
In Travel Golf, one needs to remember and focus on a couple of simple assumptions.
1. Five Star Comfort is the goal. 2. The opponent will give me MINUS five star comforts to make money.
The African people want to make money; I want to go simply from point A to B, quickly, efficiently, in comfort for the least amount of money, yet the most amount of enjoyment. I want optimize my travel by playing a great game of Travel Golf. I see there is a fight in my mind, the games is easier to explain as Golf, but the thinking to me is more of a Chess match.
I got a real thrashing on the trip from Lome to Kplime and for sure, I am not happy about losing a long-term goal of mine. I have this goal of not paying for my bag, yesterday I lost and was abused into paying. I paid 500 CFA for my bag; I have prided myself if refusing to pay for baggage in West Africa, now I have lost one bragging rights.
EXCUSE ME PLEASE This explanation is now being interrupted by another game starting, as I need today to travel from Kpalime to Atakpame, Togo.
CONTINUED AFTER ARRIVAL IN ATAKPAME, TOGO
I would say the three major ways to say I won or lost. 1. Total Travel Time from Hotel to Hotel. 2. Total money spent. 3. The smile on my face. (Priority number one.)
Comparison of winning and losing matches.
KPALIME TO ATAKPAME - I Won! 3 Hours and 1800 CFA
6:09 AM, I Left Auberge Mandela, in Kpalime, Togo 9:11 AM I arrived at Relais de Plateau Hotel in Atakpame, Togo Three hours more or less travel time. 95 Kilometers Cost 600 to Adeta and 1200 from Adeta to Atakpame or 1800 CFA Total
LOME TO KPALIME - I lost 5 hours and 2350 CFA I had a Smile on my face so I only lost 2 of the three signs of victory and the smile is most important.
9:50 to 12:34 then 3:00 to Kpalime 5 Hours 110 Kilometers 1750 and 500 for bag Total 2350 Total
TRAVEL GOLF OR TRAVEL CHESS List of Hazards, Problems and Variables
- Porthole to Porthole, I define this as Hotel-to-Hotel. - I cannot be Bothered, there are trips when the work needed is too much to be bothered with and afterwards I wish I would have skipped the trip. I want a trip not overwhelmed by working, this often happens to me in Europe as my ability to wonder is reduced from my normal 95 percent ability to wander around to 5 percent. In Europe, I need to plan and reserve everything or I end up sleeping on the train or in the airport… - Lies - Did I believe any lies and accept them as truths. - Annoyed by other passengers - Food, was I able to eat naturally. - Care for others and not be selfish with my decisions, there are times when I must desert the new friend for safety reasons, or they are going so far off track I am wanting to slap them. This is when I remind myself, nope, do not slap them and do not chastise them. They are not trying to make my life difficult by the constant bad choices. If the travel partner is angry afterwards, then a point loss. - Safety. I make only safe decision; if I have a choice and all things are, equal I take the safer trips. - Do not allow lesser to make decisions, there is a problem when I allow the less experienced or a local to make a decision for me, I must think is this person knowledgeable or are they just talking this way. A local does not know about hotels, they do not know maps, they may know about the food. - Do I have the correct change ready to pay the transport so they do not try to keep the change? - Saying goodbye to Friends was I able to depart, say goodbyes, thank you ok, and did I leave the Hotel gracefully. - Interference or willing to sacrifice creature comforts for good trip. This is the number one reason travelers lose at travel gaming, they refuse to wake up early or skip breakfast to travel at the proper times. West African people wake up at 4-5 am and catch a car just after sunrise from city to city; this is the best time in Togo to depart. - Did I have to rush? - Did I have to react to people and jump for them? - Number of Call Audible, this is a change of plans while on the trip. I made a call audible while leaving Kpalime, I was going to grab a car direct between Kpalime and Atackpame, however it was starting to rain, so I took a car to Adeta to avoid the rain and hope it stopped. - Preparation the night before. - Which hotel am I going to, what is my next projected porthole or hotel, what is my target. - Weather - Normally I abort any trip for rain, if caught in rain it for sure is a loss. - Alcohol problems, this is a hazard for sure, whether the driver shows up late because of drinking, travel partners are hung-over, or there are passengers on the bus who are drinking and annoying.
This was an off the top of my head list and for sure is not complete, I think I would need to sit down with a few cockroach level traveler who have been out for over a year and I could refine the list.
I think on the trip from Lome to Kpalime, I failed the majority of problems listed above. Note, it is not acceptable to blame anyone for failure, as the choices were mine, the big hazard is people.
I suppose I could say, I travel par from Kpalime to Atakpame, I was not under par, I was only a par trip, but acceptable.