Benin Travel Stories

Africa Bush Taxi

Africa Bush Taxi
Zinder Niger West Africa
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

99 percent of the persons I meet are Volunteers, NGO, and ONG working for government of some country.

1 percent are only tourist, came here to see the sights, the rest came for another reason and then go traveling around to be tourist.

I hear horror stories about Bush Taxis; a Taxi is as best I can tell some foreigner made up label for the Group Taxis here in West Africa. It is like in Guatemala, the Gringos call the buses Chicken Buses, however, the locals do not, and if they did, it would be Spanish.

There are Peugeot Cars, Vans, and small trucks, whatever the size; this vehicle is used to transport people between cities in West Africa. This is the cheapest and easy way to travel from village to village, therefore the dominant way to travel by the person of the country.

The NGO-ONG-TOYOTA Land Cruiser is the vehicle of the Foreigners; maybe 10-30 percent of the vehicles I see is this Toyota. If you see a foreigner in a vehicle, it is a Toyota Land Cruiser, Rover, or whatever.

I have only one time seen a White Person a Bush Taxi while I have been in West Africa, even though I have traveled from Cote d’Ivoire, to Ghana, to Togo to Benin, to Niger by land.

This car is difficult, it travels very slowly, and the distance it covers in one hour is very small. The roads it travels on are normally close to perfect for travel. Straight, flat, wide and in a NGO-TOYOTA we could easily do 70-100 Kilometers per hour, or about 60-70 Miles per hour, with no problem. I could drive across Africa 2 times faster than I could drive across Asia or South America, etc, there are few cars, mostly wide open spaces and the main roads in the countries I have traveled are flat and great compared to South America, or Asia, India or the developing planet that is 80 percent of the planet… hehehe, the normal planet.

I am amused and sad at the same time when I hear the Volunteers and snobs talk about the Bush Taxis. I for sure am not happy with the speed these vehicles travel, and it is annoying how many people they will cluster into on of these cattle cars.

However, I think of all the silly people in Asia that rent motorcycles in Asia and die because they rent a motorcycle. A bush taxis is extremely safe in comparison to riding a motorcycle in Asia.

I think about the number of people who die walking down the road, I know of two travelers who have been killed as they walked down the road.

Walking along the road, because there is not sidewalk or the sidewalk is so full of venders it is impossible, is danger, very dangerous, incredibly dangerous. Africa it is not as dangerous as South America, India or Asia, etc because there is only one-tenth the numbers of cars on the road to make me a target. I only have to be careful of a few cars, and it is the NGO-TOYOTA that scares me the most.

The NGO-ONG put the locals in them here in Niger, they could care less about the life of humans, that is why they are low on HDI, they do not care about human life, then they drive a car as a weapon.

Comparisons?

Life is a comparison, they wish to compare Niger to Haiti or Niger to Cambodia, however, they never went to Cambodia, and it is something they read. I hear stories about the USA constantly from people who never have been in the USA, however because they read it, seen in on CNN or BBC it is real.

Well, the sad part to me is this, Africa is an extremely easy place to travel providing you can learn enough French to say directions and buy something. I am finding many of the countries so simple now, I am willing to wander about anywhere, and I can see that this will be my Continent of choice. No tourist, lots of space and easy to travel, and a never-ending new ethnic groups, funky something to see, a great place for person who like to visit the people of countries.

This is almost the perfect place for anyone that has traveled South America as a backpacker.

Now, backpackers are now tourist, they are not suffering as if some did 10 years ago, they are become snobs, trolley tramps, carts, wheels and all sorts of modern conveniences. The bush taxi is like getting on a bus to ride to Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, not fun, but you do it.

50-100 Kilometer jumps are easy in Africa, a new culture normally a change, something new.

A person that reads the Guidebooks should understand, they are not written by people who are poor backpackers in Africa. It was some rich enough to travel anywhere person who never did the tough it trip of 33 hours between Santiago Chile and Punta Arenas because they had no choice.

They are driving around in 4-wheel drive air-conditioned NGO-SUV-TOYOTA they are clueless on being a backpacker. They are recommending consistently a motel that needs car, there is no need for a backpack that you put on you back to walk, they never walked, and they were in a car.

So, the bottom line, is this place is ready for any ready to do South America, Central America traveler, the Asia travelers are more party and get drunk set, and not as tough, the India travelers are somewhat up to snuff, probably would be happy here, easier than India, and 20 times cleaner, no 50 times.

The Bush taxi is not for tourist, and either is South America. However, a good old Backpacker that has traveled or knows South America would have zero problems.

Whatever you hear about the bush taxi, it is not fun, but it is convenient and works.


Africa Bush Taxi


Africa Research

Africa Research
Zinder Niger West Africa
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I am a researcher, I need to label myself a researcher, accept that I do research. Mentally it is easy to be lax and safe in comments if I some disclaim what I am.

For example, if I say I am not a journalist, then I can say all I type or write is opinions, not collaborated and be suspect, do not trust, it is my opinion only.

I on the other hand know, it is best to strive for perfection in the collection of facts, photos, or information. I strive to enter perfect information; I know I fail, however often only about 15-20 percent.

There is information that is easy to find, like the name of a park, the name of a museum or the names of hotels. I think I allow this information to be weak or bad because I want a person to know, they should not depend or use the information as their only source, they need a guidebook that is in the business of this, I am not a guide in this way.

I am a researcher.

I say this in seriousness; I try to collect information by way of scientific methods.

BEGIN Quotes from Encyclopedia Encarta
SCIENTIFIC METHOD - Definitions of scientific method use such concepts as objectivity of approach to and acceptability of the results of scientific study. Objectivity indicates the attempt to observe things as they are, without falsifying observations to accord with some preconceived worldview. -

PROCESS OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD - (1) they make detailed observations about objects or processes, either as they occur in nature or as they take place during experiments; (2) they collect and analyze the information observed; and (3) they formulate a hypothesis that explains the behavior of the phenomena observed. -

END Quotes from Encyclopedia Encarta

I proactively search for and take photos of specific topics, for example, I will usually take photos showing the pubic water and sewer systems of a country, city or state.

Transportation photos, I take photos of every type of transportation as best I can, it is difficult, you may see the vehicle only one time, and not photograph it, travel to the next city and never see it again. This type of photos demands that I have my camera on me 100 percent of the time.
I have my pet project, one is malnutrition.
http://www.malnutritionsolutions.org

- The one and a half wit is often considered a half-wit because we only understand one-third his wit. -

Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)
U.S. writer.
Walden, or, Life in the Woods
------I will misquote, cannot find the exact quote offline. -----

MAKING A WEB SITE

A website is inherently the publish information collected. A great website like About.com or Wikipedia.org strive to be the guru on topics or many subjects.

http://www.about.com
Or
http://www.wikipedia.org

HoboTraveler.com strives to be the Guru of Travel, sometimes it say as the gentle opinions on the art of travel. It is not a science, one test does not always work in the next test, cultures change and what works does not apply in the next.

Inductive logic is my forum.

AFRICA RESEARCH
We often believe there are student, professors and researcher traveling everywhere on the planet to do research. I have met a few persons, normally about age 20-25 that say they are doing research. I do sometimes see a station or location where there is an office for research.

It is very easy to label yourself a researcher, especially if your observations, theories, collected data is extremely difficult, or expensive to test or replicate.

I personally feel and see very few researchers traveling the planet, if they do, it is for less than one to three month trips, barely time to get a good fungus growing, and then you need to be stupid.

HOW TO DO RESEARCH?

I am dwelling on this issue; I see that I am uniquely qualified to teach a scientist how to collect information fast, efficient, and effective. However, more important than this, is the ability to not lose or forget information whereby they are tempted to fudge or falsify information.

I have readers complain sometimes about a deluge of photos on some subjects that bore them. I know, because many write me, that there are people sometime looking on my pages as sources of information for research. Therefore the more the better, I know that as many perceptions and observations as possible insures the best ability to analyze.

I have experiences the problems of collecting information, photos, data, and facts on subjects or topic now for about 10 years. I do not know anyone on the planet who has moved from place to place-collecting information like this personally. I think James Michener the writer did this, and he probably did without a computer, so amazing to me.

IMMEDIACY NEED

Taking notes, and then transforming them into a written document, a publish work is fraught with incredible problems. If a person who is afraid all the time of Africa is doing research, it become apparent they did terrible research in their heightened state of fear for themselves. The more common problem is they spend 90 percent of their day in the process of trying to do their creature comforts, whereby they cannot focus on the research.

I believe the only accurate research done in primitive areas is done when the person or group does all the work in the field, including the writing of the documents, at least up to the next to final drafts.

The reason is this, notes are difficult, the memory fades, observations become foggy. The need for immediate transformation of the information from notes to written, cogent explanations, take from abstract notes to more clear concepts is necessary.

TRICKS OF THE TRADE

Effectiveness of research while working on a project whereby a person lives aboard is about the organizational skills of the person.

Perceptions of what a person does in interesting, I talked with great length with a professor about the idea of research. He more or less said I was not a graduate student; therefore, I was not able to do research. I think his premise was that a person needs to take classes to be trained in scientific method, to learn how to apply and use scientific methods.

I was laughing and said, you are saying a 20 years person with almost zero life experiences can be more organized than me? I have 30 years of work, trying to learn better organizational skills. In addition, I have learned too many times; the real learning that has happened in my life was not when a teacher gave me a lecture. It was me the student, focusing and applying myself to read, study, learn, apply and remember the textbooks or literature. The teacher is great for clarification when the written documents are unclear to me.

I look to Professors for quick starts on subjects; I want them to outline the best references sources on a subject. This is not very applicable, however when I get near a photographer, I ask them how they learn, what they study, how they developed their skills. I can find a professional photographer quicker while traveling than I can find and over 40 Professor Researcher. I am looking for skill sets better than mine, not just knowing the words and phrases, and however applying them in real life.

I am doing better on this, I am finding in the USA the professors that go overseas to do research, I am starting to track them, and I will fly to their locations in the future. I want to learn from the best, not the one on the USA or wherever who is talking about a place they have never seen, negligent in my belief.

Self-Sustainable Research
I have a research project I am working on, that is self-funding, data collection and analization system that should be 50-100 times more thorough than any one-man team. Because it is self-funding, I believe I can put almost unlimited numbers of data collection or miners onto a topic.

The typing in of content into a page, striving for perfection, while in the field, accurate and extremely thorough is the goal of a travel page. This also the goal of research in a general way.

BENEFIT
I should be able to take about any topic, in this case, say I will apply it to the topic of Malnutrition, I will create the systems for collections, then assign workers, and as hard as it is to believe, I cannot believe anyone would say, however a person ask me, or said,
- You have to check the data…? -

NO S H I T

I think a person that says this, knows this is their weakness; I personally spend my life trying to find ways to quickly check data. The problem I have is I can collect information ten times faster than I can personally enter. Therefore, this is my need, to have person assist me, some man in Zinder, Niger, the last country on the list, the HDI, Human Development Index by the United Nations, the worst, the winner of the infamous designation. The worst developed nation on the planet.

To blog accurately, correctly, I need a team of researcher. I laugh when a person says to do this and that. Yes, correct, if I had 100 lives I would be able to know all the ethnic groups of Benin, label, and categorize and all my pictures would be label closer to correct.

Many of these people take ten photos and label them correct, I have taken 700 in the last 3 weeks, and it is onerous to say the least. I need researchers and easy also to say, but what is the problem is money.

The money runs out, the research ends before completed to a level of acceptable standards. I know they make up information and close out, because of time and money.

This is the two variables I am attacking how to apply humans to the task whereby the money never ends, and there is an unlimited amount of persons who can add time to the work. 99 percent of data collection is perspiration and only about 1 percent is insightful analysis.

Africa Research


Cote dIvoire to Senegal Plan

Cote dIvoire to Senegal Plan

I am trying to find a by land path to travel in the Western part of West Africa, I have found two good routes to travel.



This is a map trying to show the larger roads of the countries, so I can discover some circular route or in this case a Trip from Cote d’Ivoire to Senegal by land and traveling these countries.

Cote d’Ivoire
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Guinea
Guinea Bissau
The Gambia
Senegal
Cape Verde

I have no easy way to learn what roads I can travel or not travel, I can get on the internet for one month and ask, however I need a confirmed person to tell me this is possible. I know many trips are possible; however, this area of Africa is more difficult. As always it appears I will just start traveling the route and see what happens, it impossible to move along the path I think may work, then I will return. The major roads I need to know first, or buy a 4-wheel drive…

If I was in the USA, I know some books that I could buy or read in the library, they are not available here, the internet is so full of people guessing, and the information is never as good as a book. To unreliable and dangerous for me try to use for more than just small planning. I need to believe the person really did the trip.


Cote dIvoire to Senegal Plan


Entrepreneur of Ideas

Entrepreneur of Ideas
Zinder Niger West Africa
Monday, October 9, 2006

- Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. -

Attributed to Thomas Alva Edison (1847 - 1931)
U.S. inventor. (2)

A good idea, nurtured, held in your hands, remember, not forgot, maybe written down, explained to all your friends, can blossom and turn into greatness. The small idea with the persistence of one person can change the world. There are people that change the world, Thomas Edison, Mahatma Ghandi, Bill Gates, John F Kennedy, Carnegie, etc, it is not a group of persons, and it was one person with a vision that continued until others followed.

A person with a good idea is actually a dime a dozen, the person with the persistence to take give the 99 percent perspiration to transform a good idea into greatness is unique.

The Eden Foundation here in Zinder has given me hope for NGO’s of the planet, I have found my first NGO that is doing good, for the sake of doing good. Through 99 percent perspiration and one percent inspiration, they have been entrepreneurs of idea on a project. By shear persistence they have mined the idea, sorts, categorized and found what works in the Sahel or lower part of the Sahara desert, they have found the solution to feed people.
http://www.eden-foundation.org

It is dynamic, through trial and error, they have worked for over 20 years to take an idea and make it blossom.

I have a dream also, about ideas. There are so many good ideas, I, myself have databases full of good ideas from just me, I came up with them. How many will I nurture, feed, and grow until they blossom, I do not know, but I do know, I can make many of them grow, before I die.

There are people on the planet that need support, money is not the support, they need encouragement and belief in them, and then they need money. Money helps, but you cannot buy a persistent person. However, if you find one, I do hope they succeed before they give up for lack of money.

There are persons who are entrepreneurs of ideas, they are innovative and creative, they have many good ideas, and they spew forth with good ideas. Then comes the need to take a good idea and transform it into success, the 99 percent perspiration is applied to the idea.

I am very sad, I have never seen an NGO doing well, and they normally destroy more than they help. Making beggars of the world, they have spread a path of destruction on the planet, creating people with no desire to work and thrive, removing the pride of the people of the planet.

I only have seen one NGO in ten years of travel that I feel good about, I feel good about the Eden Foundation, what is good, if there is one, there is another, there is hope.

http://www.eden-foundation.org

Entrepreneur of Ideas


Kandi Benin Before Entering Niger

Kandi Benin
Kandi Benin West Africa
Thursday, October 5, 2006

Kandi is the name of my sister!

A nice little village, a good stop before entering Niger, however I am not sure why, but you can stop. The market is funky; timing it so it is on Sunday is maybe a waste of time.



I think, if you need a good drunk, before you enter the Islamic country of Niger, then Kandi is good. However, I know, they do sell Alcohol in Niger. I just realized, there is tons of liquor sales here, it would be a great place to stock up for people with cars and go into the more Islamic Niger. I bet that is the reason there is so much Whiskey sales here.

Kandi Benin, the last easy drunk before Niger, however, I have to believe the border city of Malanville is full also. There is this huge park and it is being pushed. I am sure the NGO-SUV-TOYOTA are all buying all the alcohol before they go to the park.

Kandi Benin


Lonely Planet West Africa

Lonely Planet West Africa
Kandi Benin
Thursday, October 5, 2006

I use the Lonely Planet, have used Footprints in South America, used the Bradt Guide in Iraq, I think that is how you spell the name. I started with the Lonely Planet and maybe it and the Rough guide are the easy ones to trade or find while on the road. I am presently using a 1999 version of Lonely Planet West Africa, the only one I could find in Nepal and seven years old.

I say tough things about the guide, sometimes I despise there ideologies and opinions; however I do use the guide. I know how it works; therefore, it is quick for me.

I use one simple method of planning my trips. I make sure my passport is good, I have two ATM Cards, and I buy a plane ticket. Somewhere, normally before I enter a continent I try to buy a guidebook, however not necessary, and normally they are cheaper when I arrive. However, moreover, in Africa, there does not seem to be anyone, therefore, I needed to buy before I came.

I just do not know how to tell a person to figure out the ways of the road. A person can read everything, and still not be prepared to travel, they need to adapt to the local conditions. I have personally traveled with two people small distances in Africa, the Dutch Girl in Apam, Ghana and Sara the Peace Corps girl in Boukombe, Benin.

From both of the women, I heard and watch them
- PERFORM GUIDEBOOK -

The Dutch girl paid for her bag, to board a Mini-Bus in Ghana, and strange as it seems, I was sitting right next to here, had more bags and did not pay, did try to pay, was not asked. I boarded the bus and paid my normal fare.

She performed the Lonely Planet Guidebook recommendation on how to pay for bags. I learned from here also the Lonely Planet guides recommendation on how to pay for at the whole taxi, you multiply the number of places times the cost of one seat, therefore she knew more than I did and helped.

I have not once in West Africa from Cote d’Ivoire to here paid for my bags, I just refuse and get out, normally the price they want from a White Man is an insult, and I do not start at insult prices ever. I am more aggressive, type an alpha male then them, so easy for me to say and do.

Sara, from the Peace Corps from the USA was performing both the guidebook and the Peace Corps training. I cracked up when she said she,
- Reserved a Taxi Seat -

I have been trying to remember, I was pushing to understand if anyone besides the White, English speaking, not the French, however the English persons called them anything but Taxi. She asked some Benin man in Boukombe to say what he called them, and more or less said, what do you call a Brush Taxi, he said,
- Brush Taxi -

I think, maybe I am wrong, he for sure said the word,
- Brush -

However, I also know they may have problem saying the word bush and say brush, because of problem with the R. I kept calling the Auberge USA in Natitingou a Boom Boom hotel, and Sophi the manager kept repeating.
- Brrrrooom Brrrrooom -

She had trouble saying Boom.

I just checked the word, it is not a Brush, and it is a Bush Taxi. I do not read the guidebook closely, I read for what I need. Getting transportation is not a big problem for me, however, I still can learn from reading the guidebook, however I probably learn along the way more because I am too lazy or bored to read a guidebook from cover to cover.

Sara had the Bradt guide, she was going to show me something in it and then we forgot, I do not know if she has the LP also, however I saw many in the Peace Corps office in Natitingou.

She asked something about how I learned French, and I said something to the effect,
- I have no choice. -

Learning French here is confusion, I often know the French word and pronunciations better than the local does. French is a learned language, the language of business, however the second language to most. I said to Sara,
- I had his 12 year old girl in Ouidah I called the Professor. -
Commenting on the young girl,
- She was helping and correcting me for days, it was great. -

Sara says,
- This is unusual, normally a younger person will not correct and older person. -
(Repeating or saying either Peace Corps or the guides training.)

It was as if she did not believe, I went on, saying or explaining,
- This girl was great; she helped, corrected, and made me learn French. -

The Dutch girls of Cape Coast Ghana and Apam had less training and was more West Africa street smart, however Sara had already been in the country of Benin for two months and the other Dutch was at most seven weeks in Ghana.

I use a guidebook, think it is crazy to not use a guidebook, the cost of rooms itself pays for the guidebook easily. I could carry three here in Africa and they for sure would have saved me money on rooms. I would do the Bradts, probably a Routards, the Frenchie one and the Lonely Planet.

Between them all, I could suss out the cheapest rooms. Traveling in West Africa and living in Hotels is a land mine situation of exploding budgets. The guidebook writers, were in cars mostly, they had a higher than normal backpacker budget and just did not look and would not sleep in the cheaper hotels. Cost was not the reason they chose a room.

However, if you can only afford 10 dollars a night, you take the room, whether you like it or not, and look for the best, under 10, this was not the feeling I get from the guides, they are going strictly Motel and not Hotel in the centers.

The Lonely Planet for West Africa should separate the hotels, this is one you can get a moto too, and walk to from easy. This one you
- NEED a car. -

I am in the Auberge La Rencontre in Kandi, Benin, there is two Motels pointed out, then they say, many readers recommended the,
- Auberge La Rencontre -

The spelled it wrong, and said,
- Recontre -

I put them both, in case someone searches in Google.com or Yahoo.com for the wrong spelling, not to point out, the guides are good at spelling, not a problem.

I went around and around with my ever-stupid Motorcycle Taxi yesterday, trying to have him take me a Hotel in the Centreville, he was vitamin deficit as normal, took me to one of the White Man hotels or Motels. I kept trying to say,
- Je voule promenade a ville -

I want to walk to the village, however he did not speak French for crap, and I finally got across the word.
- Centreville -

I have learned all these words from talking, not from the dictionary and class, I am not
- Performing Dictionary. -

I am saying or trying to say, what I have heard, therefore to get away from the Motels, I must say,
- Centreville. -

Alternatively, center of the Village, I also go a lot for Cyber Café and for Marche or the Internet Café and close to the Market.

I was cracking; the guidebook explained how the squat toilets of Africa were better than Hovering over the western styles. For sure, they did not stay in the shared toilet rooms, the telltale clue to the truth, or at least the person who wrote the introductions.

Ok, the LP is good, but for the Budget Traveler, the person who should be coming to West Africa as tourist, it is a problem. The cost of West Africa according to the guide is about 7000 to 15,000 CFA minimal per night. This is about 15 to 35 US dollars per night for hotel rooms.

I am not much better than the guide, I have too much money now, I am not willing and to do not want to fight the brain dead, vitamin deficit mentality of West Africa for 2-4 dollars, when I only stay one night, but if I was on my under 5 dollars at all cost budget of two years ago, I,
- would not be HERE. -

Ok, a person can easily live in West Africa for fewer than 10 Dollars per night US, - AVERAGE - but you must work, and I have TWO very large rocks, I carry about 40-50 Kilos or 80-100 Pounds of weight. Sara was commenting, why you carry so much,
- I do not walk. I take a Taxi, they are too cheap. -

I need my computer, I want my computer, it is my project, my friend and in the end, it has the Encyclopedia inside, I do not read the guide for facts on Benin, it is permeated with crap thinking of the guide writer and hearsay facts. Not true, hard facts, I want the hard facts, not that the Encyclopedia knows much about Africa, but better researchers than the guidebook, and stick to the facts better. I find the guidebooks are pushing a
- Pallode or Pailliode -
I am not sure how to spell it, but it says it with almost every hotel, and it tells you consistently how to drink, or where to find alcohol or the Buvettes. Sara did this, and so did Richard of the Peace Corps, they knew every bar in the city better than they could tell me how to talk with the locals. I am not sure they ever went or visited the great Marche in the Natitingou, however, the guidebook recommend drinking the Sorghum Beer and going to the Market in Boukombe, therefore she drank the beer and went to the Market. I personally think the market in Boukombe sucks, but I am not wanting to drink, and Boukombe arrived drunk.

Kandi has more alcohol than I can imagine, I wonder why, obviously the Islamic religion is growing in percentage here and there is not travelers. Africa drinks a lot, the men are lazy, make the women do all the work and sit around playing cards or board games while the women do all the work.

Sara did help on this read everything and take the training, told me about that men are not suppose to talk with the women. I talk with the women all the time, however in a way, she is correct; the men here do not talk with the women. I therefore have the market to myself, there are not many men in the market, and it is full of women. There is also a huge high-class low class, almost a CASTE system here, it is amazing who is selling the charcoal, and who is selling the Voodoo, strange in Natitingou, the animal skins and creepy stuff, I DO NOT KNOW, if it was Voodoo crap, I could not be bothered, nonetheless, the animal parts, and creepy stuff appears to be sold by the Islamic Men, not any local witch doctor types.. Hehehe

Why am I writing about the Guidebooks and performing the guidebooks. I suppose I am annoyed on how much I have to read between the lines and study to find the information. Normally it is in the guidebook, however you must read it cover to cover before you come.

There are three essential of travel.
- Transportation. -
- Hotels -
- Money -

Food is not, you can live a few days without food, and water is easy to find, unless you need to stay home because you only want purified. I do not think you can buy always-purified water in Africa; you would have to do this process yourself.

There are some major fears people have about Africa; the danger is minimal in the 5-6 country Visa Entente Group of West Africa, maybe the CFA group of countries.
- Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali. -
Mali and Ghana are not Visa Entente countries.

NOTE: Visa Touristique Entente did NOT work for Niger; I was required to buy a new 20,000 CFA Visa at the Border.

The countries that use the CFA are difficult to list, however this is where the brains all copy the other brains. They probably have Baguettes and sell Benets in the street.

I am sure people are Afraid of AIDS or SIDA, however that is just too stupid, you must decide to have sex to have a problem.

I think or suspect the two biggest reasons person do not travel in West Africa is,
- They do not want to ride in Bush Taxi -
This makes it impossibly expensive.

- They do not want to use a shared toilet -
This makes it more expensive.

I think you can travel West Africa and never share a toilet for less than 10 Dollars per night US. However, you will learn to like to clean the toilets also, in reality all toilets even in 5 star hotels need to be clean, they just look clean, they are not clean, even in the USA and Europe.

The Bush taxi, NOT called this. It is called TAXI. I have in two month never heard them call what I have taken all the way from Abidjan to here Kandi, almost Niger a Bush Taxi; it is a Taxi or Car… maybe. Voiture or TAXI is best.

Therefore to easily double the number of tourist in West Africa, beside all the Visa Headaches. I am pushing the Visa Entente Tour the loop of countries,
- Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali. -
It is Cote d’Ivoire, not Ivory Coast, but easy for me to type.

NOTE: Visa Touristique Entente did NOT work for Niger; I was required to buy a new 20,000 CFA Visa at the Border.

The art if traveling in West Africa is how to take one of these Peugeot Taxi cars and not suffer. If you can learn French enough, you just pay for the two front seats and have them to yourself. In fact, I have to be very careful of they will assume I am paying for both. I must say and repeat the price, I must be very careful with the taxi drivers, they will try to gouge it they get the chance.

We sat four across for about 150 Kilometers from Parakou to Kandi, this Yoga position has made my body hurt. The cost was 5 dollars, for the cost of 10 dollars; I could have avoided the Yoga lesson. I know me, I will only pay 5 dollars for this type of Yoga lesson, I would not pay more than one for a real one, but this type I am cheap, I pay local fare. However, there is a limit to crap, the problem is this, and you must make the decision before you enter the taxi or before it starts. We started with three and went to four in the front, too late.

The guide pushes the big buses and the train very stupidly, you will spend you whole life waiting for these types of transportations and for sure, you cannot see the countries on the list. To see them, you either need to have a car, motorcycle of take a group taxi.

I am leaning toward motorcycle, I feel safest in share public transportation and feel driving a private car is five times more dangerous than taking a group taxi. A motorcycle would even be more dangerous; however, Africa is safer than probably South America, and do not even think of comparing it to Mexico. However, if you will drive a car in Mexico, then Africa is easy and maybe safe in the Visa Entente Loop.

NOTE: Visa Touristique Entente did NOT work for Niger; I was required to buy a new 20,000 CFA Visa at the Border.

A good online guide would have a link every time it mentions taxi that would lead to how to take a group taxi. Paper severely stops the LP from always explaining a person does need to read from cover to cover before coming. I am sure some will read every post I make before they come…. Hehehe, I do not stay on travel of Africa good, so they probably are angry at me. I am a travel blog; not really, this is just an online diary.

Ooops, it is 6:25 in the morning, I need to pack and leave, and I always leave the door at no later than 7:15 to catch a group taxi. Today I go from Kandi to the border city of something called Man.. Spelling is hard.
- Malanville -


Lonely Planet West Africa


Kandi Hotel Auberge

Kandi Hotel Auberge
Kandi Benin
Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Auberge La Rencontre
5500 CFA with Shared Bath and Toilet or 7500 with private. Note, I think you can easily get 25-75 Percent discount on any room in West Africa.

- Hotel Motel Holiday Inn -
That is a phrase from some song I remember from long ago.


Kandi Hotel Auberge


Learning Humility in Africa

Learning Humility in Africa
Natitingou Benin West Africa
Tuesday, October 3, 2006

I was a philosophy major; I learned some techniques of critical thinking and logic. There are three major lessons I wish I could remember.

1. Do not reinvent the wheel.
The solutions to problems exist; search the whole area before you start to think.

2. Devote my time to existing solutions.
Spend more time looking for sources of answers problems already identified, and the solutions.

3. Collect Ideas, they are what are valuable.

Many problems in the world have solutions. The solution is difficult to find, but there is somebody on the other side of the planet maybe, studying this problem. They come up with a great idea, the solutions to problem and publish it in some journal, and there is sits, collecting dust.

I am amazed when I find a person who is working on solutions, way ahead of me, and I am happy in this instance. I think I have discovered quite by accident a man in Niger who has a great project and is helping Niger to solve problems of malnutrition. I am going to go visit him soon, his name is Josef.

http://www.eden-foundation.org/project/articles_niger_crisis_2005.html

http://www.eden-foundation.org/project/seminars_ipalac.html

http://www.eden-foundation.org/project/desertif.html

I do not find him in Google.com, I found him because I was rummaging around in Africa, looking around, trying to think. My friend Stellan in Lome Togo told me about his organization.


Learning Humility in Africa