Benin Travel Stories, Page 11

West Africa Hotel Architecture

West Africa Hotel Architecture
Bohicon Benin West Africa
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I have lived in Hotels now for nine to ten years, it give me and sensitivity to the design of Hotels that is acute. I appreciate the benefits and am annoyed by the problems. 95 percent of hotel problems are because the hotel does not do maintenance or repair broken of worn out parts of the hotel.

West Africa above average rooms or lodging for tourist, the tourist infrastructure is weak, however if there is a hotel or lodging the hotel was built to be a hotel. Many rooms on the planet are older building modified to be a hotel, guesthouse or hostel. Difficult to change the design of an old colonial home, whereby it has all the benefits of a hotel designed and built as a hotel.

MOTELS IN WEST AFRICA

Motel:
- motorists’ hotel: a hotel intended to provide short-term lodging for traveling motorists, usually situated close to a highway and having rooms accessible from the parking area. - (2)

The Dako Hotel here in Bohicon, Benin is exactly this; the hotel was designed for motorist or travelers with a car, who wants a room. It looks almost like an American Hotel where you drive to the reception area, pick up the key, pay, drive, and park in front or you room. Whereby you can easily load and unload your baggage.

Security of West Africa I think dictates the opposite approach, they have a center all and everyone has to enter one entrance and carry the bags to their rooms. More the Five-Star approach with bellmen.

The Dako has a swimming pool; it actually was full of young beautiful black girls yesterday. I was astounded to actually see people at the pool, however today I expect again none. There is a youth group or sorts here; I am not sure what they are doing.


The Design of the Dako Bohicon Hotel is of a Motel.

MOTEL PROBLEMS
I am traveling between motels and I do not have the motor. I have no car, everyday I travel in West Africa it become more apparent that I am missing my car. The hotels are designed for car, it is much the same as the USA, and you will never find a cheap hotel in the USA, unless you have a car to drive to the obscure, mom and pop motel on the fringes of cities.

Summing of Annoyances
I feel annoyed, it is summed up over time, there is the straw that breaks the camel back, and I finally realize why I am annoyed. If a person is on a two-week vacation, the small things never build up to the point of awareness. I on the other hand am living in West Africa now; I travel longer, move around, and notice the place.

The sum of all problems become to the forefront of my senses. The Hotels in Africa are five times better than any of the other under-developed normal 80 percent of the planet hotels. On the other hand, they are also, three to five times more expensive also, and if I paid the same in 80 percent of the planet, I would live the same. I like not paying the amount of money more than I like having better rooms. I can choose the perfect room in a cheap hotel, and live better for less.

I have collected as of today 1432 specific characteristics of a hotel, identifying benefits, services, or problems. I am slowly developing a sub-categorization system whereby I can explain or help a person to analyze some aspect of a hotel.

I think about Architectural design often, and sometimes wish I had become an Architect. I was extremely good at drafting in high school and the only reason I did not go into the study of Architecture is that I wanted to go to Indiana University and not Ball State. Indiana University is more a Business and Arts and Science school, while Ball State has an Architectural department, and is what I call a make-teachers school. Not that simple, we also have Purdue that is about farming and other related subjects.

I have studied homes, businesses, and all aspects of real estate for years, I was in the real estate business for 14 years, and could talk years on how to sell, buy, or develop land, build a home, what are the pros and cons of real estate.

Home Inspection Services
The trend in the USA, not the world is to hire an inspector that enters the home you wish to purchase. Creates a report explaining the condition of the property. This report will identify major problems with the structure, however if a good inspector, they will help to show the benefits of the property also. A home inspector would be a great person to evaluate a hotel; they would have a list of small problems in their head and could see them.

I am listing benefits and problems caused because the designs of the rooms are such that I do not benefit. This is different from saying obvious problems like there are bare electric wires. The room often has no bare wire, and there is no problem, however there are no electrical plugs, therefore no problems.

HOTEL CHECKLIST
I believe all this five star concept is more of zero value. I see stars and I only think more money. If they list the stars the know they can charge more money because people trust them. I on the other hand know if the name is anything other than the word - Hotel - the price can be less. A country, city, state will tax a Hotel more than a Guesthouse; this does not stop a Guesthouse from being a much better place to sleep or for me to live than a Hotel.

The only true way to evaluate a hotel is to have an extensive checklist of benefits; problems and services, then go line item by line item down the list. Then come the problem of lack of regularity of rooms, a hotel more or less has all rooms looking the same, a bed and breakfast and all rooms are unique. The inspection becomes a room-by-room affair.

A good guide writer will say the rooms in this area are better, however very subjective. I am having a problem because I feel the guidebook writers for the Lonely Planet West Africa all had cars or some vehicle to drive, They did not just get out of group taxi, get on a Zim or Motorcycle and ride to all the Hotel, it would have taken days. In addition, most of them must have been fluent in French.

This is therefore a backpacker’s headache; we do not buy cars normally and do not drive. We carry a backpack so we can walk from place to place with are home on our backs. If we are directed to go to hotels, which are far away from anything, then we need a car, or for sure access to Motorcycle Taxis or car taxis.


West Africa Hotel Architecture


From Heaven to Bohicon Benin

From Heaven to Bohicon Benin
Bohicon Benin West Africa
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

24/7 give me gift, give me that…aagh, I went from Cove, Benin where only one person ask me for something in two days, to where I am accosted every 10 steps. Amazing how a culture can go down the tubes, I am in what I think is a popular with the workers, NGO, etc, people, the give them money, made them this way group. Cover where the owners of the Provincial Hotel told me maybe two white people come a month was like heaven, now I am in Bohicon, and I think Abomey is worst.

I need the satellite connection; I really want to hit them on the head with a big stick. If I had a satellite connection, I could just skip these overly stupid cities. The plus is there is this cafeteria across the street where I may be able to get chicken and rice cheap… hmm, not so cheap about five dollars, damn, I pay one dollar in the normal poor world.

Well, every disaster zone has some good, I am learning more words, I now know.
- Cadeau -
Which means,
- Gift -

I am glad I am not in Ghana, the would understand my English, and for sure I do not need to know in French how to do something to themselves anatomically impossible. Something in me, really gets angry feeling an adult tries to take advantage of me, it is not that they are doing this to me; they are hitting a brick wall. It is as my friend describes Africa.
- thug/tyrant/war lord -

SOCIOPATH OR PSYCHOPATHS
Quote from Encyclopedia:
- People with antisocial personality disorder act in a way that disregards the feelings and rights of other people. Antisocial personalities often break the law, and they may use or exploit other people for their own gain. They may lie repeatedly, act impulsively, and get into physical fights. They may mistreat their spouses, neglect or abuse their children, and exploit their employees. They may even kill other people. People with this disorder are also sometimes called sociopath or psychopaths. Antisocial behavior in people less than 18 years old is called conduct disorder. - (2)

I learned in Mexico about the corrupt personality or thugs. I dated a girl whose father was like the Governor of Merida area. I stopped dating her before it was clarified. I mention this to my friend Enrique, I was not happy knowing this, as 99 percent of Mexican politicians eight years ago were probably making money by abusing the people. The daughter looked the other way. Enrique says,
- What good luck. -

I could not figure out why having a girlfriend of a corrupt politician was good luck, to me bad luck. As I finally understood, Enrique did not hate corruption; he wanted to be the person doing it. This is a problem with corruption, it does not stop normally at the top, and they all are in a fight to be the one who is being the big boss.

I have nine to ten years of beggar experience, I live, eat, drink, and walk with beggars on a daily basis. It is the guaranteed existence of human flesh outside the USA. I however, do not see beggars, or person who feel entitled to money, some in India, however not so rampant.

This is not normal, somewhere, somehow there is a complete breakdown of some normal social barriers. The beggar is not considered an acceptable person in most communities, tolerated, helped, overlooked, talk to, many things, but not accepted. The people put up their barriers to stop them.

I like Africa immensely, however, I must stop coming to the cities, they are just a waste of my good time, and stay clear of the too touristy hotels. Pretty much anything in the guidebook seems off limits for me.

Time to make some rice with chicken bouillon in my room for about 10 cents US, a dramatic savings over eating the 5-dollar string chicken across the street. I have found the Electricity, although it does go off sometimes, it is very good. A solid, uninterrupted, not easily confused electricity. I do not break the breakers or fuses by using electricity, I do not see everybody hooking up illegal, and I think West Africa is going to develop very well with Electric use. What this translates to, is I can plug in my hot plate easy, cook some rice, blast about 1500 Watts over the thing, and not have problems. Over 250-500 and normal world goes pop. I have not blown one fuse or breaker in Africa, and I am an electricity hound.


From Heaven to Bohicon Benin


Bohicon Benin

Bohicon Benin
Bohicon Benin West Africa
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

There is no maybe in Africa; a white man is supposed to know where he is going. I am amazed when a Taxi driver says, when I ask,
- Where is a hotel? -
And they say,
- Which Hotel? -

Why would be asking for a Hotel, when if I already knew a Hotel. The taxi driver was reveling in taking me long distance fast to nowhere fast. He thought he could make me pay for driving fast nowhere, he said 2000 and I gave him 1200 and told him to get lost in English, and he read my eyes. I am lucky I have not committed assault on taxi driver; it has come very close before.

Well, I went to the internet café first in Bohicon, and then the lady said it opened at 8:00 at night, the worst time on the planet to use the internet. I said to take me to the Market; I like to live close to market, always something to look at in the market. The Cove Market was one of the most interesting ones I have ever entered in all my travels. I do not think a White person ever goes there, like a virgin market, and huge, full of many food, and typical, no tourist to be sold to silly people stuff.

In Abomey, you could buy them, black, naked with very pointed boob wooden statues everywhere.



A tourist area could be noted, when you see these pointed type statues around. I do not see them outside in the rural areas. Only in the to be sold tourist areas. They can be very nice, great for decorating a home, however, I am sure no backpacker walking is buying them, however most have cars, and they are not backpackers. They are NGO or Volunteers, not travelers; they have the big money and the SUV. I do not call this typical, more of made to sell stuff.

I am in the Dako Hotel, I think that is how you spell it, I found the one after the taxi driver left that I asked for, not that it matters. They all are empty. However, there is a taxi stand just outside the hotel, many of them boys that spend 15 hours talking per day sitting waiting for 40 cents US to go to the Ville, about one kilometer away. I do not mind distance with the hotel if there is many motos just outside the door.

I am happy 8500 CFA and the room is nice, the staff is professional, I have not seen that in an of these motels, I am going to stop calling them Hotel, they are all like Motels. Set up for cars, everyone that goes to hotels in Africa seems to drive a car, except for me. Then again, I have only seen eight tourists in two months.
The Hotels seems to places to come do boom boom with your girl, take her in a Mercedes Benz to the Hotel and pay a lot, impress her and take her pants off after you get her drunk. The Provincial Hotel in Cove had a regular party every night, it was small annoyance, I was on the backside, and these rich people are not user friendly.


Bohicon Benin


Abomey Benin

Abomey Benin
Bohicon Benin West Africa
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In a black and white world, on-off, yes or no situation, I almost made huge isolation blunder in Abomey, Benin. There is this Hotel Monique, very nice, posh, about 20 words of English, many naked girl statues made or wood and totally westernized ready for tourist. I keep asking, trying to find people, the man said, full, but it was empty. I keep pushing this one man in one the made for Africa all White Dress and pants jobbies. I never trust these guys, and for sure this time I was correct. I ask, can I walk to the Internet, and he said,
- Yes, no problem. -

I decided to check where the internet was before I rented another tourist motel room, this room needs a car. Well, it is over two kilometers away or less, hehehe, I really do not need to spend my life walking I nice areas of Africa. The road to the internet was for sure of almost zero interest, and I am lost why the guidebook recommends this city. It is touristy, has massage, NGO this, save that, nothing but something not Africa, then the place is dirty, Africa is surprising clean to me, and this place was cluttered.

I wanted to return to Cove, there are two hotels there, I could take a car in to Bohicon for 800 Fran, and it cost me 200 just to go from my hotel now to the internet.

I then went to the Latte or something, and then to the Josie, all were walk 500 meters and get a Moto or Zim when you do not need one. I get excessively much exercise to need to just walk for the hell of it one kilometer. I walk or wonder around everywhere, I do not want to work to go do work, I want life to be simple, I want my hotel simple.

I took a Moto back for another 600 Fran from Abomey to Bohicon, if I did not need to use the internet I would went north and forgot both these not so nice cultural places. Africa is wonderful; the cities are not, however, I do not like any city.

Maybe Manila, but they have Nescafe Ice.


Abomey Benin


Leave Cove Benin

Leave Cove Benin
Cove Benin West Africa
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I go for Abomey or Bohicon Benin; Bohicon is on the railway tracks and seems to be a junction, while Abomey is pushed by the LP - Lonely Planet West Africa as the place to go. I will go for the internet; I hope a two-day an out trip.

To the West of Abomey or Bohicon are many small villages. I want to go right up the middle of them.



This map shows many villages to the left and north of Abomey, Benin. I want to see Africa; I am going to take for sure the road less traveled and go up the left side closer to Togo. It will make finding a city with a hotel more difficult, but not a problem, I can just keep trucking, literally trucking until I get somewhere.

I will stay in Abomey, try to post this world and move on North and West or the left part of map. I guess there are arrows… hehehe; I cannot see the map as I type.

I think what I am searching for is typical or real Benin, I like to see close to natural living as an Animal, and not as presumptuous, we are not Animals way of thinking.

I want to know who I am, why I am, why do I think and behave as I do. It seems extremely relevant to find out how I would act if nobody told me how to act.

What tells or who tells primitive people how to act? Everyone feel pressure, these are not stupid people, they are primitive people, and lack of knowledge does not preclude a very smart brain. I do think math is a question mark, but that is my joke.

Ok, there is a man, a person, who lives on the earth, who has not been filtered, snapshot made, created to be, socialized by some religion, creed, nation to believe I am this. There is a self-sustaining village on the planet where people have nothing brought to them. I wish to go to this village or as close as possible. They call them uncontested tribes. The correct is probably little contact, the degree of contact.

Want list decreases when there is no temptations, they first one in Maslows is food, then security and safety, then comes love. I am coming to believe at this stage of motivation after a family is established or love is found. The person’s stops or the major groups of individuals stop making any progress.

Curiosity or the need to understand is up number SIX, if a group has more free time, less trying to sell time; I think they will become more curious. I tend now to think if I was in an extremely primitive society they would be higher on the stages, as they are not spending 90 percent of their day fighting for money to buy a cell phone. The food is easier, the safety is simple, the love is easy, and then comes attainment of self-esteem. This has a lot about being good at what you do and how other view you. In a smaller village, a group could or may be very accepting, they could be the opposite.

Reading books on this is not fun, like reading music, nothing every seems clear, or interesting. However, after you play the music, it can be great. I like to play the music side of culture, looking at it, understanding by seeing or listening to the music of culture in action.

All of life is culture, however after we leave the Stone Age it become a mixture of cultures, the USA is a totally mixture of many cultures, started being mostly Europe, now moving Mexico or Black.

I think the word - Fashion - should be added to this list of motivations, it would be more clear. Maybe the use of prestige covers this; however, in the end, the world revolves around fashion and trends, MTV Rules and gossip and soap operas, movies rule…


Leave Cove Benin


Blogging Travel Photos

Blogging Travel Photos
Cove Benin West Africa
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I just spent the last hour tediously labeling all the photos for newsletter number 202 from Cotonou, Benin. I wish I could figure out a way to kill two birds with one stone. It is very time consuming, I procrastinate; do not like to do the job. I also forget what the photos were about.

The blog is different from the newsletter, I only put some selected photos in the blog and I put all photos in the newsletters. However, I do the blog daily and I do the newsletter when I get the inspiration or my world comes to a climax.

If I could somehow motivate myself to label all the photos on the page as I create them. I can create the pages now in minutes. Less time than putting a photo in the blog, however still, I just avoid.

I think about this, the HoboTraveler.com is a business, in a business it is never good to avoid or procrastinate; it can be the kiss of death. I try to discover or brainstorm on ways to make this one of them jobs I want to do. I like to write about photos, in the blog, however in the newsletter bores me.

I am getting faster at making the preset pages, so eventually I can do it, somehow. One solution would be to induce some pretty woman to travel with me that is a great Webmaster, I can show her the tricks, or the tricks of the trade and I can get photos labeled. The problem is this, I take weird photos, and I still need to tell why…

PHOTOGRAPHERS
A photographer is not necessarily a person who cares about anything; it could just mean they like to take photos. More likely, they like to show their photos to people. To be curious to the level, the can see the story beneath the story, to understand the many layers that make one photos unique is not easy for some person pulled out of nowhere from a rich country.

If I ever get full spectrum, it the search for Photographer comes around finally where all the dots are connected. I will meet or wish to meet with Photographers and travel for a month, then part ways. Time is the problem, they would love me to wait on them, meet them, and this is too selfish in the end. Andy, stop you world, so I can help you, by helping you, you must stop everything. Hmm, missing the idea, the idea is to make my life easier, not more complicated.

I laugh at the photographers that say, I can take photos, then assume I should believe. I need many many examples, with captions. I wonder if the photographer is going to have to know how to make a webpage to be successful in the future. There are some program sites like Flickr or something like that, I do not see any value, too much time for me, but in the end works.


Blogging Travel Photos


Benin Girls Inspect Room

Benin Girls Inspect Room
Cove Benin West Africa
Monday, September 18, 2006

I have these little policies, little travel rules I live by that protect me, keep me safe and feeling secure. One that I have religiously lived by for the last 9-10 years is,
- Nobody comes in my room. -

I would say, in the last six months, more people entered my room than in the last nine to ten years.

My door is open now, I have always kept it shut, hiding my computer, my camera, everything in my room. I live by the theory, temptation causes theft.

I have been locking up my valuables in my backpack, chaining to the bed or anything too difficult to move. I have became very good at this in Africa after making the two really good backpacks in Nepal that I am carrying. I now allow many people to wander around in my room.

That is not true; the boys do not get in.

However, many travelers have entered my room, and just now I had a complete inspection done by the girls of the Hotel, Priscilla and Angel, The brought me my 2 dollar dinner of rice and eggs, this Provincial Hotels in Cove, Benin is on the top of my I like this hotel list in Africa.

They put it down and they just start to stare, they look at everything, these two girls are about 19 and 20 on the list. I have allowed many West Africans to see how I live, put me in a real world snapshot of them, I am not special, and I am just different and white.

I still live by the temptation theory, and nobody strangely ever seems to notice the bag chained to the bed, like what is up with that.

I am working on secure location two, money and passport hidden in plain site strategy.

I do not let them sit around and talk often, I did find one of my pony tale thingie missing and saw it at my friend’s home. A computer in Africa has no value, unless I would make music on it, so for sure I will not make music with it.


Benin Girls Inspect Room


West Africa Rain

West Africa Rain
Cove Benin West Africa
Monday, September 18, 2006

I am Indiana farm boy, good stock, wonder what is going on here in West Africa.



This is a map of West Africa, rather explaining the water or ecosystems of the Africa. I have been looking at maps now for a month or two, I study them, I try to access, and figure out what is going on in Africa and why they have such bad numbers.

I am in a flatter part of the world, not like the farming on the side of a mountain in Peru, or Nepal, or needing 150-rice terrace as in Banaue, Philippines, this place is easy to farm, except maybe, there is too much green stuff.

Furniture is made here; there is always another furniture place just down the street. I think they have cut way to many trees down; it is obviously cut the point where what should be almost a good rainforest

Are just scrub trees, like Mesquite of Texas with 50-100 times more water?

I am not sure it looks like the lumbermen came in a took all the trees and cleared the land more or less, in a scrub way, scrag way, not finished, however very close. The farming appears down in between anything that involves work. If a mound is in the way they farm around it, if a tree is there, they farm around it, too much undergrowth and they farm around it. It looks like the weed get out of control, therefore they farm around it.

Water and any soil and normally something grows, I see all type of fruits and vegetable here, however they have a fixation with growing tomatoes and the - Pima- a pepper that will burn you lips, just too hot for normal eating, must be diluted. Cassava and Peanuts are big, I have been teasing them about going bigger or carrots and maybe doing string beans, I can see some cucumbers, but not like the rest of the planet, a fixation on too hot peppers.

I have purchased a few apples in Benin, a treat.

Rice comes from Thailand.

No cultures that sit on the Equator are highly motivated. I have lived on the Equator or tropical zone for about 10 years and work is not a big desire. Beer yes, however work is low on the list of things to do, it appears that they work all the time, but more just sitting in the home-shop-work place and talking with friends. Nothing better to do anyway, and now they watch soap operas and MTV. French one here in West Africa.

Permanent siesta is more a good way of looking at it here. I think we could say, we have always done this way, my father done it this, good enough for him, good enough for me. In a place where you could grow, rice very easily the import.

I do not see any hunger; I see extremely crazy eating habits.

People only work hard enough to get food in their belly, have a home, safety, after that, most people stop work for any excuse. I do not see 95 percent of people as wanting to work.


West Africa Rain