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Benin Travel Stories, Page 13

Benin Smog Pollution

Benin Smog Pollution
Pobo Benin
Saturday, September 16, 2006

I think I finally have learned why the motorcycles of Benin spew so much smoke from their exhaust. It is amazing the amount, I was sick the last day in Contonou, the smell was too much, and the fumes were bad. It is a low leave monoxide problem for sure.



I am not sure, there are many names for gas or petrol on the planet, they call this GasOil, I am not sure, however I believe this is a low octane, oil heavy gas they sell. I saw a normal gas station; however, these seem to be the standard.

The siphon the gas from big, to smaller, to smaller to liter bottle to a motorcycle.


Benin Smog Pollution


Pobe Benin Economics

Pobe Benin Economics
Pobo Benin
Saturday, September 16, 2006

I do not understand how people of the world make money. I am serious, the majority of the world the so called underdeveloped, the 80 percent normal planet does very little in a day. I do very little, I have time to watch, and none of us are doing much. Although I am working in my projects in a more abstract manner, and I earn money from advertisements on my page.

However, there is the moto driver, he makes about 100-200 Fan per trip, he has maybe at best 2 trips per hour, the majority of time he sits and talks with his buddies. Say, he has 20 trips per day, he makes about 20 dollars US, and I think much less than this, maybe five dollars. The girls selling toothpick sticks, she is probably contributing to the family and if she makes 2 dollar per day good.

All in all, where does the money come from, it is more the barter of things, however replaced with money. I think all money comes from the land, the resources, the oil, the food grown, and then all the others monies being made are just money being distributed.

The world has poor people it seems because what they want to sell has no value, plus the person buying, also sells or does nothing of value all day, then up and down the chain.

The world is the same, many people sitting, watching each other, nobody doing much work in reality. They have spurts, a crop comes in they work for a month, but after that they spend the year waiting again for the crop.

I do not know, there is just too many people on the planet making, growing, or selling something nobody wants. The world wants to buy, however many strange and not needed items, or minimal earning to sell. I person is not meant to survive selling toothpicks, or cell phone cards.

I can see that all people want to have anything and everything they want, however very few know how to work for what they want, they need to be told.


Pobe Benin Economics


Pobe Benin or Porto Novo

Pobe Benin
Porto Novo, Benin West Africa
Saturday, September 16, 2006

I am in Porto Novo, Benin; I will leave for Pobo, Benin.

TRAVEL PREPARATION
The moment I enter a city, I begin to learn how to leave a city. I sometimes in some countries read the guidebook and it easily tells me how to catch a bus. I have found the explanations of bus or Gares in the Lonely Planet West Africa to be of little value. The Hotel information is needed, and helpful, however how to find transportation is only for the French people. There is an assumption you are fluent in French, this means you would know whether the person can even speak French. I find people and finally realize, this person does not speak French, yes a few phrased, but overall terrible. Mina is the language of the area I believe.

Pobe is about 35 miles north of Porto Novo, Benin. I do not want to go to Pobe, I want to go to a Hotel on the way to Pobo, or maybe in Pobo, I want a place to sleep north of here, I am not choosing, any friendly place will do.

I will go to a Zim Moto - The motorcycle taxi, I will say, Porto Novo.

Yesterday, I sat around with the 5-10 young girls between ages of 14-25 that sit all day next to the Capitale Hotel entrance. I started my attempt to leave the city. I tried to ask, how far or how much time is Pobe, these questions seem to have zero value, and they seem to always tell me the price. However, even though this city is less than 35 miles from their home, I do not think any of them has ever been to Pobo or even left the city of Porto Novo.

Why, example, I am a collector of coins, the world has no change, any option I have here to pass on a bigger bill, then I do so, if I think they can give me change for a 10,000, I do it, if 5,000 I take the option, if they can do the 1000, I do it. The goal is to constantly make smaller money in my pocket. Sometimes I do very well and coins accumulate, I need 100 Franc coins always for the Moto Taxis, they often do not have change for a 500.

100 Francs is the going price for the normal world here, this is about 20 Cents U.S. for this amount of money I can buy many things, catch a motorcycle taxi or buy 4 bags of water.

I had about three 500 Coins, three or four of the 200, and a scattering of 100 and smaller coins in my pocket. I would guess in all there were about 15 coins. I was not counting; I went to pay for a bag of water, and the sexy, bigger on top than Asia girl, says,
- Beaucoup d'argent -

Meaning in English,
- That is a lot of money. -

I have been working this girl all day, trying to figure out how she ticks, I know any girl or man in Africa has in their brain. I want money; I will ask for money from he white man, they are in constant maneuver mode, trying to figure out an option.

To try to explain the world the girls, I knew I was safe, I said,
- No, c’est beaucoup. -

I bring out a wad of crumpled paper bills; I had in my pocket about 30 Mille or about 60 US dollars.

One fourth of that will pay my Hotel room.
It will cost 1000 to 2000 to take a group taxi to Pobo maybe.

Why do I know they never left Porto Novo, if some coins is a lot of money, then to accumulate enough to take a group taxi is only for the rich fat women?

The world is not curious; they only learn what is needed, and only half of that. I have yet to be in a place where there was not a job, a way to live, and a way to thrive for the person who wants to work.
The girls with the big chest is clueless how much the hotel across the street from her job, the place she looks at for 15 hours per day, the hotel that dominate her view. She does not know how much it cost for me to live there, she never though to ask or figure it out.

They will ask me how much for my camera, how much for the room, but to ask another black person who has money. I am not sure; I think it is risking the rich person belittling them. To be curious is never rewarded in some cultures, it is ridiculed, making a person feel dumb is sometime the game here of the locals.

I laugh, my self-esteem is intact, when they try, I speak English or just play the game back, and I am massively more intelligent than anyone playing this game is. Many wish to speak English, assuming their English is better than my French is, I just reply normally in English and they stop, and let me speak French. They never know how dumb they are in reality. Power is what they have, not brains, dumb people can be very powerful in a world where stupid reasons rule.

Intuition is a big problem, communication is always possible between any persons on the planet, even if they do not speak any common language, and it requires the person to be intuitive and honestly wants to communicate. I see massive desire for power in the richer persons here, the poor will be helpful, give anyone an advantage and they will take it 25 percent of the time or try to communicate. I guess this is the frustration a mind can be lazy, and amazing many, lack of vitamins can make for slow minds…


Pobe Benin


West African Buses

West African Buses
Porto Novo, Benin West Africa
Saturday, September 16, 2006

I really like the transportation system in the West Africa countries I have visited. I have taken what I call a group taxi 90 percent of the way from Cote d’Ivoire to Benin, a few bigger buses like things. Most of the time some station wagon full of a few fat women and some men.



The African people are clean, they do shower daily I believe, the body odor is minimal for the world. To sit in a bus, taxi, anything that is having a contest to see how many people they stuff inside can be difficult. To constantly be wedged into a seat meant for three people and maybe they have five, and even six with a child is intimate. Take that two of the people will be women so fat they roll down the street; it makes for a fun ride. I am always fascinated that we even can move, it is a marvel that these vehicles do work, but in reality normal for the planet for many countries.

It is all about making as much money as possible with no worries about service or care for the person in the car.

AVERAGE TRAVELER
I have to empathize and remember, I am not a normal traveler. I am the one in 1000 traveler that will even think about coming to Africa, and to actually come is maybe one in 10,000 of the tourist on the planet. There are many backpackers on the planet, and tourist. Yes, this is correct, maybe one in 10,000 comes to Africa, then the ones that do go to South Africa; I suspect it is nothing like the normal Africa. South Africa is easy trip; I will save until I feel like doing easier.

In India many travelers purchase a Motorcycle, in Africa many people do an overland 4-wheel drive trip. I see this as a way to avoid the people, in India I can almost believe it is worth the effort as the people do stink, smell, and do not take showers.

I traveled many cities in India in the same manner as I am traveling in West Africa, I got up, told people the city direction I was going and they pushed me in that direction.

I think I figured out one frustration, in India, if you write something, say something, they all are looking for a way to get money; they get you on the bus. Yes, it is like being in a blender made of people, with constant noise, constant shuffling, constant moving, however it functions easy.


West African Buses


West Africa Good and Bad

West Africa Good and Bad
Porto Novo, Benin West Africa
Saturday, September 16, 2006

I like Africa overall, there is many more enjoyable moments in a day than negative. The intensity of the bad moment often outweighs the 90 percent good days, especially in what I blog. Life is easier if I just type in what I am thinking, type the internet moments, the confusing times, the information that made me feel.

I am debating whether to stay or leave Porto Novo. I am 75 percent for leaving now, mainly because of the lack of manageability of the city. I am spending too much time searching for internet access, not really; however it has been years since I had trouble asking and finding internet. The combination of lack of world knowledge, not being able to read or write makes it more difficult. I can only find information by talking. Generally the Motos are helpful if I can say the word, or I can speak French, however my French is very weak, in reality their French is very weak also, and it just is a mess.

If I walk, go slow; do not move fast, life is easier; however, it can be also be boring.

DISRESPECTFUL
There is on an average three times per day when people are very disrespectful. I try to evaluate, self inspect, introspect, analyze, think…

I try to empathize with why they are disrespectful. It is not easy to figure out a person motivation.

They are pushy, will just bluntly ask in an intimidating way for money.

It is probably frightening to the average traveler, tourist who is not sure of themselves, and gives them always the benefit of the doubt. I have been traveling too long, I know intimidation when I feel it, and I know situations that are problems. I do not just buy drinks for jerks to make them happy, I do not give money to beggars to make them happy, and I do not pay my way to happiness.

There are so many good things in a day, it is hard for me to sadly know the one jerk can ruin the whole day.


West Africa Good and Bad


Porto Novo Shower

Porto Novo Shower
Porto Novo, Benin West Africa
Friday, September 15, 2006

I am very happy tonight; I finally know I can take a good hot dip shower because I purchased a new bucket. In the Hotel Capitale here in Porto Novo, there is a large bucket already. It even appears clean, amazing to me how many hotels just allow items, like buckets, toilet seat, walls steadily filthy over time, how can cleaning staff ignore so much for so long, it is not Africa, it is the whole planet in a way. A hotel seems to be great when first constructed, and then steadily goes down after that.

This room in the Hotel Capitale in Porto Novo, Benin is spotless, for 8500 CFA, it is not a good price on a world comparative market. Nevertheless, for West Africa it is good. Parking seems to be the need for hotel; I think most Hotels in Africa have parking. They assume people are driving to the hotel.

I think my new bucket will hold about 10 gallons of water, if I also used my 4 gallon other one, I can have 14 gallons of hot water, more than adequate to clean my hair, my body, in complete comfort of hot water. A dip shower is the only way to go for a mobile, or any camping type shower situation. Dip showers require about five times less water to bath, and then a shower, the efficient use of water is great.

Black Plastic Portable Shower
I was thinking about the portable shower bag that hold five gallons, this could be OK, if they made it easy to turn off the water, turn on quick, later up, then rinse with a pull. They are amazing worthless for showering in my opinion. A dip shower is many times better.

I think of the American public, they are shopping crazy, they entertain themselves by buying. As I type, I think many persons would consider my dwelling or obsessing on small thing inane or needless. I know they think always in terms of me being on vacation. I think of me living here in Benin, then next I will live in Niger, I was living in Togo, etc.
I purchase very little, the actual dollars amounts spent by me on items is less probably than 10-15 dollars per month. I may have increased this to 30-40 because I am buying speculative items quicker to I can test for a Travel Tip. I will buy something I believe is of no value, use, check, just to see if my new idea, or some travel gear is of any value.

I do not buy travel gear in the USA or Europe, it is too depressing to want to uses and item, then know it can break or you lose it. Then I think about buying a new one again in five months when I return to some rich country. Then I have trouble finding, I must really be in the USA to find thing quick.

I have the round rubber plug for a sink; I use it constantly here in Africa, as I have to always wash my clothes by hand. I am also realizing, I must cover the shower drain or the sewer smells will fill my room. Many hotels rooms smell on the planet because the drains do not have traps on them. They do not seem to want to install them on the shower drains here; however, the bathroom sing generally has a trap.


Porto Novo Shower


Porto Novo Hotel

Porto Novo Hotel
Porto Novo Benin West Africa
Friday, September 15, 2006

I like to use the guide, I stopped at the Hotel Détente first, zero people, and isolated. Went a long distance for a Motorcycle Taxi or Moto and ended up in the Hotel Capitale. A lot of friendly faces waving me into the place. YehBoo.

8500 CFA for a room with a Fan, TV in French, and all the cold-water showers I want to take. The room is excellent, new, and bright; however, some reason has no screens on the windows. I think there is this if we have an Air Conditioner we do not need a screen. Louvered windows are the standard of Africa, and they do not stop mosquitoes.



If I every could get used to the price, I would be very happy with the quality of rooms in West Africa, I just cannot complain, they are good rooms, not big on hot water, but so be it.

I timed myself, it took me 30 minutes to pack in the Crillon Hotel in Cotonou, Benin, I really hate to pack and unpack, and unpacking is easier, because I can just get more things out as I want or need. I keep trying to find a way to be faster, but I am a clutter perfect, the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle, photographic memory mechanic. I spread out and remember exactly where I drop something.

The goal is to pack in 5 minutes, I think it is possible, yet I need to somehow keep the clothes in the backpack organizer and not on the floor.



I purchased a new larger second bucket; it will hopefully allow me to keep more organized. I think the problem is the soft nature of a bag, it makes looking in and out of the bag a problem. I cannot just leave things in the bag or I get a claustrophobic feeling of packing. I like to see what I am looking at, however there are many things, hardly ever used.

The Hotel Capitale here in Porto Novo is ok, think the place is short on Internet, but I hope to find some and move on down the road.


Porto Novo Hotel


Porto Novo Benin West Africa

Porto Novo Benin West Africa
Friday, September 15, 2006

I have moved from Cotonou, Benin to Porto Novo, Benin, about one-two hours down the road, I guess it took three hours from Hotel to Hotel. The travel distance is about 20 miles maybe 26 Kilometers in any modern country the time needed would be max 1.5 hours. One Half hours to get out of city, one half hour for the 20 Miles and one half to enter the next city of Port Novo, Benin.



Travel Distance, and I got to Pobe or to a small city along the path.

Everything went perfect, except the van got stopped, by the impressive and to me organized police of Benin. They gave the boy a fine for having more than 20 people in his van. Amazingly different, I always see as many as possible, is normal, not any limits. It took a long time to have the police let the driver alone.

There is bumper-to-bumper traffic between these two cities. Port Novo is great so far, except it is raining, had to stop on the moto taxi and take a under the tree break from the rain. All is good, I am in a Hotel and life is good.

I will go or say I am going to Pobe, if there van goes through a village with a good feel, I will get out and stay a couple of days.


Porto Novo Benin West Africa