Benin Travel Stories, Page 7

No Water Natitingou Benin

No Water Natitingou Benin
Natitingou Benin West Africa
Monday, September 25, 2006

It is 3:38 in the morning, aagh, I hoped it was later. The morning Islamic prayer was just noisily heard by me. I would make a good Muslim, I wake up early, do not drink, smoke, and can obey rules. I do not think loudspeaker systems though are a blessing; noise pollution is out of control. I will pray for noise to subside on the planet.

I have a common shower and toilet here in the Auberge Centrale in Natitingou Benin, I am curious to know why there is no water. I have been trying to study the water of West Africa, it is not easy, I can only observe and not ask questions. My French is not good, and the people that can answer my questions normally speak horrible French, not that they need to speak French, they speak Fon I believe. There is maybe a new local language emerging, however I am still sussing out Fon here.

Less than 50 steps from the entrance, or my room, are two water collection areas. I believe the normal homes here carry water from these water points to their homes.

Each one of these points has:
1. Water Meter
2. Handle
3. Box with a lock on it, maybe a way to turn off.

This is my first observance on the planet for a top loading water system, I mean; the people stand under the water and load their pan. It saves them having to heave it up into the air, and put on their head. I do not know what the other gentlemen will do, he has a lot of old juice or something plastic cans, it would be bad if he has to hold up in the air and then put down into his goods cart.

These stories never end, no stopping point, to figure out the whole system could take weeks. It would make sense that I could ask a person to translate, and learn quickly, however this is not true. There is always a save face, cover the tracks, not explain, or make up information problem. I do not trust a person to explain correctly something they really have never thought of or considered. The water comes from the hose…

I do hope they do not need to pay for the water that would be an outrage. I think in Niger, they had to pay for each container, nothing worse on the planet than being poor and having to pay for the water, you need to live. I think sometimes a city is a place of torture, outside the city life would be easier.

This is a water meter, which is next to the water point above. I enjoy seeing water meters, I do no like that people have to pay for water, and however it is part of an overall system. (The noisy prayers started again.)

1. A person needs water.
2. The government drives a deep well.

3. The water is pumped to the Chateau. This word is a mystery to me; I have asked many persons, the name for these tanks, I am not positive it is water, however, 95 percent sure. I have asked many persons, they call it a chateau. Either the word mean castle, there is another meaning or I am spelling the word wrong in French.

masculine castle; figuratively château de cartes house of cards; figuratively châteaux plural en Espagne castles in the air (2)

I will now need to have some smarter person write the word, this never ends. I have now taken maybe seven photos in seven separate villages of these large tanks or a reservoir for what I assume is water.

4. The commune or community here need money for the project, therefore they put a meter on the line to pay for the water tank, and the maintenance.

5. A business pays, a home with money pays, then maybe the people with no pipe running to their home pay by the canister or bottle.

6. Good water is available, it there is money or if they provide for free.

The system is there, there is a from the beginning to end the complete how to get water to the people system.
How to get money to the people to have money to buy water.

I have no water in my room, what happened during the night, did the tank go empty, and is there a reason to turn off the pump? The hotels can be amazingly lazy, they will not run the water only one time a day and let it run out, and then when they get good and ready they will turn the pump on and run to tanks on roof. I do not think there are tanks on the roof of the hotel. I think we only have city water. This would mean the city is too lazy to keep or maintain the water supply. It may mean also that they do not want people to steal water during the night, so the city shuts off the whole city so nobody can load during the off hours of no collection of money.

On and on the ball rolls, where it ends, nobody knows, I am always amazed at the world, it is a cluster or calamity, nothing leads to anywhere and the thread I am pulling on ends up with some person who is only being selfish, controlling or silly on the other end of the string.

No Water Natitingou Benin

Reading While Traveling

Reading While Traveling
Natitingou Benin West Africa
Sunday, September 24, 2006

There are 24 hours in a day, and it is difficult to fill all of them, without taking on silly aspirations or goals. I can always do the silly, and be a tourist for eight hours. This is very old and tiresome, I will admit I walk around looking at least 3 to 4 hours per day, but to be told, I must look at a museum or tourist site, that probably does not interest me, they I give up.

I therefore do what I like to do, I read a few hours, or watch movies if possible a few hours per day. I am very grateful presently for having about 20-30 PDF books in my computer. I ran out of books about three books ago, now I am reading them on my computer. It is comfort to lose the weight of seven books, this is a lot of extra weight, and if I were carrying the food and this, it would make my one backpack weigh easily over 30 kilos or 65 pounds.

I now am worried; I am using up my source of books. These were not easy to get, I must find new ones. I read that has released many classics, book scanned in that I can read, however, classics are often tiresome and less fun, I will try though. I read for fun, I never try to read a book for educational purposes. If it is educational fine, but I choose to read for entertainment. I do not see much value in education for the sake of education, for curiosity or to make money yes, but to just learn when it is not fun, no. I like to learn, but only when it is fun.

Reading While Traveling

What is the Equation of Sanity

What is the Equation of Sanity
Natitingou Benin West Africa
Sunday, September 24, 2006

I think I have a proper balance, a perspective of right and wrong, a feeling of yes versus no, I know when I am too far over the edge and I also know when I am too far away from the edge. There is an equation, of needs; it is not as simple as saying Maslows Hierarchy of needs or motivations. There is also a constant interplay, each person although unique controls the amounts or values of X, and the amount of X is controlled by the person. They will deny any control, however a truly functional human, knows they are responsible for all their actions, even the ones they wish to claim or deny. The balance is in many ways under the control of the subject.

I see many persons seeking something when they are out here in the field of travel.

1. Intimate moments with anyone.
2. Love
3. Food
4. Avoidance
5. Illusions or the desire to deny.
6. Home
7. Routine
8. A plan
9. Reason of justification of why.
10. Spirituality

Introspection would be nice…

What is the Equation of Sanity

Natitingou Benin Hotel or Auberge

Natitingou Benin Hotel
Natitingou Benin West Africa
Sunday, September 24, 2006

I am in Natitingou, Benin after a faster 1500 CFA Cattle Car ride from Djougou Benin to Natitingou. I tried many strategies, I went to the internet café or cyber café, the one the Taxi took me too was far outside the center. I then tried for the market, the driver cannot think, market and Hotel, then I finally got him to say,
- Centreville -

The center of the city or village, he took me to Auberge Central, not sure, he fully understood, but I am in the center, and I am in a hotel, or Auberge, I think just a tax difference.

I rented a backpacker style room, with share shower, toilet, and a mosquito net for 3500, this is almost the cheapest I have yet to rent in West Africa. I was happy, walked, came in the room, tried to turn on the fan that did not exist. I say to myself.
- Ooops, I screwed up. -

Fan or no fan is not a small difference, I say the word Fan in French, I spin my fingers, and they all shake their heads. I think I heard a rattle. No fan, in the end, the four French Girls woke, and I ask them about a Fan, they said they had two in their room and neither worked. Obviously, there is no fan. I am thinking this is not good, the room is concrete made to order greenhouse.

I go to look around, I see four other hotels. 10,000 CFA or 6,500 CFA more and I can have a good room in the Bologna, I hate spelling. In something like Bolorgone or something. It is in the guidebook and ok, but nobody there, I have four French girls talking in my hotel, so hmm, not to move or to move.

Call Audible Travelers Style.
I make a call from the line of scrimmage, I think, 6,500 CFA is a lot of money, it is close to 15 US Dollars. I can buy a fan for that. I go to the store, this store, that store, the Super Marche; finally, across from the entrance to my road, the road I live off, behind the Mosque, is a place open on Sunday that sells fans. I find this little one for 6,500, I say 4000, he says 6000 is lowest, I start to walk away, I know the price is at 4000 too high, so he says, take it. I make him test is, check it, all systems go, and I have this little fan. I walk into the Auberge, also called

Fan I purchased for 4000 CFA and probably 2000 too much, or I can pay 6500 more for a room, economics… hehehe

Hotel and show the girls. They laugh, and all the staff is hung over, so they do not look at me, or notice. I am happy, this uses electricity and having guest, and not paying for electricity is pure profit. I am cutting into the profit. It is a small fan, can I carry in my bag, and it is nice and quiet.

The Hotel smells like big beer, not little, it has rotten beer; they drank and spilled a lot last night. Today is Sunday, this is some party place I think, that is OK, I am Centreville, or in the middle of the village, I can walk.

I hope to be here for four nights, I will save 60 US dollars because I was willing to buy something to make my travelers nest acceptable. One small thing, and I knew I would need to move. No fan here is not ok, it is hotter here than in the south of Benin. The dry air, or change in climate is making it hotter. I am laughing, we had a nice rain and it cooled off the hotel. The hotel has lots of shade, a huge bar, food area, and a girl that is problem Muslim, with a hangover.

Peace Corps is here, and the for French girls are nurses, studying here, I have not seen another Tourist. I am still at count of eight.

Natitingou Benin Hotel

Inductive Travel Food Logic

Inductive Travel Food Logic
Djougou Benin West Africa
Sunday, September 24, 2006

Water is the scapegoat for most diarrheas or dysentery or anything a person believe they got from something. They blame the water; I personally think the problem is food and the restaurants. I have traveled for years, 10 years, I drink the water, and however I am afraid of the foods. I am lucky, I will not eat food unless I like how it is prepared, this mean, I need to watch them. Not an easy thing to do, I therefore eat street food most of the time. Fancy restaurants scare me too death, especially in places like Mexico or India, where they are not every clean.

Inductive logic is this, if the sun rises today, then again the next, then again the next, we could induce it will rise the next. The problem with this logic is there is still the possibility it will not.

I have lived for 10 years with almost zero water or food problems. I believe it is because I eat many packaged products and avoid stews, salads, groups of foods, soups, or any type of foods where they mix together foods. I especially would not eat some type of cold foods. Soups are safer, they are cooked and if hot, not so bad. Any cold food mixed in a bowl, and gave to me are refused.

Inductively this has worked for years; this Dutch girl had Typhoid after being in Africa for only six weeks.

- Typhoid Fever, acute infectious disease caused by the typhoid bacillus Salmonella typhi. The bacillus is transmitted by milk, water, or solid food contaminated by feces of typhoid victims or of carriers, that is, healthy persons who harbor typhoid bacilli without presenting symptoms. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally some 16 million cases of typhoid fever occur annually, causing 600,000 deaths. - (2)

I think she ate something, or trust people in restaurants, I have traveled for 10 years, and with the inductive logic, I am doing something right and she is doing something wrong. I should be getting many parasites, diseases, waterborne this and that, however, I do not. I drink the water from the tap on a regular basis; I always brush my teeth with tap water.

I however, only eat single serving meals. One piece of chicken, one piece of bread, one piece of anything, I do not eat some mixed up batch of foods, combined in a bowl, served on the table by some third word cook, which is clueless how to be clean or cook clean. If it is hot, it probably safe, it is in a wrapper, some cookies, crackers, it is probably safe. If in a can, like tuna, peas, corn, it is probably safe. If it is bottle water, it is most likely safe, note thought that taking bottles and filling with water can make a ton of money for a person. The bottle just has to look new; it does not have to be new.

Restaurants are the culprit, I almost never eat in a restaurant, I am a scavenger, I work the whole day finding foods anywhere and everywhere that complete my balance diet. It takes a lot of work, I do not sit down and drink a beer, spend a lot of money in an expensive restaurant ran by dirty people, who do not know about being clean, I can see their fingernails, I know I am 90 percent right.
A FIRST: The florescent light is making a huge racket, amazingly noisy. I am in the normal hotel room with a center light, I wish it was a normal, however florescent has taken over the planet. It makes me feel weak and not happy. I need to pack and leave, enough obsessing on how to find solutions to problems that are not mine… hehehe

Luck has a lot to do with not getting sick, then eating, garbage disposal eaters get sick.

Inductive Travel Food Logic

Drinking Water Africa

Drinking Water Africa
Djougou Benin West Africa
Sunday, September 24, 2006

I sometime finally understand the story behind the story as CNN likes to say. Water, there is no choice, I need to drink water, I on the other hand will drink about any water, I do not see water as extremely dangerous, walking on the street yes, being hit by car, drinking water no.

Fear is an interesting and pushy salesperson. It creates the fear, paranoia and obsession, fear, or maybe lack of faith. I have faith I am ok, I know I am ok, life is good, and if I die, then I die. I am not obsessed with living; I am obsessed with living my life as I want, where I want and in the world, not away from the world.

Water, AIDS, Black People, Toilets, Military Leaders, Corruption, No Roads, these are some fears of Africa, I know of, I am sure there is many more. I would be most worried about the cost, however anyone that can afford to go to Europe, can for one-half the price go to Africa it seems. Backpacking Europe is expensive and then the drinking, the amount of money spent on drinking and a person can live here.

Fear or water, I keep remembering this Dutch Girl in Apam, Ghana, we went to dinner, she asked,
- Do you want to clean you hand? -

She had or was carrying a small bottle of some handy dandy clean your hands anywhere stuff. I said,
- No. -

Later, my fear was, she thinks of me as a dirty person, I eat and do not clean my hands. I did not stutter on the question, I just considered it a little over the edge to clean my hands with some liquid from a bottle.

These small bottles, small references, small specific clues are the story behind the story often, how another person lives is the mystery, and to discover the fears a person I hiding is difficult. She was enchanted with the idea of living primitive, however obsessed with clean. That is like trying to kiss a girl that hates you, primitive become increasing difficult to be clean.

I was observing in Bassila the other day, the local people were sweeping the dirty while it was raining. They was cleaning a very moist, wet part of dirty of debris. I rather thought it hopeless; however, they were plowing away, pushing the world to cleaner.

The time required waking, preparing some water, finding the wood, light the fire, cook the morning meal, to prepare to live in primitive cultures could take until noon. Then here it is siesta time, there is no time to work. The time that is not used in the preparation of daily life is spent in the sales of products. The actual production of products seems to be about 10-20 percent of the time spent trying to live. Under production of moneymaking. The story though more correctly would be they are all selling the same thing and it has no value in the first place. Pimas or Peppers are sold everywhere, anybody has them, everybody has them, yet they are selling them, it like an Eskimo selling the proverbial snow, why would a person sell Pimas when everyone sells Pima. It is because that is all they have to sell, that is all the produce extra of; they produce very small amounts of anything of value. The time spent collecting firewood is amazing, all the time to cook food, yet the amount of food created is minimal.

Photographs, it is easy to take a photograph of someone carrying wood, to seem them working in the fields is difficult. Sitting around is the easiest of all things to photograph. I find people sitting in cluster anywhere, however working in clusters is not common. Working inside a gossip market, full of other people to talk is common, but the lone ranger out plowing away in the field is somewhat rare.

Henny Penny was a story about growing, working, doing everything so in the end a person could eat. There is short amount of time needed to plant the crops, it cannot take forever, and there are windows. The planting season, then the harvest season, in this period maybe everyone is carrying the products, and working.

Note: The Islamic morning prayers have been wailing away for about an hour, it is like a competition between young children for their mother’s attention. I loved to listen to the morning prayers in Pak Bara, Thailand was a wonderful music. Here it is a completion, not a fun noise, I have not see persons rushing in mass to prayer, they may be working overtime to keep them coming to church, mosque, or whatnot, they may just continue to sleep.

I had a business; it is very easy to think you are working all morning and to discover you spent four hours doing some spin dance, a whirling dervish of sorts, a spinning away, however nothing done. If feels like you worked, and I did work, but I did not make money.

I make money with a WebPages by making titles to the WebPages; therefore, I made the money by the title,
- Drinking Water Africa - After this, I must mention it a few times, and then talk about related subjects to drinking water. I am on many subject here, it is not good. However, I should be typing about drinking water, I suppose I am preoccupied with the time spent by people in non-income producing work; they spend less than 10 percent of their time making the money.

Every new title, makes a term, a search is created, I enter the competition to be a page someone reads, if the read my page, I have a change of them clicking on something and I earn money. The money is made in starting, when I make a title, the work is done. I will complete the paragraph. Short paragraphs or short blogs make more money because it takes less time.

I am sure the story behind the story is many people are afraid of Africa, they are afraid of dying, of catching some water related, food related, something and dying, nobody loving them, they die. The solution then it to somehow teach a person how to feel safe, it water is their fear. They must be convinced they can always drink safe water in Africa. I think it is totally possible to drink safe water in West Africa, in fact I would say a person has a 100 percent possibility of doing so, however, it is not as simple as just buying bottled water.

Weight, water weighs more than anyone is strong enough to carry; I do not see many backpackers wanting to carry around five liter bottles of water. I can easily carry five bottles of water, I would not walk, I would always have a taxi or motorbike, and I would hand the super heavy bag to the boy, hope he did not fall over and proceed. I do not walk with my backpack, I do many things to avoid walking with 40 kilos or about 85 pound of weight, and I think I am getting close to 100 pounds, and then cans of peas and corn, spaghetti, rice, tomato sauce are heavy. Food is heavy, water is even heavier.

I guess a person could travel with about three to five liter bottles of water, the person would have enough until the re-stocked. If they only traveled in the mornings, found a hotel by noon, they would be back to sources of water and could if needed purify water for them to drink. It is the travel jump that is the problem, moving causes a person to not have good water, I can always have good water in a motel in the city, I go buy, I take to my room, it sits. If I walk, I could carry two liters of water and be prepared. That is a lot of weight, I do not carry two liters of water, and however I could. I would like to say that one of them camel back water bags would be a good solution, however I think a person could never clean the thing. Clean is the solution, not refilling a bladder with water, how to clean the containers, this is the million dollars problem. I also do not know what would make a person feel safe. I do not feel safe buying water in bottles; I have drunk too many bottle of water that tasted like the toilet. I do not trust the factories that bottle water. I trust them to bring it up to half the distance, good enough to make me ready to make best if I wanted. I would only trust water I have boiled, or close to boiling. But then I need to put into a bottle that has been immersed in boiling water, this is the problem, I do not think people will work that hard to have clean water.

I just went and read the encyclopedia Encarta, not much information; however, I remembered I had downloaded a few military survival type manuals. I found one on water, extremely over the top for most person, however a wealth of information. I also had another from person who collected a lot of information. There are three parts to cleaning water, first is filtering out particles, then in making safe, then storage. Storage is the problem for me; I do not see a problem with getting water up to about 98 percent safe. I actually think straining water though a couple of socks, then bringing to a rolling boil will make it safe enough. The problem is the containers; pots of food, cooking, and foods are hotbeds of problems. How to sterilize the water containers and store the one-gallon or more drinking water needed per day, this is the problem. I think I know a drudgery working way; however, it would be time consuming.

I think it better to allow the imagined safety of buying bottled water to persist… Hehehe, there is many illusions that allow people to travel; one is that bottled water is safe.

I will obsess on something about water, I know the problem is not cleaning, the problem is weight, how to make small and portable and something a person will carry.

Drinking Water Africa

Djougou Benin Internet

Djougou Benin Internet
Djougou Benin West Africa
Saturday, September 23, 2006

7:05 the electricity goes off, the internet starts or the Cyber Cafes opens at 19:00 hours, or 7:00, I am lucky I did not go. I do not like to make too huge of work of going to the internet. I am on low at about 7:00 at night, not the time for me to do internet work. There are two cafes here and I think this is a fiasco city for internet. Anywhere in the world 7:00 at night the internet is slow, I have to believe it a stop here, I could be wrong. Nonetheless, I am not going to stick around and see, I will head north for what I hope is quick 50 miles, I am never sure.

Natitingou Benin is my next attempt to use the internet, the Internet in Bohicon was very good, and however the twin cities were not good for me, just not my style. Well, either is Djougou, but it is a pleasant city, so the market is central and the city built around some large highways that bounce off the market. I smell many NGO and there is CRS or Catholic Relief Service, in the Motel Djougou, they have the traditional SUV Toyota, white, with CRS on the side, maxed out with all the gadgets. Amazingly expensive for one of the poorest countries on the planet, I wonder if they think they listen better if you come in Rich, they are dressed nice and have the 14,000 CFA room, I have the 5000 CFA room. This place is honest though, it is named a Motel, it is lucky for me, I went to, or tried to go to many hotels, This is the default, the only one I could find where a Motorcycle taxi was possible to get close to the door. The internet is not like most of the backpacker planet, I must take a Motorcycle taxi to the internet. Thus, I like to arrange the hotel so I have transportation. The guidebook really drops the ball, it is obvious that most of the West Africa writers were in cars, or they would not be recommending many places along the way.

The Djougou Motel is good, 5000 is cheap, there is nothing around, and the place though is a big compound, complete with peanuts growing in the front. I can get a Zim or Moto easy, and only 100 Fran to the Marche or Market. I am getting good with the Motos, I have them figured out now.

I will go north in the morning, I am FAH TEE GEY and need a some rest after being a sardine all day from 7 to 12 in the Cattle Car. It is painful to sit crunched for 5 hours. I am glad the African people shower well; I would be in a problem place, south of Heaven, if I was in India right now, dong the same type of transportation.

Djougou Benin Internet

Benin Breakfast Food

Benin Food
Bassila Benin West Africa
Saturday, September 23, 2006

I took this photo in Bassila Benin, I am not sure if it will continue to be served or not. This is some kind of breakfast type food, I believe, however I am still checking it out.

She put some white stuff on the top, mixed it in to the pink mix.

The unknown food, but it is repeating in normal circumstances, no tourist in these areas to change or adapt to, so this is a present day normal food for Benin.

Photo of inside the big container.

This is a street side food stand in Benin.

Benin Food