Ghana Travel Stories, Page 16

African Paparazzi Photo Danger

African Paparazzi Photo Danger
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Sunday, August 19, 2007

I normally take photos when the socially acceptable opportunity arises. I would guess I actually ask about two percent of the time, I take direct photos of people, and that is not a question, it is more or less I show them the camera and see they wag their finger at me.

Normally there are two ways of getting permission, people like to have their pictures taken and request I take a photo, the second it to buy first and take photo after. Buy something and then take the photo, this works as long as the price of the item is not high.

A man in Lome, Togo tracked me down after I took photos of some antique furniture being refinished outside the Auberge Galion Hotel and told me he would break my camera. I had asked permission of one of the workers I saw every day.

Taking photos in West Africa is more dangerous than in the rest of the world. I was literally grabbed and pulled to the side of the road in Aneho, Togo because I took a picture of a truck that had fell over on it side.

Generally taking photos is safe in the world, the long-term story told about stealing their soul and all this is old story. The world knows what a camera is now, and they want money. I do not give money for photos, except on rare occasions.

Taking photos of people drinking alcohol or police is dangerous.

I have been trying to take photos of some food in Ghana, and was walking around in the neighborhood. I had a person request some specific photos and this seemed easy enough, so as I was walking back from the internet café I was attempting to take photos.

I never realized how often I do not take photos because of the danger of taking the photo. The professional types of people will in Ghana speak good English, the normal person in the street and I thin I have about a 1 in 10 chance of them understanding a sentence. If I say Apple or Water, they understand, however to say a complex, what if sentence would lose them.

Asking about photos leads to confusion, maybe they answered in the Mina, Tree or Fante language and I do no understand, maybe they say in the local language for all to hear,
- Take a photo white man; you need to give me money. -

I do not understand, however, in the eyes of the others they are on the moral high ground. He or she told me, so fair to demand money.

I have a lot of experience with this; however, the best solution to all these problems is to only take photos of one-person situations. If a person has the ability to talk with more than one person, say it is market and they can talk among five to ten people it is safer to not take the photo.

The safe decision is to only take photos when there is only me and the person I am taking photos of around the area. Group photos of people are dangerous and a great reason for a long zoom lens on a camera. I have a 12 X Sony and it is great, however it would be nice to have about double the range for the close up cultural photo.

Safe is one person photos in West Africa, a group of 5-10 people is semi-dangerous and when the group is about 40 or more it become safe again and the whole group will normally protect you from the one.

Anyway, you do it; taking photos in West Africa can be dangerous if you are one person. The safest way to take photos is when there the group of people taking photos is bigger than the groups of people being filmed.

I wanted to speed up a photo the other day, a foreigner girl took a photo and it took about three minutes to take the photo, this is too long. I think I can stop and take a photo in less than five seconds. The longer I take, the person who I am taking a photo of has time to think, give me money, or someone tells them to get money.

Taking photos for me is about waiting for the socially acceptable time, and I think asking permission of a person who does not understand my language is a great way to have problems. I ask by showing them the camera, then look in their eyes. Words and talking, the spoken language is a great way to be misunderstood, talking with my eyes and actions is understood quick and fast…

Taking pictures of plants and animals is safe, photos of children is generally easy, taking photos of bums and prostitutes starts to be a problem. Drunks and groups of men are highly dangerous in West Africa. Taking pictures of police, you need to be either very smart or very lucky and stupid.

African Paparazzi Photo Danger


Privilege

Privilege
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Sunday, August 19, 2007

I study culture, I observe people, and I muddle in the homes and minds of peoples lives. Why, because I have the privilege, not the right to do so, and I use this opportunity.

They call the USA, the land of opportunity. People from the USA are often the least aware of the opportunities they have because they live in a word of assumption, they assume they have opportunities.

I despise the words King, Queen, Chief, and First Class, because they my parent were jealous of the Boss. In my family confusion, I learned jealous anger at the King, and anyone going First Class, because I was not able to go First Class.

There is a social contract made, and agreed up, those without the privilege will respect those with special privileges. The person in First Class must be respected by the Second Class; however, the First Class has the privilege to not respect the lower class.

The contract is agreed, sustained and held dear by the hopes and dreams of the Lower Class, as they hope to one day become First Class so they have the privilege to look down upon the Lower Class.

To make you a slave, I give you something for nothing, sometimes I can barter with privileges, giving some special privileges in exchange for your agreement and enforcement of this social contract.

The perpetuation of special privileges is enforced by respect for the Queen and King who did not earn the respect.

I have the opportunity and privilege to day to reserve my respect for only those people who earn it.

There are many small conflicts in the world, nothing major, just a lot of annoying arguments.

In a free country, in a free world, no person has God given right to be leader.

I get very suspicious when a person wants to give me a gift, or some special privilege. What do you want in return? I do not give, although I hope to make opportunities. Giving seems to enslave, the makers of opportunities frees people.

Privilege


Finding English Books in Accra Ghana

Finding English Books in Accra Ghana
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Saturday, August 18, 2007

Four nights spent in Accra, and I have not found one English book to read, today I get militant, I pay taxis.
I found a couple of Christian bookstore; however, I have not found one normal bookstore. I found some how to get rich, how to better yourself, do it yourself fix yourself used books kiosk stand next to a Catholic Bookstore.

The consensus is Accra Central is where to buy books, it is humorous as somehow they tell me to go to Accra, and then finally they say Accra Central, as I a say, I am in Accra. I am not sure what Accra Central means, I think I need to go straight towards the water. I have looked in all the hotels and not found any book exchanges, even the ones with NGO written on them in the guidebooks.

Isolation is a real problem. I found Red Storm Rising, by Tom Clancy on a PDF in my computer, started to read, the electricity was off so much, I almost gave up on reading books on the computer. I need to read the books on computer when good electricity, not when I run out of books.

Finding English Books in Accra Ghana


Accra Ghana for Airports and Visas

Accra Ghana for Airports and Visas
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Saturday, August 18, 2007

Accra appears to be an almost ideal location to base the acquisition of Visas for West Africa. The airport is one of the cheapest entry and exit gates in West Africa and on average can be about 300-400 USA dollars cheaper than either Ivory Coast or Togo.

I have been having a few looks at this page to discover how to get Visas for all the countries to the West and North of Ghana; it looks like I can get almost all of them in Accra, Ghana.
http://www.embassypages.com/

I am probably going to apply for the Burkina Faso Visa on Monday and hold off on the Liberia and Sierra Leone. I am thinking it is better to take an upper road loop to Burkina Faso, Mali and on to Senegal, and then come along the coast back to Accra. I think some overland truck campers come this route and I can learn from someone who spent a year researching the trip before leaving.

Getting a Visa can be easy or difficult, Liberia wants three days, and Sierra Leone wants about 7 days, this is 10 days of living in Accra, Ghana. A person has to decide, do I want to invest 10 days into Accra, so far my answer is no, if this were Cape Coast, Ghana I would say yes.

I tried to ask the Sierra Leone Embassy how soon I needed to enter; I could not get by the reception person to find out the answer.

For example, I got the Ghana Visa in two days in Lome, Togo, I then had three months of leeway time before I needed to enter Ghana or the Visa would expire. This leeway time makes getting Visa too soon a problem, I got cheated by Niger and had to pay 40 US for a Visa because they refused to honor a valid Visa Entente because they wanted to ignore how the leeway and use of the Visa worked. The Visa attained in Cote d’Ivoire was good, but the time to cross Ghana before made confusion that helped Niger cheat me. Even the smallest confusion in interpretation and the crossing of a border can erupt into a pay questionable and more or less bribes to get it to work fees.

I need to get a Visa to a country less than one month before I enter if possible and not more than two months if possible to optimize my chance of not having problems.

The Hotel situation in Accra is close to bleak at the under 10-dollar price range, I am paying 80-100,000 for a great private room, with a shared toilet in the double road belt area.

I took a Taxi to the Crystal Hostel, it cost 15 US for a room, and 10 for a dorm bed, then the cost of a taxi back and forth to the embassies would be double the cost and double the time as it is out through a ton of traffic area.

The central beltway or the YWCA area would be the ideal location to get Visas. Anyway, I do it, two people make more sense for rooms in Accra, and I am tempted to think the George something hotel would be the best all around for a couple.

The best reason to be in Accra so far as of today is for the internet, it is Skype.com fast, I can connect my computer and make telephone calls cheap to about anywhere at some cafes. I was all excited because the Crystal Hostel has WIFI, and when I got there is was not on, and not being used, one computer and he said I had to pay if I did more than casually checked my email. The area is more typical Ghana though and would be more cultural than the central beltway, however to me strictly taxi.

I was hoping to find some Hong Kong style, Expat hangouts in Accra, however I have only seen NGO people and it looks like World Vision was building a new building. I am not sure, it seemed like the Crystal was out in NGO central, so maybe the reason for being popular.

I looked at my map; the Airport, Embassies, and Internet are my three reasons to be in Accra, Ghana. I am trying to suss out the city, however somewhere between the airport and the Embassy area would be ideal place to find a Hotel. I would expect to find an Internet café, as they do seem to be most places.

The big bus situation is semi-nuts, it appears I need to take a taxi to find out the cost and times, etc, and if I did that, by the time paid for that and did all the taxi mess, it would be just better to take off and hope to snag either a Tro Tro 15 passenger van and get to Cape Coast quicker in total travel time.

All in all Accra is a modern city; out towards the Airport I saw a mall and some large grocery stores, some huge housing additions. This all looks very modern; all the neighborhoods around the Embassies seem nice, shaded and pleasant.

I would say the Hotel I am in presently, however the Ghana people on the internet threaten me.
Senegal may have all the same Embassies, and I think more Western Countries do not need a Visa to enter. I think there are some surfers over in that area also to lend to beach life if it exist in Africa.

Accra Ghana for Airports and Visas


Ghana Farm Tractor

Ghana Farm Tractor
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Friday, August 17, 2007

I saw about one Farm Tractor per month in Togo, I saw one along the road from Lome to Accra the other day here in Ghana. I saw many Car sales lots and one tractor there also.



I now have seen what I think is my third Farm Tractor in Ghana.

I think this is some type of Antique junk farm tractor; it seems to be in very bad condition and maybe part of the “Scramble for Africa.”

Cecil Rhodes around 1890 proposed that the best use of West Africa was for Farming, and over 100 years later it is still waiting to be used for cash crops, my guess is they use about 15 percent of tillable land.

There is probably enough under used farmland in West Africa to feed all of Africa and most of Europe. Therefore, what does the world do to feed Africa; they send Food, when somehow it would make more sense to send Tractors. I suppose the world leaders know, the African leaders would probably just put them back on a boat and sell them to Asia, so what is the point.

There is an idea, set up a tractor loaning volunteer agency, go and loan tractors to villages to take them from hoe farmers to producing enough money they can buy two cell phones and a motorcycle.

Ghana Farm Tractor


Volunteer Planned Africa Trip

Volunteer Planned Africa Trip
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Friday, August 17, 2007

I remember reading some burp by a reader in the Lonely Planet West Africa about you should volunteer while you are in West Africa. I remember thinking, why…?

There are many reasons to Volunteer, however one has just evaded me for a year and now I know.

Volunteer and the organization will help you to travel to Africa; more or less, they will be your travel agent. There are very few travel agents on the planet that could help you go to Africa correctly, however, the Volunteer agencies can help you.

I meet 99 percent Volunteers running around West Africa being tourist and 1 percent just tourist, me, so I am abnormal here, I am the one.

I would say the cost to use a Volunteer Agency as your Travel Agent would amplify the cost to travel by about 2-7 times the needed amount. However, if you need a travel agent, this can be the only option.

Note: I do NOT recommend volunteering, or paying to Volunteer.

Volunteer Planned Africa Trip


West Africa Jump Gates

West Africa Jump Gates
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Friday, August 17, 2007

I have two possible go by land travel path that lead to Jump Gates. Hmm, I know what I mean, but nobody else does, hard to ignore people reading unless you are just very self-centered, I try, but just hard to turn empathy off.



I am in Accra and the heavy black arrows represent the two possible paths towards I hope Jump Gates. I am in Accra, Ghana probably the best Jump Gate for travel in and out of West Africa.

I more or less try to travel between Air Jump Gates by land and when I play the Travel Golf wrong, I have to dollar-my-way out, throw them down until I can leave.

I am searching for the air ticket for less than 400 US one-way to London, England or Frankfurt, Germany, or 750 US to Southeast Asia. To fly into Paris, France is cheaper, yet when I land I get hike up by the French cost of living, so not much good. England and German are expensive; however, they have a realistically priced Hostel system if I am stuck.

The best way it to just Jump Jump, I can Jump Jump to London, Frankfurt or Casablanca. However, I am in Accra, Ghana and best to buy the ticket here unless I already am sure there is a ticket from any of the onward tickets is priced right.

I want to transit in Europe, I do not want to stay in Europe.

I want Accra to USA or Southeast Asia for around 750. Europe to USA or Southeast Asia for around 400, to go to Asia, it almost demands I go to Germany. I am traveling towards winter, so not good options.

West Africa Jump Gates


Ludo Togo Board Game

Ludo Togo Board Game
Lome, Togo West Africa
August 5, 2007



Photo of the Board used to play the board game of Ludo in Togo.



Video of Two Togo Girls playing a board game neighborhood of Kodjoviakope on street of Rue Delta.

The Togo girls take turns whereby one person shakes two dice in a cup and bounce slams onto the board and moves board pieces

Yes, the Togo Girl was mocking me in English, her Christian name is Selonge, Mina name is Akpeenie.

Lome Togo is the Capital of Country.

Ludo Togo Board Game