Tremendously Stupid Traveler
Monday, August 14, 2006
It is very dark, the streets of Tokoradi are not well lit, and the place is zoo in many ways, too many people, now the bars are opening in force. I went to the Internet Café to send a telephone number to my hosting company. I walk out, dark and a mess, I look to my right and a girl in flip flop sandals, the cheapie type, with a full backpack and skirt, white girl alone is walking towards I have no idea. She is moving fast, and I do not want to scare her, but I want here to get to a hotel, and off the streets.
I have been perusing the guidebook now for over 20 days, there is not a chapter I read that does not say,
- Do not walk after dark alone -
- Do not walk after dark -
- Stay in your Hotel after dark -
I do not know where the girl is going, I just know a person with all their personal belonging on her, probably has to have a minimum of 300 Dollars U.S. on her, is a great target. What a target of opportunity for some big jerk that wants to come and take it and her.
Nothing is more stupid than arriving after dark alone to a hotel, this girl is tremendously stupid, and she gets what she deserves in life.
I just cannot fathom how people can be so ignorant, it is as if they cannot make one small adjustment, any change in their routine is not possible. They are lemming trying to jump off a cliff.
Oh well, I can do nothing, I know the scenario, they just do not appreciate help, even if I tried. I take off walking back, I think there is a place that sells that Tampico Orange Drink, maybe has some vitamins, I remember always this is drink and not Orange Juice, but nonetheless, I get this maybe 12 ounce plastic bottle of the stuff, luke warm, but what can I do and start walking, Some man jumps up, and says in English,
- I have a drink of that -
I look at him like I am going to kill him, I want to, but do not. He stops dead in his track less than one foot from me, I brush him away and keep walking. This type of arrogance is rampant in Africa, big boys, not some little Asian or South American boys, these are big boys, still boys, but nonetheless, not like in South America where I weigh the same as two or Asia.
There is always an ironic coincidence about life, why does something reinforce my beliefs at just the right time to solidify opinions.
Note, I believe there is a genetic makeup to aggression, I consider countries like Germany the most aggressive on the planet, and then Scandinavian, then American, England, Central Europe, Russia, Arab Countries, Africa, then Asia, India, South America and Central America. Etc.
I see Africa as having a high genetic desire for violence, about in the middle, the codes of conduct is what stops countries like Germany from chaos, they need all them rules of they would kill each other.
Not all levels of aggression in all animals are the same, the world tries to make all equals and we are in most ways, but we are not the exact same animal.
What this is about, do not blindly override what is real and overlook what is real, there is more violent cultures, this is real, not a game. When this girl comes up missing, the only person in the world that will know will be her mother and father in some country far away from Africa, asking everyone how to find her missing daughter. The problem will not even be a speck on the day here.
Tremendously Stupid Traveler
Travel Newsletter from Ghana
I sent my travel newsletter, and then forgot to blog or tell people.
Hobo TRAVEL TIPS - Ivory Coast Ghana GPS - Global Positioning
199 August 15, 2006
TIP: GPS - The future of travel, and past.
A marker is set for the Travel Industry.
LOCATION: Tokoradi, Ghana
GPS: Global Positioning Satellite Longitude - Latitude
04 Degrees 53.791 North / 001 Degrees 45.772 West
A Hobo trip around the world. Year 9
Write Andy a HoboTraveler.com
Travel Newsletter from Ghana
Tokoradi to Shama to Cape Coast
Cape Coast Ghana
August 18, 2006
This post IS NOT in PROPER ORDER, I write many post offline, and will hopefully fill in the gaps tomorrow.
I am in Cape Coast, the internet is sporadic at best in Ghana, and the Internet Cafe Management programs are extremely anal, they restrict me from using my normal flash or thumb drive. Best to bookmark the blog to read, my faster. Maybe I will soon teach my mother how to got to my blog direct to see that this is first priority post... hehehe
Life is good in Ghana, I am in a Tourist Bubble in Cape Coast, the prices have tripled for some things, but now the internet is available.
Tokoradi to Shama to Cape Coast
Monday, August 14, 2006
I was invited by two sisters to go to the Tokoradi, Beach, they were funny and neighbors more or less of the Amenla Hotel, and therefore I decided to say yes. I am not big on going on long excursions with locals, who I do not know, and to places where there is no time limit. It was funny, there was the normal country (under-developed is normal, developed is not normal) thing whereby suddenly I am the bank for the whole group. I had a three girls, and one small child that was my good friend to pay for and accommodate. It was not so bad, or normally I just leave them to their ways and ditch them. I did not ditch this group, they did not sit down and order the biggest drinks, meal, and anything they could think of, so I paid and was happy.
80 percent of the time when you go with one and group’s shows up, it is better to get an excuse and leave them. Unless of course, you like to be taken advantage of, or maybe you have an I am not rich syndrome, which makes you desire to be rich one time in your life. It is a cheap way of pretending and acting as if you are rich for very little big money.
I was hoping for beach, got more of a large, noisy bar, complete with the normal copy any MTV clothing you see, Lakers Shirts, Sports of all type shirts, and a few pants with the crotch all the way down to the knees, I must have been in the sup-hip, not knowing where they are going younger crowd.
The interesting part was to be the beach for me, I was hoping to get some sun, relax, but the beach was more or less just black dirt mixed with sand, a very bad beach and the wave were darkish, and not inviting. Only a very few person had on swimming suits.
Soccer or Football was being played on the beach, I consider this a good beach sign, a good beach has area large enough for soccer, this also give the locals who really do not want the sun a reason to come to the beach. The reason for the beach was to be seen, and to see people, it was some form or Sunday afternoon, after church social hour. Nobody was drunk, or obnoxious and everyone was very well behaved, I think maybe after the sun goes down it could get more difficult.
I was looking very closely at the people walking, dancing, and moving around, the way a person walks can tell you where they are from. It is staggering to see that a normal person walking down the streets of Ghana walks almost the same as a normal black person in the USA. This is not talking about the swagger, I am cool walk, and this is the average Joe happy to be alive walk.
Very little of the faces, the eyes, walk, mannerisms have stopped from Africa and the USA, there are enough similarities that most of these blacks in Africa could walk right onto the streets of the USA and fit in, nobody could tell the difference.
The only exceptional looking is a subset of blacks that are extremely black, the one girl I was talking with pointed at her friend and said,
- She is very black. -
I am not ever sure how to deal with this, I know in my culture I could get myself in a lot of trouble talking openly about how black a person is or describing black people to black people I do not know very well. They do not seem to care about color, this is so wonderful and nice, a society that is not racist in a color way, I do not know, they may be racist in ethnic or tribal ways. Most cultures outside the USA are extremely racist, the USA is racist, but no enforcement of racism, a racist action could end up costing a person their house, home and business. While in the majority of countries, it is built into the legal system. I think this is the problem presently in Cote d-Voire, they have made racist type laws that allow the Christians to stop the Islamic people from running for government offices.
Racism or Religious type ethnic hate is probably the first form, then the love of white about any offwhite is the next problem on the planet. In this black society I have not seen, however it does appear that lighter black is preferred to very black, this type of observance is complicated to separate, I have to wait for them to talk, there is a temptation to lead the cultural conversation where I assume it will go, not where it is going.
I am collecting ideas and writing a tip on how to study cultures, it is very difficult tip to write because I have to wait until I violate something, see how my personal culture interfered with the study of culture. Then, I have to write down how I behaved, introspect on the problems and solutions, then comes the complicated part, and explain the subtleties of how to behave.
The bottom line is there are some natural salesmen and there are people that could not sell a life raft to a drowning man.
PRIDE AND EGOTISM
I am trying to figure out how to hire guide writers, maybe I will give them a test, however, what I want to test is how they deal with cultures, and how they sell or do not sell themselves. How far they need to be heard I suppose, I think a great sales person can sit and listen for hours and not talk. I did very little talking at the beach, mostly asking questions and starting conversations.
I was thinking about the Dale Carnegie book, How to Win Friend and Influence People. It has a very good cultural observance, it explains that people like to talk, want to be listened too, and like to hear their name. I laugh when I am talking with a Politician and they repeat my name very other sentence, or refer to me, with people, Andy is this suck-up-comment. Fun to watch the super personal people work.
Well, most conversations between locals and foreigners turn into I tell you about me, and you tell me about you conversations. It become a one-up-manship show where I get annoyed. It is dribble, not so interesting and the desire to be heard is rampant.
I am annoying to listen too, my brain never ends, I am afraid to talk too much, I know what happens. People stop talking, learn to hate me, and then treat me as if I am a leper. I now know this, and refrain from natural thinking or conversations unless I am with the super intelligent and super mental processing people. I laughed at Andrew my techie from India, he commented after he went back from Delhi to Goa.
- Everyone here talks so slow. -
I was talking at about 1/5 the speed of normal, his English is different, and however I was speaking twice as fast as I would with a normal local. I can talk extremely fast if I want, but normally have no desire to hurry. Andrew thinks very fast, however does not talk very fast.
Studying a culture though is complex; I think if I interviewed 100 people, maybe one would pass my grade. I think the very fact they want to study cultures makes 80 percent off my list. A person that actually wants to listen to 90 percent inane conversations to study is sort or weird to me. I occupy my brain by observing 90 percent of the time and listening 10, the conversations can be so simple, takes a small load on my brain.
However, what is happening around me in invigorating cultural places is amazing; there can be hundreds and thousands of little interplays happening at one time. The markets are great to study somewhat the normal culture without blinders on, not the ones that sell any type of tourist items, the ones where you walk in the whole places stops to look, why is he here.
Time to go to the Internet, yesterday was Sunday, the morning was off for church, the whole city of Tokoradi seems to go to Church, the internet did not open up at noon as the man said, and I do not know if it ever opened.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Calling me a Gringo, as in Central and South America does not bother me.
Calling me a Farang like in Thailand does not bother me.
Calling me Abroni does not bother me.
Calling me White Man makes me angry.
My gut reaction is to say,
- Hey, Black Man -
Back to them and keep walking, instead I keep walking, not a good idea to pay attention when people are whistling or calling or commenting, it encourages them and they never stop. Enables them to do what they want, they want my attention, normally to sell me something. I pick who I go and talk with, it is not chosen by them, although they hive me the high sign before I talk with them.
Why do I get angry when the call me White Man?
I think the reason is my instant lack of trust for Black People in the USA is suddenly remembered when they talk to me in such good English. The brazen comment is not an insult, I have been insult in Elubo, Ghana by a man using the term White Man, however normally it is not, but I would say 90 percent just calling me Gringo in their way. 10 percent a little of an insult or separation, belittling and condescending.
In the USA sadly, if a Black Person was to holler at me, it is not a good thing, it could be them trying to provoke or be disrespectful. Therefore, a sudden comment in English puts me back feeling and thinking in my cultural world and not the world I really am in. Ghana is copying the USA at a very fast pace, I suspect they are copying the angry Rap Music and the angry music in general, disrespect of the law, the world, and anyone. A bragging that to be tough is good, an alpha male, good way to get put in position mode in my view, but nonetheless a problem child.
Respect is natural, not a problem in the world, learning how to be angry and disrespectful is learned when a culture tolerates it. In the past, racist comments at blacks was tolerated, then in a way encourages, fortunately this is ended and almost totally faded away in the USA. However, the black making comments against the whites are growing, not decreasing.
I am always amazed to listen to Europeans say comments about the Israeli people; it would never be tolerated in the USA.
Racism is not logical, it is learned, and taught. However, leaning when another person is being disrespectful is also learned, and I suppose can be taught. Danger avoidance when traveling is about knowing where or what level of acceptance or tolerance they have for me or people around them. I have seen zero police, there is no law to protect me, if it exists, and it will come after a problem happens, not while.
I suppose it gets towards a more tribal mentality when traveling the world, I do not like the word tribal because people think they dress up feathers and such, the planet does not dress that much different. Far East maybe a little more like pajamas in places, but for the most part no, especially the men, they usually are pretty much the same.
It is wonderful to be in West Africa with many Black people that treat me with respect… To respect a person that does NOT treat people with respect is to say, yes, this is good, enabling of the worst behavior on the planet. Disrespectful people have no place in my world, to totally hate me is ok, and to disrespect me is not safe.
Abroni White Man
Sunday, August 13, 2006
I am called names, I recognize when they say,
- White Man, -
In English, as it is the official Language of Ghana, however I sussed out another name they call me last night, it is
- Abroni - of White man
In the language of the Fante people, now that sounds tribal, and that sounds mythical and African, but it is not that simple. In Guatemala, they have good clear tribal differences, the tops and shirts of the women will be different, the men are more difficult to separate.
I may be able to tell the different between Islamic and not-Islamic here, probably Christian, but I cannot see a simple separation or difference between Ethnic groups, maybe, I can say tribe, not a good word in my mind.
All the people in Tokoradi, Ghana more or less look the same, dress the same, and act the same. You have rich, poor, black, less black, high forehead, lowers, short hair is often the fashion, or the mesh braids. I have not seen dreads, which is fine with me…
I learned the word Abroni last night while playing with a small girl in the street that was bound and determined to hug my hand. It was lights out and was walking to the fried rice stand down the street to say hello to Apha and buy some rice for 50 Cents U.S. Walking to the rice stand, I ran into the child who ran and grabbed me, and then the mother grabbed my hand. All, said hello, then upon returning with me eating the rice out of Styrofoam Box, plastic spoon, rubber banded and a napkin set up, I saw the little girl again. The electricity was off, there was no reason to enter the hotel, and it was pitch dark, only the cars driving by gave enough light to be alive.
I asked if I could sit on the end of the bench with some women, the little girls was playing vigorously, calling me, saying things, about half and half, some English and some other. She finally said as if she was saying my name.
- Abroni -
- What does that mean? -
The older person replies,
- White Man. -
Ok, Great, I am happy, I take out a piece of paper and pen and start to write it down, she helps, grabs the paper and writes it for me. Which is very good, I have no found that many people that can write abstract words, or ideas. They only will write maybe what is easy or simple, to sit and write Abroni, White men in the Fante language is different. She did put men and not man, I check a few times. Interesting, I wonder if she thinks in plural and not singular of white man.
I have copied and posted two in interesting concepts on this language of the Fante people. The Encyclopedia Encarta describes the Fante as the Ethnic group, not the name of the language, however there is no Fante language shown below. Nobody seems to understand the name of their language, or when I ask in English, what language are you speaking, I get no answers.
Fante or Fanti,
African people inhabiting the territory of the former native African kingdom of Fante. The Fante are anthropologically and linguistically related to the Ashanti. The territory of the former kingdom, which forms a part of Ghana, covers approximately 52,000 sq km (about 20,000 sq mi) and extends about 145 km (about 90 mi) along the coast. The Fante were once the most numerous and powerful people on the Gold Coast. Their kingdom began to decline at the start of the 19th century, after repeated invasions by the Ashanti, a powerful tribe from the north. A relatively high level of tribal government among the Fante is indicated by the institution of the “stool”—the investment or dethronement (destooling) of the king or paramount chief by the tribal elders.
Adangbe, Akuapem, Akyem, Ashanti, Bono, Dagomba, Ewe, Fante, Ga, Gonja, Kwahu, Mamprusi, Nzima, and others
English (official), Akan, Nzima, Dagbane, Ga, Ewe, other African languages
Abroni White Man
I am very annoyed at the CyberCafePro program in the internet cafes or cyber cafes as they call them here in West Africa. What this program does is allow a person to only use about 10 features of the computer and denies any access files, and making of files. Any program that is not already there does not seem to work.
I am extremely good on a computer, I can figure out some work around situations where I can continue to progress. Not good, but I can progress, my solution now it get the Cyber Café to allow me here in Tokoradi, Ghana to use my computer and escape this every stupid CyberCafePro management system for Internet Cafes.
Playing on the computer, chatting, and music downloads, military games are also annoying to me, however the persons that know how to do these things can often play and learn how to do coding, or PHP or Database and many other more advance toys. I have workers on my site, they are the biggest players around, and they spend endless hours toying around with how to do something.
The playtime was possible, they started to play. If I wanted to keep a country ignorant and away from any serious computer work, and advanced technology, keep them behind in all aspects of computer work. I would put CyberCafePro on all computers. Stop the ability of the curious mind to do anything but chat or go to love sites, look at photos.
A computer in an internet café is not a place to store valuable information. Saving information on a computer in an Internet Café is not needed. A disk drive of less than one gig would hold everything most of the time. What the world spends so much money in internet cafes to protect nothing seems to me the heights of logical ignorance. All the geese really can fly the wrong way, it is totally possible, but as of now, all of Ghana, Niger and Ivory Coast are traveling the wrong way, not so good, sad in fact, the youth cannot play, until they become good, someone sees it, and then gives them a big toy of their own.
Niger is Closer
Sunday, August 13, 2006
I am working slowly on a malnutritionsolutions.org project.
I was in Niger last year, it was disturbing to me, that so many kids were dying, yet nobody could answer my question.
- What foods do they need to grow to be healthy? -
I used to think or thought, what does internet pages have to do with research or serious scientific study? Now, I am thinking it is like a business, super organized and amplified. If you go to the start a business, do this, be an entrepreneur, etc, type noise you will always hear.
- Write a business plan. -
I think writing a business plan can be silly; however, to work continually an ever growing, continually progressing business plan makes sense. A company or business slowly, 99 percent not on paper, learns what works, and does not work, then continues to clarify the good from the bad. When it gets bigger, it sees it needs to explain this to workers; therefore, it starts to make a paper explanation of what is going on, then humorously the business get so big they start to make more reports than work…. Hehehe until the bureaucracy starts to kill them.
1. An Internet Site is a lot of information typed into a computer, hopefully in an organized way, on a specific subject.
2. Research is a lot of information typed into a computer, hopefully in an organized way, on a specific subject.
A web site cannot evade making a business plan, the site is the business plan implemented.
I can evade though thinking, what works and what does not work, what are the solutions and what are not, what helps and what does not.
I do not like to type about it, I do not like to explain about all the internet sites I am working on and now other people are starting to be involved. We hired a person from Ukraine, and he is working well. I now have three people actively working on stuff. I like the word stuff and thingy.
We collect massive amounts of information, and then we will transliterate the information into a web site. I have learned this is research of the most strict and regimented manner.
I am approaching slowly Niger, I need to focus on making a good set of questions I wish answered while I am there roaming around.
Niger is Closer