I wrote that Senegal is boring, and one reader commented, more or less saying, then why are you still there? I think it is best to stay one month in all countries if you want to have me listen to your opinion when you say you have visited a country, so I do not leave quickly.
I often think about the country of Paraguay and feel guilty, I was in a Hostel visiting the Iguazu Falls in Brazil for a few days. I then crossed over into Ciudad del Este, Paraguay for one night. I have counted this country on list of "Countries Visited" for years and is still counted because I slept one night in the country.
Two things happened; the city of "Ciudad del Este" is sort of creepy in Arabic way. Then while in the Hostel, many Israel people told me many bad things about the people in the city. Upon sleeping in the Paraguay Hotel, I realized the Paraguay people did not speak Spanish well, they spoke some local something, and it was difficult to communicate.
(I fixed my television in my room and have been watching 24 with Kiefer Sutherland.)
I would have stayed longer in Paraguay, but my first day was bad, so I just returned to Brazil and went north to Maceo to meet up with for a pre-arrange travel trip with an Argentina girl.
I did the same thing for Honduras and rectified the situation last year by living in Tela, Honduras for a month, I wanted to relieve my counting country guilt.
First impressions can be wrong, and in many ways not important, if you are not enjoying a place than leave. However, I have unlimited time, why not give countries a fair chance? I truly despise Europe in many ways, I cannot even give a country a fair chance, I must make reservations in most cities, I must decide that I like a city, or do not like before I visit, not a good way to travel, nothing to do with wandering around in a country, a horrible way to travel the world is by having reservations.
10 Year Old Page Problems
I took a good photo of Iguacu Falls, it was a good memory and thought I would find it and put on this post. The photos on this page are destroyed; when they were transferred from one server to another, I believe they were damage. Another problem is the CD ROMS, at one time I thought this worked, and it does not, a very bad way to store photos.
I do not like to lose photos; presently I store photos in three to four locations. I know one thing, 95 percent of the advice I have received from techs over the years on storing photos was wrong. Bottom line, only store on a hard-drive, and make four copies on four separate hard-drives, and yes you can count your server
Dakar / Yoff / Senegal, West-West Africa --- Friday, March 11, 2011
24 with Kiefer Sutherland
I said the other day; I always have a library or bookstore in my room. I also always have a Television in my room. I carry mass amounts of books, movies and TV shows on my computer, so there is no reason to get a Hotel room with these benefits; I save 1000’s of dollars.
I am having a moment, I have been watching all of season 8 of the show 24 with Kiefer Sutherland. I also have all of season 4 of House to watch, and working on Burn Notice.
Andy on Daily Radio Show - or Podcasting Problems
I am going to do a daily "Podcast," nothing more ambiguous than saying this word. OK, I am going to record a daily radio show, a question and answer session. Readers will be able to download it and listen, or watch, both options will be available There are two major technical problems to solve.
Goal: Readers ask questions, I answer them and publish for people to watch or listen too.
1. Record questions from reader:
I want to allow readers to call a USA telephone number, and ask questions. The message will be recorded; somehow, I will download this audio file, maybe it will be e-mailed to me. I may have a page that has a way to record on the page a video and the voice.
2. Lighting in the room for the Camera.
There is only one sure place to record this video and voice, which is inside my Hotel Room. I need to have great lighting and a tri-pod to hold the camera. I am trying to figure out a way to have 2-3 lights in my room that are good for video.
When I figure out these two problems, I will start a daily radio show, called a Podcast.
Warning about Scammers Wanting to buy Sites
There are many swindles by people wanting to buy my site, they are fishing, and they want to buy something worth a lot for 10 cents on the dollars. There is also a swindle where people want to know my advertising rates, but they are just fishing.
If you own a site that earns money, be careful, this is a warning.
Dakar is city on Sand
It appears to me, that Dakar and Yoff are cities built on a big pile of sand. The buildings here are all built on top of sand, an interesting city. This is much better than Lome, Togo which has a lot of the city built on sand, they do not use as much charcoal here in Dakar for cooking and the sand is white and cleaner.
Although this city is dirty, and a few videos I have taken will show that soon, when I publish. There is not much difference between Ivory Coast and Senegal, the quality of life for the locals is about the same. There is more stuff to buy here for people, they have better access
to world products. The cost of living is higher, and maybe the people earn the same as Ivory Coast, Ghana or Togo, this is not good math.
Dakar is an Earthquake Disaster waiting to happen, I have no idea if this city is on or near an Earthquake fault. But if it is, then watch out, this city is full of 3-4 story buildings, this is the standard size, and then they build the building with dodgy or unwashed sand, the blocks are crumbling before they even put them in the walls. I truly hope this place never has an Earthquake.
Video of Breakfast Included in Normal Backpacker Hotel
- Note, I am paying 30 Dollars a night and that is not a normal price, so a push to say there is a Backpacker Hotel in Dakar, Senegal.
Even a Boring Country Deserves 10 days
Everyday of the week, I receive about 100 e-mails, these e-mails make me angry, frustrated, and yesterday I hollered a "Boy Genius from India." for no good reason, I have little patience, my nerves are tattered.
Why am I angry --- 1 to 6 ?
1. I am frustrated after leaving a country I love "Ivory Coast" because of stupid violence and being force to flee to Senegal that is not my cup of tea.
2. Doing my USA Income Taxes for 2010, and wanted to club one accountant over the head. However, fortunately I found another one to help me file a 2555 form. Note, I truly do not pay taxes, which are not the problem; it is the preparation I do not like to prove I do not need to pay taxes. Form 2555
3. Patience, my patience is worn thin with many people in my life. I write or say something, and they do not read or listen, and I need to repeat myself.
4. Paying 30 Dollars per night for a Hotel room that is worth 14 Dollars in a global market, it never feels good to pay too much for something and to be forced to do so because I cannot find and acceptable alternative.
5. Google changed their algorithm, my traffic decreased 10-15 percent, and my income will decrease the same. I got a cut in pay, and my cost of living increased because of the Hotels in Senegal, a country that is not that great.
6. No where to walk that is interesting, Senegal only is about a one-half hour per day curious-to-look-at-country, and I am quickly running out of things to look at. If you monitor the number of photos I publish daily, you can see it has dropped dramatically since I left Ivory Coast, Ghana or Togo.
"Asked to leave the Island."
I am making a list, of who, when, where, what, why or how to say,
"Leave the Island."
"You have been voted off the Island."
"We are asking you to leave the Island."
Dakar / Yoff / Senegal, West-West Africa --- Thursday, March 10, 2011
I think my Mother is the only person who reads 100 percent of my post.
Mom, I think I am referring to the show "Survivor," I think the show is insanely stupid, therefore, I do not know the phrase correctly. Nevertheless, it is something like this, people in the show are voted off, or asked to leave the island because they are not wanted, more or less saying.
"We do not want you."
"I do not want you."
I am not able to watch USA television, I do not live in the USA, however, I do download the "Action Soap Opera" called 24 with Kiefer Sutherland.
Nagging that is Temporary versus Continuous
1 to 6 are temporary, these are nagging problems that will go away. I am in complete control of my who, when, where, what, why and how much, so I am free. I know these nagging problems will end, the Google thing is just normal business, it is permanent, but I am not going to "Jeté."
Hmm, I am in a Francophone country, sometimes the first word that comes to mind is in French, an intriguing analysis of my brain.
Which one is a continuous nagging problem in my life?
---- E-mails ----
I can read these e-mails quickly, effective and efficiently, the time is not the problem, it is the quality.
List of Problem E-mails
1. Comments Moderation on the Blog
a. I dislike about 1 in 8
b. Black hole, about 1 in 20 and never allow readers to read.
"I do not enjoy starting to read crap comments, it is not possible to just ignore a negative, I must think for a second, this is too long."
2. Submission to HoboTraveler.com directory that are spam, our site allows people to submit links and comments
a. I delete 80 percent of them, I must read maybe 25 per day, it is not fun to know that reputable sites and businesses will spit out crap in the hope of earning money.
3. Questions asked on site:
Please understand, 90 percent of the questions asked are not people coming from the Blog, they are question asked on the main site of HoboTraveler.com
a. I ignore about 80 percent; they are not even close to knowing why they wrote.
b. I reply to about 20 percent.
Index page of HoboTraveler.com
Secret to Happiness Formula
My long-standing secret to happiness formula is this, to remove all un-happy things from my life, and what remains is happiness.
This takes a lot of work some days, it is not easy to work with people, live with people, to be a human that exist and just avoid all stress. I like Adventure stress, I enjoyed Ivory Coast up to a limit, then after that, it became over the top, and I declared "no joy."
Possible Solutions to Moderation of Blog Comments
1. Stop all comments on Travel Blog.
(Note, I am not positive they make money for the site or me.)
2. Find two to five people to use as trusted moderators who receive all the comments by e-mail and moderate so I do not need to read some of the annoying comments… I would receive the comments that are good.
3. Require readers to log-in before they comment, this will allow us to vote people off the Island almost completely.
OK, enough of this rant.
GPS and Google Maps Disagrees
I have a Magellan GPS toy in my backpack, I have been taking a longitude and latitude readings, I enter the number into a control panel and it answers the question:
Where is Andy?
Strangely, I kept telling Boy Genius, his coding was bad, and he proved to me his coding was correct and that somehow my GPS and Google Maps disagree. The longitude and latitude coordinates do not agree, they point at different locations. This means that either my GPS is not correct or Google Maps is not correct.
My Best 2 Dollar of Travel Money Spent
I purchased a can of insecticide; I do this often, and sprayed my room in Senegal to kill many mosquitoes that were hiding during the day. It is amazing how two dollars worth of insecticide can take a room that has some annoying feelings and remove them. I have been doing this now for about 4-5 years. There is no better investment in comfort than the cost of a can of insecticide to kill something.
You do not even know how many things are crawling on your body, whether it is mites, ants, no see ums or just big old cockroaches. Cockroaches are scary, they seldom truly cause a problem and they eat bedbugs, but mites and no see ums need killed.
Truly, a great travel tip, spray downs your room prior to living in it, and your quality of life will truly improve.
Bending Steel for Construction in Senegal
A couple of nice construction workers allowed me to make a video of them bending rebar or steel that will go inside concrete columns and joist here in Yoff or Dakar.
Standing on Bridge Video
Me standing on a sidewalk overpass, over a four lane highway and explaining Senegal.
I would like to stop being Angry and Frustrated
I think one of the best words to describe my life is "intriguing." I drive myself nuts trying to discover the answers to travel problems, I invent travel gear. Why? So I can live great, I like to live nice, this is my goal, I like to live the good life. I have now completed 13 years of perpetual travel as of March 1, 2011, and after living in Hotel Rooms for 13 years, you invent solutions. I live in a great room, not because the Hotel gave me a great room, but because I have invented great solutions, novel ways of solving many problems.
Dakar / Yoff / Senegal, West-West Africa --- Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Description of my normal Hotel Room
Many Electrical Plugs
Coffee in Morning
Lighted above Entrance to Door
Towels on Floor as I leave Shower
No Slip Entrance to Shower
Internet in Room
Free Weights in Room
Plug on Drain to Lavatory
Hot Plate for Cooking in Room
Shaving Mirror with Lights
Extra Chairs and Furniture
Table to use as Desk
Extra shower supplies
I have invented or created novel ways of supplying myself with all the benefits above, I live the good live because of my travel gear inventions.
Did I miss something?
Are you an Inventor of Travel Gear
An extraordinary smart friend of my mine from the USA wrote me about his plans to retire in the Philippines. This person has traveled to many countries and has insider knowledge, he is extremely knowledgeable about retirement, money management and the Internet, and he is one of the people, who said to himself,
"I am going to retire early."
-- And he retired early with enough money to live in great comfort.
People who look as white as the Pillsbury Doughboy should avoid the Beach.
I am still in Angeles, PI, in my same apartment (about $250/month, furnished including utilities). MY sublease is up on March 30. I will be here in Angeles until at least mid-April, since a good friend is arriving in a few weeks. I just finished traveling to Bagiou and San Fernando, La Union with a friend of mine. Wow, the beach at San Fernando is really nice and great for swimming and surfing. It is 5 hours door to door from Angeles. But I get bored at the beach after a couple of days. Some expats talk about retiring to some beach place, but that would drive me crazy. I like city life and what it offers. The weather has been fantastic here.
Well, I am not on Facebook yet, sorry! So I guess I can't friend you or anything. I might do it one of these days!
I am thinking of settling in the PI. but still have not fully decided if I will do that, and exactly where. I will return to the USA for a few months this summer. I am thinking of just busing around Mexico a bit before returning to the PI. I have been meaning to travel there for some time but have been too busy going to far away places. . . .
Notes to understand:
PI = Philippines
Angeles = Angeles City in Philippines
Dakar / Yoff / Senegal, West-West Africa --- Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Please understand, I wrote him and told him what I was going to do prior to writing this reply to his e-mail in a publicly, this is not a sideswipe, if he want to say who he is, that is his right.
I truly enjoyed this e-mail; it has many of the essential goals and ideas of a USA person that is thinking about retiring overseas all wrapped up in one two-paragraph letter.
First, this sounds really great; a 250 Dollar apartment in Angeles with all utilities paid is a windfall, a great life. I could use some American style conveniences for a month or two, I am tired of Africa, and even a Five Star Hotel would be a slum here compared to living in Angeles. I often think about that I need to make a list of all the USA military bases on the planet, and then go stay in apartments close to them. I like to live overseas, but sometimes need a break from the local culture. I do not mind paying big money, I just do not like paying big money and living as the locals live. Angeles understand the American culture and serves up apartments at the correct level and standards to make an American happy.
Obviously, this 250 Apartment is in line with this idea of writing a book about how to live on 500 Dollars a month in paradise. I add another 5-10 Dollars for eating, and I am there.
That 250 apartment in Angeles would be probably be a 800 Dollar one in Fort Wayne, Indiana, so you have fully leverage the value of living overseas, the benefit I have been cashing in on now for 13 years and 89 countries. You know how to do the same, this is great.
Beach Life, again this is too clear and too insightful, I love the beach, and I am the right type of person to retire at a beach. I often think of retiring near Copa Cabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, but see the beaches of the Philippines as sucking. Yes, there are a few good ones, but to have a truly good one you have to have people and the Expats in the Philippines are not often beach people the wrong beach crowd defined.
I go to a beach; it is full of white people. I mean pasty white people who are not going to get tan. I am brown here in Africa, the sun shines, I walk around, it is difficult not to be tan and brown, it is just natural. Well, there are tons of folks here in Africa covered from head to toe with clothing, hats, and anything to stop the sun. I think to myself, you are in the wrong place, this is a good place for sun lovers, people like me who want to be brown.
Generally, I enjoy the silly nature of tourists, they want to go buy beach property and refuse to go in the sun, you can see it, and they are white as the Pillsbury Doughboy.
I am truly grateful as a friend you are in touch with what you like, so you do not retire on a beach, buy a home and do like the majority of Expats. It is annoying the vast majority of Expats who want to sell their beach home or retirement home overseas to the next stupid Expats coming down the river to retie overseas. They constantly lie, trying to make their bad idea, their bad investment into a great idea so the next idiot coming buys their house they want to unload.
Beach life is just people buying the idea of travel writers who romanticized a beach resort in return for a free week at the resort. The truth his living in a beach resort would be hell, visiting for a week can be heaven.
I would like to know the exact location of these beaches in La Union or San Fernando; I was there for a month and thought the beaches sucked. But for me, if there are not 100 girls lying on a beach in small bikinis the beach sucks. I know I cannot play in the water for eight hours, I must enjoy lying on the beach looking at girls to enjoy the beach, but that is me.
You have travel a long enough time to know what you like, what has it been, about 3-5 years. After about three years, a person stops going to the romanticized places and is capable becomes capable of making long-term overseas opinions There is no way a person understands after one year of living overseas what is good. They need at least two years of living offshore before they have a clue what they like, and need to interview a few countries.
You said it,
"but have been too busy going to far away places. . . ."
The reason you have been busy is simple, it takes roughly 2-5 years before a person stops being a tourist and starts accepting they live overseas. This is fun for me, to watch the transition of a person from a tourist to a traveler. A person starts to make good decision after the rose-colored views of the planet disappears and they stop being a tourist. Then and only then can them make these settle down and retirement type decisions. The only reason I know of to stay in one place is when my body says I must stop moving so much.
Hmm, have you been to Lago Atitlan, or Panajachel in Guatemala, a no-girl place, but truly a great place to retire. Same altitude as Baguio, but without all the rain, I wish I could put the girls of the Philippines and the quality of fresh air of Lago Atitlan in one location. I thought it was Baguio, but the city is not what I want in life.
The trip from Angeles to the Beach is easy trips for a traveler, I about laugh myself silly when I measured it on a map. It can only get faster, this 100 miles is an extremely slow trip for the distance, but seems short. There is often some confusion about the Philippines; it is so easy to feel like the country is modern, when often it is primitive. West Africa is extremely safe from robbery, it is difficult to be robbed here, but people think of it as dangerous, funny. The people of the USA transfer the American Ghetto idea to Africa, just the wrong sale idea.
The Philippines is extremely populated, but a person can live in the middle of dense population, often extreme poverty cheaply, because the people truly do not make much money. It is the down to street level cost of living that makes a country a good deal.
I truly enjoy West Africa because it has nice girls and not the population density. Nevertheless, to find a Pizza here is a huge problem, I truly would love to eat one of them Pizza from the Philippines now, the food in West Africa is about as bad as the local food in the Philippines, with no escape.
I am told I can escape West Africa in The Gambia, which is the reverse type of tourism as the Philippines for women here, all the European women come down to find boys.
The city life of the Philippines is great; I truly want to be closer to buying things sometimes. My Canon Camera is making funny noises here in Senegal, if it breaks or stops, I am going to have an extremely difficult time replacing it, this is the reason why Thailand and Asia is great, you can buy all the USA things cheap.
I do not understand why you wrote,
"I am thinking of settling in the PI."
I cannot wrap my mind around this phrase, what does it mean to settle?
3. Stop going and looking at exotic place?
4. Renting a room for a year?
I am free because I do not rent long-term, and I do not buy, if that is settling, than I am all for about saying no.
What do I want, I want a safe and cheap storage unit, I want to store stuff for about 100 dollars per year in about five locations. Then when I return, I have my stuff.
How is that mail forwarding thing working? Can you move and will it follow along?
What does it mean to settle? I used to think of retiring in one location, I was going to start a Hostel and live in the Hostel, have all these hippie chicks stay in the Hostel and have a good time. I have given up on that idea, it just seems like I was going to sign up for no-freedom, I tried a couple of times, but owning overseas means I need to squat. I cannot buy or own, they will steal everything when I go travel. This is good about PI, you can trust the Expats to protect your stuff, and the size of the Expat communities is big enough to keep us safe.
I think this settle thing is just a long-term idea of the USA culture, it is the idea that we need to have a home to be ok, the American Dream, which to me is an American Nightmare. I used to own 60 homes as rentals; there is nothing more confining than owning.
I refuse to own anything now; I dump more things in rooms. I now just rent the stuff, and leave it in the room, I buy it, and then leave it, I do not want stuff, I want friends.
Are you still running daily, I would like a list of all the cities on the planet where you are able to safely jog? I would never jog in West Africa, they would run over me with a car, I instead do jumping in the room, it is the only mobile aerobic exercise that I can do in any Hotel room.
Well, I hope you have met some nice girls, I have been thinking a lot about Medellin, Colombia. I am not that fond of the Asian girls, they are too greedy. Well, enjoy life, I am going to head to India, then maybe to PI soon, I need an American Vacation, which is not in America.
Thanks, Andy Graham in truly boring country Senegal, I think as I move toward Liberia it will become again the West Africa I love, a little less Arabic.
I write a reply to an e-mail about retiring in the Philippines
I am having great fun here in Senegal, and it has nothing to do with being in Senegal. What do I miss about the USA the most? The ability to stand in front of a lighted mirror and shave. I miss this because I have never tried to figure out a solution, I have just accepted this problem for 13 years, yesterday I found a solution by focusing on this travel problem and doing travel research.
I live in a world of small islands; these "Traveler Islands" can be moved from country to country. I live in approximately the same Hotel room all the time. Now, you need to pretend for a second I live in the Hilton, you know I do not, but please pretend. Then pretend I just move from the Hilton in Abidjan, Ivory Coast to the Hilton in Dakar, Senegal. You would be expecting me to live rather nice, in comfort and free of worries.
This is almost exactly, what I do; I always live in the same standard of Hotel room. The price sometimes goes up 5-10 dollars, but my quality of life remains the same. Often a hotel truly sucks for everyone in the Hotel, but for me it is great.
Everyone is taking a cold shower in my present Hotel in Senegal, except for me, and it is 70 degrees outside, a person needs a light jacket at night. I have a hot shower because I am special…
Dakar / Yoff / Senegal, West-West Africa --- Monday, March 7, 2011
Why good fun in Senegal?
On these small "Traveler Islands" where I live, I sometime come up with great ideas for fun and entertainment.
1. Meeting Bah, my Ivory Coast girlfriend was one of the best forms of entertainment and diversion in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
2. Catching the Malaria Parasite in my body and killing it was exciting and entertaining in Lome, Togo.
3. Of course it was an Adventure travel extreme rush to know I could be killed in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in the small civil war there.
4. Senegal Fun
I have stumbled on a book idea, and my mind is rushing with excitement, this is the best type of entertainment for a traveler, because thoughts and ideas are 100 percent mobile. The book idea is this, more or less I describe the how to convert a basic room into a great room by using special gear.
Dakar or Yoff, Senegal for the most part is one of the most boring places I have been in months. It is annoying to leave the room, there are these locals with dreads that confront me and want me talk with them so they can sell me something. They make the boys in Ivory Coast seem meek, and this group are over the top tourist trap aggressive.
A Not-in-Africa Hotel
The present Hotel I am living in, located on my "Traveler Island" that has now moved to Senegal has he common area outside my room is extra nice. The Belgium owner and the present manager of the Hotel made this Hotel nothing like Africa, so when I am not walking around outside the Hotel in Senegal, I can return to my room and peace, I am in Belgium. If I enter my room, I am in the USA.
This is what a Five Star Hotel does, it allows you to live in the USA, and walk out of the Hotel and observe the locals, then return to the womb.
Mentally, I am Back
I am having a lot of fun in this Hotel on my punch out list of small problems to solve for the book. One of the problems is, I need a mirror and light to shave in my room. This is not a problem for me, but it is for many people. Women want to put on makeup, I like to shave with a good mirror and light, but I am not going to change Hotels because of this, I can shave in the dark.
I remember one time in Togo, a man moved into a 40-dollar hotel so he could shave. I think he looked at himself in the mirror and shaved everyday for a half-hour. He was only happy when the mirror and lighting was good in the Hotel, so he paid an extra 20 Dollars per night for room just so he could shave.
I am paying an extra paying and extra 10 dollars, or 300 dollars per month right now to have high-speed internet in my room in Senegal.
I figured out a way now to have great lighting in my restroom, so I can shave.
I always have a hot water bath, I always have a coffee cup, I always have fitted sheets, I always have a place to hang my clothes, and the room seldom supplies them, I carry gear that allows this to happen.
Funny, I realized, I am always complaining about Hotel rooms on this Blog. Then, in an almost silly lack of explanation by me. I forget to tell the readers, I never suffered, because I always have with me work-around-solutions. I am just complaining, but I seldom suffer because of the complaint, I am annoyed at Hotels for not supplying basic travel room needs.
Video of Toyota Overland Vehicle in Via Via Auberge in Yoff, Dakar, Senegal
I need a Travel Mirror with Light for Travel
My life was enjoyable in Ivory Coast, Togo, and Ghana, it is going be difficult for me here in Senegal. I have grown to like the small children laughing and screaming "White Man" in their local language in Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Togo. This has all stopped in Senegal, I am now ignored, as is the nature of some countries.
My quality of life has tumbled drastically, I am paying three times more and have a cold shower, which is not good because it is colder here. I am not quite sure why, but I believe there must be a cold breeze coming off the ocean. The room is infested with mosquitoes, even though the hotel has screens on the windows, it appears the management never fumigates the rooms. I absolutely must douse this room tomorrow with insecticide. I am awake at 3:45 because I was being eaten by mosquitoes, plus the noise of the drunks returning home.
Please note, I have not taken a cold shower in years because of my specialized travel gear I carry.
This is my Smiley Faces Map, each marks a location in Africa where I have lived from 5-10 days.
I have "Microsoft Encyclopedia Encarta," on my computer, I use the maps, dictionary and simple definitions continuously, I would not leave home without it. The map has one indispensable feature, I can get approximate mileage fast, this enables me to plan trips, and guess approximate values of Airline tickets, time of travel, etc. I paid $375 to fly about 1300 miles, what do you think, was that a good or bad deal for airfare? (Africa is expensive -- compare?)
Cooler in Senegal than Ivory Coast
I think maybe, it is one degree fahrenheit cooler for every one hundred miles north. It is about ½ degree Farengheit for each degree above latitude.
You can buy Encarta easily in the Best Buys store, this link will allow you to buy online. I have this Amazon link for convenience of buying, a person would go broke with Amazon links, they cost me money to have on the site, the do not make money.
Buy on Amazon Hobo page.
Dakar / Yoff / Senegal, West-West Africa --- Sunday, March 6, 2011
Ignore 95 Percent of my Negative Comments
If you have kept a journal or diary for years, you may come to realize, it is easy to write about the negative things that happened yesterday. By writing about the negative things in life, I am able to solve problems, by writing about the positive things, I think I could be bragging and not journalizing.
Hmm, what was truly good yesterday in Dakar, Senegal? I ate an exceptionally good plate of French Fries with mayonnaise for 750 CFA. My list of positives about Ivory Coast would always sum up greater than Senegal, and I know that after only a couple of days here. Just the aggressive local dread heads bugging me on the beach makes it unacceptable for beach life here. Yes, there is a war in Ivory Coast, a temporary problem, like a hurricane, it will pass.
Pay attention to clichés and wows in writing, they are nice, but normally are a sale pitch in disguise or bragging, romanticizing a persons trip.
Travel Writing needs to Compare to give Value
The value of travel writing comes by his or her ability to compare two similar travel destinations, not by me writing about one country. If you are an extremely experienced traveler what I write is more helpful, you can understand the implications. I focus on abnormal problems, hoping readers are can figure out if they like a place on your own. The there is astounding number of cliché Internet travel pages on any country.
Example of a page that compares Thailand to the Philippines, there are many comments and a great way to get hate mail. Thailand vs. Philippines
If you truly want to help people to choose where to spend wads of money… then please write articles for this page on HoboTraveler.com. Comparing Countries
Video Via Via Auberge in Dakar / Yoff Senegal (Hotel)
Withdrawal from my Beautiful Ivory Coast
These are my notes written while inside Ivory Coast. I feel like I am writing for the world that does not care, here is what I wrote down about Cote d’Ivoire, a.k.a. Ivory Coast before I left. When I wrote this down, it was too dangerous to report from inside the country.
Sunday, February 29, 2011 Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast
I am Afraid here in Ivory Coast and will leave soon.
Bah, my Ivory Coast girlfriend returned to the Hotel room yesterday after a visit with her sister,
"You must leave the country."
I was lying in bed, typing away on my computer; I was feeling good, content, even smug, because my work writing a book was making great progress, being creative is warm feeling.
Bah is Africa, she is everything good about Africa, and everything bad and I never know if I am talking to good or bad Africa. However, the last thing I expected to hear her say was I need to leave the country. The reasons are numerous, however, in the end simple why she would not want me to leave.
"Bah has no money, and no good place to live when I leave."
(Three days ago in the Alassane Islamic Rebels took Bah’s Mother home, they were in gun battles with Gbagbo troops and the home was the spoils of war. Everything, all of Bash’s personal possessions are gone, and here Mother and two Brothers walked 40 miles to safety. This was in defiance of the rebels who wished all civilians to stay in the middle of the battle.)
I took an emotional high dive, however remained steady, stopped working, sat up and asked,
"Why should I leave?"
"You must, it is dangerous."
"OK, why is it dangerous today?"
"It is dangerous?"
"Bah! Why today, what is different between today and yesterday?"
The bad Africa was at its peak, the secretive, evasive, petty and incredibly stupid Africa. Well, with prodding, pushing, rotating my emotional status between strict anger and empathy for her fear she says,
"A man came and talked with my sister’s husband."
"The alcoholic husband?"
"Yes, a man came to talk with him, wanting to know about you."
"He thinks you are spy."
I think in this moment I was relieved, and grateful to her gossipy sister, her alcoholic brother in law, and a soap opera situation that is normal Africa. I have been for days, trying to explain the long-term implications of being with me to Bah, a White Man here in Grand Bassam.
I have been saying to Bah,
"The locals will use some small thing as an excuse to come steal everything, maybe kill me. Then because you are with me, they will probably rape you as punishment."
I have been talking about the protest a few days ago in Grand Bassam Imperial, the central village across the lagoon from Grand Bassam, Quartier France where I stay. They started a protest, blocked off all the streets, and set up blockades; lit some tires on fire and all the taxis went into hiding. Then because the taxis stopped running, the police stopped working, because their way of earning money stopped, with no taxis, there are no control fees.
During the protest, the locals started to loot the local business owners, and the rumor was that the military, maybe police, there was someone who shot live bullets above the heads of the protesters and they stopped.
Sunday, I Purchased a Plane Ticket to Senegal
I had two choices; try to get a visa to Ghana, which could take two days, one day to apply and another day to retrieve. This means would have to travel right into the middle of Abidjan, to Deux Plateau and the Cocody area where the United Nations has Alassane under protection so Gbagbo cannot kill him.
I do not trust Ghana, I went to the embassy in Togo, and they refused, they changed the rules, they said, I must be a resident of Togo, whatever that means. Who knows, the Ghana embassy could be closed, in normal African tradition, the leaders could all leave when they are needed. I just do not trust Ghana. It is a culture that would say,
"We closed the Embassy for your protection."
Credit Card Not Accepted Online inside Ivory Coast
I go the Internet Café, this is now my third time today, and I am becoming increasing mad at Verizon, which shut, off my BlackBerry Internet Connection,
"Saying, we do not want to put you in a lurch, so they gave me one day notice."
Being a journalist in Ivory Coast is dangerous, the politicians want any information or atrocities they commit kept quiet from the world. Now, because my BlackBerry is shut off, I need to walk do the Internet Café, with a computer bag, open the compute in front of everyone and publish my Blog posts. It does not matter what I write, it looks like I am a reporter.
I have an expensive camera, I take photos and I use the Internet, Bah asked me many days ago, stop carrying your camera bag, she knows it is dangerous.
I sit online in the Internet Cafe, Travelocity.com my favorite airline ticket site, gives me a big zero, nothing works, no tickets to buy. I type in Kayak.com and it shows one ticket to Senegal for tomorrow. I discuss it with Bah, decide to buy, and when I return, the ticket it gone. The next ticket is for Thursday, this is four days away, and I ask the question,
"Am I safe for four days?"
As normal, she says,
"I do not know."
Africa culture is often like talking to rock, they cannot speculate, they cannot weigh the pros and cons, it is either yes or no, and if an important question like am I going to be killed, the answer is,
"I do not know."
We asked a local city leader, by the name of Armon if the city is planning a strike for Monday, if the roads are open, if he anticipates problems in the next few days. I ask all these questions; actually, Bah is just sitting there at best asking anything but intuitively correct questions.
He more or less says,
"Kenya Airways is good."
I did not ask that question, and a snowballs chance in hell he has every used the airlines, they are always ready to give advice on something they know nothing about.
I decided, I have no choice, I click on purchase. Kayak.com says, I must go to the Kenya Airline site direct, so I get on Kenya Airline. The ticket price is about the same, 389 U.S. Dollars and it is available for Thursday, I fill out all the information, the site says something like
"The Card Information is not connected please contact the site administer."
T.I.A. - This is Africa.
I try to buy the ticket in a many ways, it is obvious, the IP address of anyone inside Cote d’Ivoire a.k.a. Ivory Coast is blocked. I cannot purchase a ticket online inside this country, this is normal in Africa. There are so many scams being ran out of Africa, the Airlines refuse to even offer the chance of having a credit card problem, they shut Africa off.
Long and Longer Story
I go back to my Hotel room, call my friend Mark inside the USA, he will access the Internet later for me, I send him al my credit information, passport number, etc and then he tries to purchase the ticket on Kenya Airways. All along while here in Cote d’Ivoire, I new Travelocity and Kayak refuse to do business in Cote d’Ivoire, I thought Kenya Airways was the same blocking the country also? This is not true; the Kenya site is just broken.
T.I.A. - This is Africa
Longer and longer, Mark inside the USA has a heroic level of patience with me, I finally provide him with enough information. He gets on Kayak.com, which then sends him to Vayama to purchase the ticket. Go figure, the actual airline site does not work, but the one of their affiliates does, it is supposed to be the other way around, the Airline needs to be more professional than an agent.
Ok, I receive the e-mail, but it is not a confirmation, it is the promise of a ticket, if there are no problems, then maybe you have a confirmation.
It is Monday morning, if the BlackBerry was functioning, I do not trust Verizon. I could check my e-mail and see if the I have a confirmed airline ticket? Which it is, or who knows, I am not supposed to be in a lurch… go figure, I am in a country that is commencing to start a civil war and Verizon shuts me off, no problem, Verizon are you nuts. They gave me the phone to review, it is free, there is no way to be shut off for none payment, there is no payment.
Frustration, anger, I feel like I am banging my head against the wall. I feel like I called 911 and they put me on hold.
Frustration Defined: dissatisfaction: a feeling of disappointment, exasperation, or weariness caused by goals being thwarted or desires unsatisfied.
I took a Kenya Airways flight from Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to Dakar, Senegal for 375 Dollars yesterday. Travelocity, Kayak and all the airlines including Kenya Airways has the online purchasing of airline tickets blocked inside Cote d’Ivoire at the IP address I was using. I was lucky, I have a friend Mark that is highly intelligent, and trustworthy, I sent him my credit card information, etc, and he purchased the ticket in my name from New York State allowing me to get a cheap price, and not pay West African gouge the local prices. (Poor people, and the airlines stick it to them.)
Location of Senegal Map on Planet Earth. I am now in WEST - West Africa
Dakar / Yoff / Senegal, West-West Africa --- Friday, March 4, 2011
Free Entry - No Visa Needed is why I came to Senegal
I wanted to go to Liberia, but getting a Visa was complicated in Abidjan quickly, and had become dangerous. I will get that Visa in Senegal or one of the other small countries in the West-West Africa part of Africa.
The huge draw, and the reason many tourist come to Senegal is because they give people from the USA and I believe most Europeans a Visa on arrival. This word "visa" makes no sense, truly there is no visa, they just stamp the passport and you can enter. The word visa makes no sense in many way, it infers there is an application, than an acceptance is needed. An American is almost guaranteed acceptance into Senegal, they just stamp your passport the same as if you was entering Europe. Everyone must fill out an entry form, this is not an application, it is an entry form, the countries that need a Visa must fill out a different application.
What you need to ask the ever-too-stupid travel agents is,
"Can I just fly to the country and enter, or do I need to apply before I leave?"
-- Then learn how to fake an onward ticket, if you are not buying a round trip fare.
I am not sure how long I can stay in Senegal, I asked the man at the gate when leaving immigration, he said you entered, you can stay. Senegal speaks bad French, I could not get a clear answer, I am still not sure how long I can stay.
Togo is the only other easy to enter West Africa Visa-Country, but they only give you a seven day on arrival, and it cost money I believe. Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire all make life difficult, and Ghana is the worst to deal with for Visas. I got one year for Cote d’Ivoire, and Mali and Burkina Faso gave me two years. Niger is forever corrupt, it is a lottery as to what is needed, they denied me my Visa Entente, and made me pay twice.
I am in WEST-West Africa it is difficult to get to West Africa from this part of West Africa, there are natural and political boundaries.
I like Benin, and there is an outside possibility you can get a Visa on arrival, but the Cotonou, Benin Airport is expensive. I would love to talk to the Tourism departments of African and spank their butts. (Tthey have their head up them, so no way to talk… hehehe)
Map of Senegal
Dakar Hotels explained Honestly by Lonely Planet
"BudgetCity of Yoff explained by Lonely Planet
There's hardly such a thing as a budget Hotel in Dakar. The cheapest places are usually brothels with a sure chance of theft."- Lonely Planet Senegal
"You can get a nicely furnished room here for the price of one in a downtown brothel/hotel."- Lonely Planet SenegalHonest explanations is the reason to buy a paper guidebook, and not book online. (Note, your son just came to a place with a lot of brothels, I left a country full of nice girls.)