Togo Travel Stories, Page 11

Motorcycle Trip Atakpame to Lome Togo

Motorcycle Trip Atakpame to Lome Togo
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I rode my new Moto from Atakpame, Togo to Lome, Togo yesterday, the trip was easy and uneventful, just a lot of vibration. Riding a motorcycle is about as if being on a riding lawnmower for a few hours, not much difference, except the riding, lawnmower is probably more comfortable.

There is some Easy Rider Movie, Route 66, and Rebel with out a cause or clause in their contract allure to Motorcycles. I have owned a few motorcycles and I think I took my longest distance trip yesterday; I have rode one motocross for longer, but not just down the road.

Travel Golf Scores

Starting 167 Kilometers
Stopping 332 Kilometers

Starting Time 7:39 am
Stopping Time 11:11 am

I used about 2000 CFA in Petrol or Gas. Gas is 505 CFA per Liter for Super.

I traveled 165 Kilometer in about 3 hours, so I guess I could guesstimate future travel times at about 50 Kilometers per hour. I would say, all Moto rides are Holes in Ones, but not a game of travel golf, more avoiding the game.

Traveling by Motorcycle in Togo is about twice as easy or three times easier than by public transportation. There is not much of a challenge to the motorcycle for me, more or less just a noisy car drive to the market.

There is travel bragging, and many people with Motorcycles want to say I rode a Motorcycle. I may think more in terms of challenges than in terms or bragging, I have no one to brag to so I would have to claim no joy, not much reason to brag.

I am doing a lot of debating in my head, is a moto better to accomplish my goals than public transportation? I have to say yes, because I purchased the moto, but than again, I can sell it also.

The prime directive of travel is to enjoy life, then comes the problem of how I enjoy life is different from how another person enjoys life. I like to go to the edge of the cultures, to reach out blindly and feel for where the edges are located. To get very close to falling off the culture and bruising myself, but not getting too hurt.

Yes, that is it, in Africa, there are some big drops, it is possible to drop off the edge, and I am not sure this is possible sometimes in Southeast Asia, hard to drop off the edge into the abyss or no mans land. What do I mean, I do not know, but I do know there be dragons on the other side. I do not want to go off the edge of this culture and find out what is there, I may not make it back.

Iraq or Africa…? Which is more dangerous?

I think driving a motorcycle is more dangerous than taking public transportations. Taxis and Buses will not drive blindly into dangerous areas of a city; I can do this on a motorcycle or by car. I have not found many real Ghettos in Africa, no Hoods where all the bad guy sit around waiting for stupid people or chumps. Africa for sure has it stupid white people, and they are in a higher percentage or ratio here than in Asia or South America, the average white person in Africa needs a servant to help them find the door. They come to help and need help to find the people.

My goal is somewhat nebulous, I want to go to small villages and look around see what they are growing, what is the business of the day and why they carry water. See if there are smiles on their faces, I am always amazed when someone says a bunch of smiling people are suffering, and not saying bunch of frustrated workers at some big business in the USA are not suffering because they make so much money. I weigh suffering by smiles on faces, not by money.

People tell me I have freedom, I do not dream of freedom, I am free.

Motorcycle Trip Atakpame to Lome Togo


YouTube.com User Created Content

YouTube.com
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Monday, July 16, 2007

An Acronym released an interesting report about e-commerce; this report explains a few winning ways companies make money on the internet. (SIIA)

I was interested to read about YouTube.com as the report has tagged them as the big user generated content site. Yahoo.com was the first to benefit greatly from user-generated content, as does Google.com. I am on blogger.com, they benefit from user-generated content. I think all of them really, just your point of view is varied.

This means the information on the site is given FREE from the readers. The big controversy generating Blogs do this, they write and provoke comments, then feed them, a way to get emotions to write free on your site.

This is the formula for a web site, you create a system where readers can submit, interact and provide 99 percent of the content free, and the owner of the site does not need to pay the writers.

Then you make money. Google Ad Words, this the kicker here is, until this system was invented the internet was a great way for advertisers to lose money, so in my opinion the year 2000 was the first year of birth of the internet. It started to have functional existence; it provided sustainable meaning starting in year 2000 and was instigated by google.com. Thank you Google.com.

Formula, get the readers to submit, and make money with Ad Words.

There are an annoying number of social networks like YouTube.com and I see no end in sight, I hope the web pages reach some limit on how many of the little icons are on the bottom of pages, I have discovered there is no end to the number of small icons.

Google Ad Words (2000)
User-Generated Content (YouTube 2005)

Closing the deal, I think that Skype.com is the closing agent for the truly wanna be international company. Skype.com, not a new idea, but the pivotal promoter. Skype.com has provided a way to call China or Togo cheap, and better yet, it has provided way for China or Togo to call the USA cheap.
http://www.skype.com

The USA is the buyer; China is the manufacturer, not a good trend for the USA, but reality.

There is the secret to internet success wrapped up here, and it is a secret, very few people understand how the internet works. I am in Togo, this information here applies to about 5 percent of the planet, the internet has not even touched the other 95 percent, and the world is your oyster. The internet is just a small little toddler, and trying to say it first word. Children making money.

Andy in Atakpame Togo, boring my mother to tears.

SIIA unveiled its top-ten E-Commerce list.
The Software & Information Industry Association
http://www.siia.net/press/releases/eCommerce_Top_10.pdf

SIIA’s Top Ten Most Significant eCommerce Developments of the Last 10 Years:

1. Google (Sept. 1998): Google did more to fundamentally change the way we use the Internet than any other event in the last 10 years. The simple search engine that began with a couple of smart guys is now used by 30% of Internet users to help find precisely what we’re looking for online, map our world, create simple yet highly targeted advertisements and much more. Americans conducted 6.9 billion searches online in February 2007 and nearly half of those were on Google

2. Broadband Penetration of US Internet Users Reaches 50% (June 2004): When the Information Superhighway first opened, it felt more like an old dirt road – until broadband released its full potential. Available and affordable broadband took longer than expected to arrive – but when it finally reached 50% penetration in 2004, a milestone was reached that signaled a dramatic change in how commerce gets done online, how consumers use and share content, and how the world communicates. It took broadband roughly 4 years to reach 50% – but it is estimated that it will reach 90% penetration of Internet users by the end of the year.

3. eBay Auctions (Launched Sept. 1997): eBay showed us that the Internet could be used to reach massive national -- and even global -- markets better and faster than ever before. The launch empowered hundreds of thousands of power sellers to quit their day jobs and work exclusively online. Individuals could also compete directly with each other in ways unimaginable in a physical market.

4. Amazon.com (IPO May 1997): Amazon showed the world what an online store would look like and made online shopping popular through its ease of use and wide selection. Amazon’s public offering told the world
that online commerce is legitimate and here to stay. It signaled the increasingly important role that e-commerce would play in the American economy.

5. Google Ad Words (2000) Key word advertising has become the biggest online advertising vehicle, representing 40 percent of that market and $6.8 billion in revenue. Keyword ads are the simplest and most cost-effective mechanism to reach targeted audiences, affordable to even the smallest business.

6. Open Standards (HTML 4.0 released - 1997): The standards for the web embodied in HTML are overseen by the World Wide Web Consortium, which is not controlled by any company or government. The formats are open, well documented and designed to work with different software and hardware. It has probably been the most influential and important data standard in the history of publishing. Open standards can grow an entire industry, leaving more room and more opportunity for everyone.

7. Wi-Fi (802.11 launched - 1997): From desk to board room to beach, connectivity is never lost and communication is never delayed. The development of Wi-Fi removed the limitations of desktops and cables and shifted focus toward mobile solutions. Wireless Internet enabled road warriors to be connected anywhere in industries like real estate, transportation, travel, and financial services.

8. User-Generated Content (YouTube 2005): Right now it is impossible to say what the full ramifications of the “citizen journalist” era will be – but the dramatic impact of YouTube tells us more than any other recent development. At first a playground for kids with video cameras, YouTube is now the embodiment of Web 2.0. It is a must-be-seen place for presidential candidates, a battleground in the copyright wars, a vital distribution point for major media – and most of all, a place where anyone…absolutely anyone…can deliver a message to the world.

9. iTunes (2001): In the aftermath of Napster and the P2P battles, iTunes legitimized the digital music industry, revolutionizing the music industry. The importance of CDs declined while music as digital content grew, leading to developments in everything from Digital Rights Management software to increased bandwidth use. Today, more than US$2 billion worth of music was sold online or through mobile phones in 2006 (trade revenues), almost doubling the market in the last year. Digital sales now account for around 10% of the music market

10. BlackBerry (1999): The BlackBerry makes communication instantaneous, and mobile. A comprehensive communications device creates a new mobile business culture. Giving road warriors the freedom to move to any location and maintain connectivity increases cooperation and efficiency. By having the web in the palm of your hand, Internet connected devices enable ecommerce anywhere, anytime.

Note, BlackBerry.com is not... blah blah blah

YouTube.com


I Travel to the Slums of Lome Togo

I Travel to the Slums of Lome Togo
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Sunday, July 15, 2007

I take this new motorcycle and I leave with the wind tomorrow, I will ride it from Atakpame to Lome, Togo into the slums of Lome.



I really love the word Hobo, using the word is like being allowed to put a tattoo on the forehead of your worst enemy.

- JERK -

The person would walk around and never be able to remove the Jerk off his or her head, it would be your stamp of disapproval.

I love the word Hobo, it is like walking around with a Jerk Tattoo on my head, nothing I can do removes this Tattoo. The power of suggestion is too powerful to remove the stereotype. When a person says to another person they are a Hobo, people believe them.

This is the courtyard of my four dollar a night room in Lome, Togo.

I Travel to the Slums of Lome Togo


To Do One Thing Right in My Life

To Do One Thing Right in My Life
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Sunday, July 15, 2007

I sometimes start to go North and travel South.

I am going to temporarily borrow a line from an email received today from a friend, the email was good and needs further attention…

A person said to him,

- I like Bill Clinton,-
He said, - Why? -
The person said, - Because of his accomplishments.-
He said,
- Name one? -

I ask myself somedays, what have I done?

I think in the back of my mind there is a desire to do one thing perfect.

To Do One Thing Right in My Life


Indiana USA Waitress Gets 10000 Dollar Tip

Indiana USA Waitress Gets 10000 Dollar Tip
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Saturday, July 14, 2007

I am from a little town 10 minutes drive from the Angola, Indiana Pizza Hut where a waitress received a 10,000 U.S. Dollar tip. I continually tell people, I am from some small island paradise in the middle of the USA, and all the other travelers look at me as if I am crazy.

I have trouble traveling because I naturally say hello to people I meet and am friendly, I am really from a different place on the planet.

Now, here is a good example of my hometown, and what is possible in a small town in Indiana.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,289242,00.html
http://cbs2chicago.com/northwestindianabureau/local_story_193143837.html

The world is a little rough around the edges some days, I would like to send them to Indiana for a refresher course in good old Hoosier Hospitality and see if it would nto help them believe again.

I say life is good for reason.

I could sure use a Pizza Hut Pizza right now. When a person ask me what food is American, I also say,

Pizza - I have claimed it in the name of the USA!
Good Pizza is only served in the USA.

Andy a Hoosier in Togo West Africa.

Indiana USA Waitress Gets 10000 Dollar Tip


Putting the Batteries in The GPS Correctly

Putting the Batteries in The GPS Correctly
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Saturday, July 14, 2007



I marked the plus and the minus with permanent black marker.

I think I am fond of functional worlds; I want my world to function. I sometimes feel paranoid; I think to myself, am I the only one that cannot put the batteries in correctly?

Actually, I am more afraid of what happens to small computer like circuits when something is backwards. I just do not want to accidentally pop the small brains working in my electronic toys. The camera is the same, very easy to put the batteries in backwards. Plus is minus and minus is plus, I am fortunate, I do not need to mark the batteries because I remember which is plus.

Ok, I purchased these permanent markers, I carry them with me, and I make sure it says permanent on them or they just are not worth buying. I mark things, I often mark the light switches in rooms whereby I know when off is off and on and on. This is good to know in Togo as the electricity is off too often and I want the lights on so I get a wake up call when the electricity returns.

I also mark the hot and cold water when there is hot and cold water.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability

Putting the Batteries in The GPS Correctly


Atakpame Togo Restaurant

Atakpame Togo Restaurant
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 13, 2007

I ate two omelets here today in Atakpame, Togo

Two, two-egg omelets for 500 CFA per omelet along with piece of bread and some ice cold water in a bottle, which I am sure, was not purified. I wrapped the two-egg omelet up in the bread, make a sandwich and life was good.

500 CFA is One U.S. Dollar, not the cheapest meals for the bottom of the HDI scale countries, however this is a good bargain in West Africa.

Cafeteria

Cafeteria in French with a couple of accent marks and maybe I have finally put together one hidden ideas of eating cheap in Togo. I knew there was a Cafeteria in Kpalime, where most of the White people sat and drank in the center of the village.

There was also a place with a sign on it that said Cafeteria on the way to the Auberge Mandela.

Cafeteria is the word.

This may sound strange, however one word can make my life better. The word Hotel causes me to look at too expensive and crazy priced hotels. The word Auberge gets me down to reasonable priced rooms, and if I want to get rock bottom rooms I now say, Pas Cher Chambre de Passage.

If I say restaurant in Togo to a taxi, they will probably normally take me to a French restaurant that would cost a Togo person one half month pay for lunch.

Cafeteria seems to be the correct word for cheaper restaurant food and a lot cheaper than the hotel food.

I am excited now, I am going to try this world with a motorcycle taxi guy in Lome or somewhere, see where they take me. It is always nice to take down the curtain over the wizard who knows all the answers.

I normally eat street food or purchase food and cook myself from the small markets. Then splurge once in awhile and eat French or Lebanese food to leave Africa.

I have been checking the not ready for prime time WikiTravel.org site, it is probably good for the Hostel Toursit in Europe and fun to check.
http://wikitravel.org/en/Togo

Quote:
Drink bottled water such as Volta or sachets of "Pure Water". Bissop juice is also fairly safe as it is boiled, avoid the lemonade "citron" despite its delicious aspect. Stay away from road-side meals if possible.

Ok.. I drink the tap water.
Bissop taste like crap so I drink the Citron.
I usually eat the road-side food, I like to meet the cook, see how the clean and know what life is about.

I lose or I win.



Atakpame Togo Restaurant


Making Films in Togo Africa

Making Films in Togo Africa
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 13, 2007

I like to create, I like art, I like the idea of inventing or creation of good work. I feel good when I bring forth good work.

For the last few days, I have been working on a small film clip of the Ceremony of Evala that is happening this week in Togo, West Africa. I took about 8-10 small MPG video clips, and now I am in working to put them together that will explain and document what I saw last Sunday and the explanations of the event by a Kabye person.

There are two factors I am trying to work out in my mind, there is the aspect of me, Andy experiencing and studying this cultural event called Evala here in Togo this week. And then there are some hard lines for me to draw in my head, I am trying to set boundaries of what is respectful and proper, I want to have my own personal standards that I can use to guide my public explanations and publication of what I caught on camera.

I cannot just say, I am not a Journalist, I am not a Scientist, I am not a Writer, I am not studying Culture this would be a mis-representation of truths. I think I have hit a big pothole in the road to what is right and what is wrong.

This may be analogous to the ever so stupid criticisms about George W. Bush and the Iraq Police Action. I often listen to a person go into great depth as to why this or that is wrong and how George W. Bush has no right to do this, or he is doing that wrong and so on and so forth. I try often to bring these discussions into more solution orientated conversations and not just complaintS.

I will say,
- If you were George Bush, what would you do? -

The person about 98 percent of the time says,
- I am not George Bush, so I do no have to make the decision. -

I say,
- He is George Bush and he has no choice, he must make a decision. I it easy to complain, but if you wish to complain please explain how to do better or you are just a person that likes to complain. -

I will often demand,
- You have no choice, you are George Bush, what will you do? -

Ok, it is not right to say,
- I am not a Journalist, I am not a Scientist, I am not a Writer, I am not studying Culture. -

It is not right, I am making a representation of real events, and I cannot hide behind some plaque of words put up to disclaim the truth.

I have been working on categories for what I write, for example, I could say,

Blogger - Which means about nothing.
Travel Journalger - Which again means nothing
Journalist - This still is to me meaning nothing.
Writer - Well, I do write or type, so maybe technically true.
Photographer - Technically, I think true.
Web Designer - Technically true.
Hobo.. Hehehe not technically correct

These are labels, tags, or other identifiers of some stereotypes we have in our heads that helps confusion.

I am thinking more about terms like,

Opinions
Opinions or Hearsay
Facts
Propositions and Theories
Observations
Observations with references by TRUE experts.
Self-evident facts
Documentary Films

I will continue to think about this subject and try to clarify and hopefully evolve my own set of standards on how to Blog, and decide as to what I think is acceptable and not acceptable for me, not you.

I write opinions, propositions and ideas

There is a lot of work involved to separate and opinions from what could be verified, repeated or collaborated repeatedly or what can be falsified somewhere along the lines of scientific study.

I have compiled a five-minute video of the Ceremony of Evala and will try to publish the video with explanations Monday or Tuesday of next week. I was thinking I would say, I made a small documentary about the event, however… I think not.

Definition of Documentary from Dictionary:

Documentary:
Factual movie or TV program: a movie or TV program presenting facts and information, especially about a political, historical, or social issue.

Then I went on to read about what is a Documentary Film in Wikepedia.org and somehow this word lost the plot.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_film

It is sad when a word is so mis-used that you can no longer trust what you read, see or hear. Somehow, the Wiki has included and allowed filmmakers such as Michael Moore movies to be called documentaries. The word is lost in translation.

It is as if a person needs to create a new combination of words for every event, whereby he or she can limit how another person can try to abuse. I will need to coin this with the identifier that nobody else can use, except for me… hehehe

Evala as interpreted by Andy of HoboTraveler.com on Video

I am hoping to make many small videos of showing my interpretations of the world as I see it.

Making Films in Togo Africa