Togo Travel Stories, Page 33

Togo Mood Swing

Togo Mood Swing
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I can feel I am in a bad mood, I feel a little frustrated, I have nothing to do but sit in the room, or walk down the four-lane highway, and what I am now going to call the truck stop. Many large semi-trucks are on the main highway parked all the time, getting repairs and makes it feel like a big dirty truck stop, it is the truck stop.

The central village is about 20 minutes away on Taxi, and I have to walk about three blocks in the heat to get the taxi. This whole city demands a car, however generally the people are nice.

There are older sections of a city, and newer, the newer are less personal and probably the way people like them best. If a person lived their whole life in a place where their neighbor never said hello, and the truth be, they did not know the name of the neighbor, then this would be perfect. I find central cities or small village better for me, as the people live in an interactive environment. I feel home when people are in smaller family neighborhoods, not the big highway truck stop.

My day or mood is very dependent on the choices I make.

A good part, by living in the l’Amities Auberge or whatnot, I have found a person that can make a 12-volt battery charger. I cannot buy one, but he says he can make one. They was charging some very large semi truck batteries, and I guess they cannot just push start them, they need to charge the batteries.

My choice of homes increased 10 fold if I can live enjoyably under power or 12 volts in a place with no electricity. I think it is time to make that 12-volt river generator I think is possible to make for less than 10 US Dollars, a great project for my overactive mind.

I wonder what the people do, who do not have projects, they must drink a lot.

I will try to focus on something fun, I am letting the scrapes on my body to stop seeping, and scab over, I am afraid to wear a shirt much, it will start to stick. Now I am feeling more bruises and pain.

I need some books in English to read, the books on the internet tend to be boring in writing styles. I have not seen any Peace Corps people, sort of strange.

The heat does something to a mood, I think of the mean people in the Village of Koti, they lived in a dry hot place, and nasty place. However, up on the mountain of Danyi Plateau they was happy. I could rent a room with AC, but then it is worst if the electricity goes off. I am going to look for hotels with big trees over the top of them. I feel better knowing I am getting a good value for my buck.

Togo Mood Swing

Togo Pig Accident

Togo Pig Accident
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We hit a pig, I think the pig is ok.

I was on Motorcycle Taxi, for what I hoped was nice peaceful trip from Atakpame, to Badou. My camera was on my lap, all was good, we was just clearing all the city perimeters on the road to Badou when the driver hit a pig.

I now have about a three abrasions, a two inch, a one inch, and one on my head, I think is about 1.5 inches. Hard to see, the mirrors are normal, no good, do not have to worry about vanity, I can never see myself that well.

Got a good thump on the head, nothing major, was a little dizzy, the bigger problem was the insistent, panic, noisy people around me, I was glad I was out in the country and less people to bother me.

I got them to lighten up and relax ,by asking this exceptionally beautiful girl to come back to my hotel and help me clean my wounds. She did not come, but it did change the focus from some trauma thing to some silly accident thing.

The kept saying,
- Hospital -
In French of course, and their French as really bad, I kept asking, do I have a cut on my head. I am going to go look up the word to check, the word for cut is:
- Couper -

I was correct, I was talking real slow, and slowly repeating this word to the growing group of locals, and one military guy. There is some military something right at the turn to Badou, and they came out to join in the saying of,
- Hospital -

I kept trying to get the Togo people to relax, Finally, after I stopped being dizzy, walked over into the shade and sat down. Ask for a drink of water, then they had problems with the word water in French.
- l’eau -

I guess in defense of their ability to speak French, they was all thinking in some other language, Akposso or Mina or the unknown local language. To get them to think French took a repetition and a shake them up holler.
- l’eau -


I say this word all the time, I know how to ask for water.

I drank some water, change the focus from me to the girl by asking the girl her name. Then the locals started laughing, and the focus change from a problem that needed noisy chatter, to a problem that was not a problem, just a complicated situation.

The Moto driver had someone drive him back, he followed me to the hotel and wanted paid. I think he wanted more, but I just gave him the fare to Badou, of course he wanted paid for nothing, as normal, I had already advanced 2000 CFA in Petrol money.

I said goodbye. I am sure many people have moto accidents every day here in Togo, there is no room for error here. I was sort of trying to induce the driver on the way back, to not tailgate the motorcycle of the moto driver that wrecked. Every sense of good driving habits stops when you leave Europe or the USA. What is good, and maybe the saving grace, is because of the crazy drivers, and no laws enforced, nobody can go fast enough to really get hurt, they, it it is difficult to find a good stretch of road for speed. I think in many ways walking along the road can be more dangerous. A pig jump in front a car, the car swerves and kills you, on a moto it is a 20-30 Kilometer per hour bike crash.

I will have a few large scabs for a few weeks, I did not get to see the pig.

The screen on my camera broke, the computer is fine because in a plastic tub, inside the bag. The one bag is very bad shape, need a shoe repair man.

Note, the girl just left, she came over to ask for money… They never turn down an opportunity to ask for money. Amazing lack of care for human life, everything is money.

Togo Pig Accident

West Africa Time to Think

West Africa Time to Think
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Maslow has these hierarchy of needs or motivations of people.

I am frozen on step six here in Togo.
(6) curiosity and the need to understand.

I was dwelling and thinking on a statement, or question, a person said, why am I blogging more or why am I happier.

Simple as I can make it, life is so simple here, I have steps 1-5 checked or ticked off, and am in freeze mode on 6.

(1) physiological; (2) security and safety; (3) love and feelings of belonging; (4) competence, prestige, and esteem; (5) self-fulfillment; and (6) curiosity and the need to understand.

I have very little to do, it is like being retired, with a lot of pretty girls in the neighborhood.

The time that is required to meet my daily needs is minimal, it is easy to see why everyone lies around doing nothing here.

West Africa Time to Think

Solar Needs for Africa

Solar Needs for Africa
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Solar Panel and a Battery for 20 US dollars that will run a Freezer is needed.

Note, I really do not see these people needing much, yes, it would be nice to make them live longer, have a stereo, and TV and such, but these are not needs, they are wants. I do not see hunger, I do see malnutrition and this seems more and simpler to solve, as they need to grow and can vegetables and fruits.

Overall, they have what they need; they just need to use it. India is where poverty and too many people are a serious problem.

I am trying to mix and match needs of West Africa, what is really needed and what is just some perceived idea of a needed in West Africa. I am not sure, West Africa seems very under-populated, most of the people in the Sahara area could move south to the rain type forest areas.

Hmm, there are some long-term needs, maybe to stop cutting down all the trees to use as firewood. Gas seems cheap from Nigeria, if they had any money, they could cook with the pump gas stoves, and stop burning the wood. They do not need this, this would be nice, the still have plenty of wood it appears for another 20-30 years or more, and maybe really forever, hard to burn all of Africa.

- Wood works, solar does not cook at night, when people eat, the only way to make solar function, the need to have 2 burners run off solar panels and run for about 4 hours per day. Then the cost needs to be about 20 US Dollars for the burners, batteries and solar panels.

- Plenty around, I think the long-term storage is a problem, but the Chinese seem to have this covered and there are water towers up or going up everywhere.

- Red clay is everywhere, not even a consideration to me.

The problem child, this is needed to keep foods from perishing and to change the mix of diet from a few foods to many. There is no electricity in most villages outside the main roads.

Music, Noisemakers, and Beer
- Loud speaker system is why they want electricity, so they can run the bar, have lights and beer that is cold.

- Kerosene and Candles work great, hard to beat, the LED lights are with a battery is slowly become cheaper than the Candles, I doubt the Kerosene. Nepal has this little four bulb light that worked good on one C Battery and they said was cheaper than candle.

In the end, they have what they need; the majority of modern solutions just are not going to work, unless they have excess cash. The direct quality of life as perceived by the Western world is sort of silly in a way, as a goal The place needs mass employers, that could allow a person to make about 5-10 dollars per day, while only working about 3 hours. I do not think you can convince them to give up sitting around, to go and work 8 hours per day, they are hold out for fun and easy money jobs.

Solar Needs for Africa

Room Rent On Planet

Room Rent On Planet
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I have no idea why a person wishes to rent room for months in a location in a cheap country, the big benefit of living in these cheap countries is because you can can move around cheap. To rent a room for over one-month is somewhat of a crazy contract to enter into, unless you want to live for less than 5 dollar per day, then a good idea.

However, many people are always keying in on the cost of renting a room, or buying. I really discourage this and I am was a Real Estate Broker for 14 years, a true expert, I cannot think of many reasons to buy outside the USA, it just a bad investment, but...

I think I know a formula for the people who want to find a room and live in another country.

Find a cheap hotel, then about one-half the price of the cheap room should seize a room for a month. A cheap hotels is in the or Lonely Planet and is not the expensive section.

Find out the salary per month of the cleaning lady or person in your hotel, then about one-half that should get you a good decent room in the city.

If you want to live like the USA or Europe, then stay there, I am talking to live twice as good as the locals, but twice as good for double the price.

About anywhere on 80 percent of the planet, you can get a decent room for about 30-150 US per month, AC and easy. Then you got the Expats that live in the womb of an Expat, a whole other world and complicated mess full of drunks and scammers.

Buying a home is almost always a silly decision, there are tons of webpage that prey on the naive American that believes he has to purchase, rent, or reserve a room. This is not true, and probably on average make the cost of a trip 10 times more expensive than needed.

Go and live in a place, buying is for the USA, appreciation, a family home, a homestead, not for in Costa Rica or Panama, or Thailand, Philippines. Putting down roots in a third world nation just is not so smart, note, they want to leave, and you want to buy. Get it!

Using the social values of real estate in a poor country is not smart, food, clean, electricity, water, yes, but real estate is way off.

Cost of Living, Long Term Travelers, Expatriate, Real Estate, Togo,

Room Rent On Planet

Togo Hippopotamus Hippopotame

Togo Hippopotamus Hippopotame
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

There is another small Hippo Icon on my map, directly to the right or East of the city of Atakpame, Togo. I want to find a Hippo. However, I also want to enjoy my life and not cook my brains from heat. It is really not that hot here, the rooms are designed for electricity and when there is no electricity, then too hot, because a person is using a room that is badly designed for the wrong purpose. I suppose I must look for hotels that have a group, or generator and pay for the petrol, and push them to use it.

I am thinking, I need to sleep outside, camping is maybe better.

Ok, I think I will go West towards Badou or towards Ghana, stay cool up in the mountains, then return to Atakpame after the rains start, I hope by then, I know more about Hippos in Togo.

Map of possible routes or trips from Atakpame to the small village of Atchinedji, Togo and pronounced Aht Chee Nay Djee.

These expeditions of frustration are both great, and mind baffling confusing. I decided to ask some questions of the two girls who work in the l’Amities Auberge about how to pronounced both the city of Atchinedji and the word Hippopotame in French, I also asked if they had a word for Hippo in the Akposso language, we have changed from Mina to Akposso now. The way they say to go it to go north towards Sokode, then come south, I think they have no idea. I need to travel to the road junctions, then ask some motos what is up and how to go.

I need to check on the name of the local language, I may be off stream.

There is a couple of web pages from some save the something web sites that talk about Hippos being in the Mono River, yet I cannot find anything specific as far a cities and clarity, just a lot of accusations.

I am always in wonder at the pure lack of specific facts, when, where, dates, times, who, in these save the planet sites. I truly suspect these information blurbs when they do not say or tell a person how to go and collaborate.

I am hoping to clarify sleeping and transportation before I go there, it looks like I need a home stay to have adequate time to see the Hippos, if they are even there.

Togo Hippopotamus Hippopotame, Animals, West Africa Animals, Togo Animals, Maps, Togo Maps, West Africa Maps,

Togo Hippopotamus Hippopotame

Amlame to Atakpame Togo by Moto

Amlame to Atakpame Togo by Moto
Atakpame, Togo, West Africa
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Amlame to Atakpame is 28.1 Kilometers

I made it to Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Auberge Coordinates - L’amities 3000 CFA Bath outside with Fan
April 25, 2007
07 degrees 31.315 North
001 degrees 08.952 East
297 Meters of altitude above sea level

I am getting better at this Togo Travel thing, I asked the owner of the 3000 CFA Auberge in Amlame, called - The Meet - how much a Moto was from Amlame to Atakpame, they said,
- 1000 CFA -
I went to the road, I say to the Moto,
- 1000 Atakpame -
He says,
- 1500 -
I repeat 1000, frown, threaten to walk away, and he still says 1500, I finally say, checked he had mirrors, looked at his face, eyes, foot pads for me feet, they were slightly bent down, then said,
- Ca Bon -

I give the boy my front bag, climbed, on with the back one still on my bag, and had a wonderful ride to Atakpame in the breeze, baby mountains on the left, larger than normal trees, and a quick run for the big city. He never one, grumped on the price, and no threatening bully ideas, to extort money.

I forgot to say,
- Trop Cher -

Meaning in French, something like too much cost or too much expensive.

This was great, I am learning how to negotiate with the taxis with the least amount of arguments. I need to set the tone, I argue with them, then ague some more, say too expensive, then get on the taxi. The Togo brain believe all white men are rich, stupid and will pay money because it grows on trees for us, and someone is paying this stupid amount of money. They learned it somewhere.

My father would say,
- You never learned the value of money and of hard work. -

Africa does not know the value of money and of hard work, there is an inclination to not work, and take the money. All the leader seem to prove that…

I really do not care about the 2 or 3 dollars here, it is the principle of not making beggars and corruption on the planet. I am not going to enable them to abuse me.

I must argue for everything in a way, or they think I am stupid, and will just give them money for nothing. The art here is a little different than other taxis, as they are bigger, and will really get aggressive. I think if there was two of us, me and another person then I would have maybe less problems. The biggest problem with motos is to have the correct change at the end, or they will again go into whine and baby mode, anger, child tantrum mode, demanding to keep the change.

I am in constant trying to break the 10,000 and 5,000 CFA notes the bank give me down to smaller one, then get the 1000 notes down to coins. In a perfect world, I would walk into a bank and collect the change, this is not that world, and it really just normal.

I am trying to make my life simple, this moto mode of travel is in a way perfect, until my French improves and I am able to negotiate the front seat of the Peugeot Cattle Wagons better, I am better with the Motos.

I think I prefer the cars, but they are too slow, stop too much, and in the end, they just do not leave until they are full, but better for long hauls, I am in Skip, maybe Hop mode, not Jumps mode of Travel.

Moto, Motorcycle Taxi, Taxi, Togo Transportation, West Africa Transportation,

Amlame to Atakpame Togo by Moto

Goal Togo 10 Days No Electricity

Goal Togo 10 Days No Electricity
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
April 2007

I am making a goal and care package list to be sent from the USA to me by my friend Chris.

Live up to 10 days with no electricity.

I can buy 12 Volt Motocycle Batteries easy here in Togo, made in China for about 6 US dollars.

A. Use my Sony Camera with AA Batteries,
12 Batteries would easily do this.

B Use my HP Laptop computer for 40 hour or about 4 hours per day.
I think the top off 12 Volt solar energy thing would do this.

C. 100 Hours of 12 Volt Fan Power and a 8 - 12 inch 12 Volt fan or something like that.


1. Adapter that will allow 12 Volt power to be used to power my Hewlett Packard Laptop Compter.

2. Dozen AA Rechargable Batteries.

3. Solar Charger to charge 10 AA Batteries that also works on both 220 and 110.

4. Wind up Cell Phone Battery Charger. I need maybe to connect to 12 Volt system.

5. Small trickle Solar flat panel to keep 12 volts of lead-acid battery storage topped off

6. 12 Volt Fans

7. Indigo Windup light that runs on 220-110 also.
NOTE!!!!! This is semi-NOT needed as lights is not a problem.

8. LED Light that runs on 12 Volts, I think it would be more efficient and easier than the motocycle lights

Solar, Togo, West Africa Electricity, 12 Volt, GPRS, Cellphone, Computer,

Goal Togo 10 Days No Electricity