Travel Shower or Electricity
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I was thinking, maybe I am also empathy impaired as I was mentioning about people.
I have solved many problems in my travels, that plague travelers and tourist. One of the major ones I solved a couple of years ago was the shower, how to get a shower in a place like India or Nepal, or even Europe when there is a major problem with either water or hot water.
I carry this bucket, I now have two, because I purchased another 5 gallon juice container and had them cut it off in Kpalime. I now have two of them with me. I use a one-cup coffee heater to heat when in cold climates, both ways, I take dip showers.
I can fill them up and have in my room close to 8 gallons of water to use for a dip shower. The fixer Michael appreciated the buckets on two occasions, one was when I filled up one with water so we had drinking water. The other was when he was worried about breaking his radio, I put inside the bucket, inside the backpack and it create a hard inside protection. It is really like having a hard pack, but I can remove the hard liner.
I am dwelling on my Electricity problems, I am sure one day, I will solve them and I will look back, and not talk about the problems of electricity.
Africa has exceptionally good water supply, the water is clean, good for drinking. However, it would be easy to think there is a water problem, as a person can see people carrying water all times of the day. I am guessing and I will ask some travelers, if they believe Africa has a water problem. I would think they would say yes, and up near the Sahara there is a problem.
The cost of a big tub of water cost money here, and this is different than most countries. But that is because they have public utility water and cleaner. Free bad water or possible to be bad is free. However, they must carry the water to their homes as there is no water lines to the house, and even if they was, they would all be broken, like in Mexico or Asia and they are just sucking in the bad water to the home.
This water is good, but you have to plan ahead, I do not remember having water problems in West Africa.
I have continually problems here in Togo with Electricity, I have started to work on my computer the minute I have electricity, because I cannot guarantee it will return. Plus, the batteries of Laptops to me are still just an annoying joke, meant to allow you to take notes, and shut off, not for real working.
My only prospect right now for continually electricity is this wind up light I have, it is great. It generates enough juice to stay on low all night. I have finally figured out, I need to sit and wind for about 5 minutes to really do good.
I will write Chris and see if he knows of a foot pedal type light as this hand wind up time is annoying and difficult to use for a good charge. If the power went into the computer, then I would have something, hmm, maybe I can wire up this 12 volt solar pad to charge my computer.
I figure it out, what I need is a splitter. I need a splitter that allow the cord entering my computer to either be charging from the 220 electricity or from the solar power pad. I could then plug in the solar pad to the computer, put out the window and hope nobody steals it.
What happens is this, I am in a room with Electricity, I am charging my computer. Most of the time in the room, it is plugged into the wall socket or the light bulb adapters thingy.
Then the electricity goes off, if for any reason, I leave the computer on, it will drain the battery. The hibernation feature causes me more headaches than benefits, as I lose information as it does not function correctly or I do not know how to use correctly and cannot be bothered to learn.
I have learned to turn off my computer in Africa, so not a problem.
Yes, I am charging my battery, it is plugged in, I want to know, I have 2 hours of work time. If I went to back to the border of Togo and Ghana, I could live in a room with no electricity and type away every morning for two hours. I am not sure, I think I am on the computer about 2-3 hours per day, and some days up to 5, but never really more.
Well, now I need this female plug that enter the computer to charge the battery to the computer. How will I find that? This is not so easy, there is not laptops in West Africa just hanging around and the cords to a laptop would be even more difficult to find. I can splice into the present cord and connect, yet I am not sure, this may be one of them coaxial type wound cords. I need to be 100 percent sure what type of electrical cords before I go an cut it up to connect a solar panel.
I am having trouble with electrical tape. I need to find some duct tape, to cover or use outside the electrical tape. The regular black electrical tape is having troubles. It gets hot, and start to unwind, as long as cool or cold, not a problem, but here in Africa, I am having problems. I think I can wrap up connections and then wrap with duct tape and it will hold. I will check, they do not cover up the connection here the way you would think. Duct tape is difficult to buy in many countries, not a normal on the shelf items on the planet, and very heavy to carry, I will check to see if I have a partial roll.
Travel Shower or Electricity
Map to Tsevie Togo
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Maybe a map to Hippos.
I am north of the city of Lome, still in the city, but will move north toward Kpalime, or Atakpame. I am in a debate, I have already traveled the road to Kpalime, however I am trying to figure out my energy, where does my energy wish to push me.
If I go to Tsevie, then I can move over toward the Benin Border and there is this Hippo Icon on my map, maybe I can find a Hippo near a city called Tabligbo. The problem is some form of Travelers idea of never following the same path, in a way, it would be good north to Kpalime, skip on past Kpalime, and cruise around the cooler mountain areas, go further north than come down the center of the country and exit over to Benin, I just do not know how I wish to enter Benin. I cannot figure out a good round-trip path, that would allow me not to travel the same roads again.
I need both a Nigeria and a Benin Visa, however I guess I can get the Benin temporary visa at the border, then get the longer visa in Cotonou or Natitingou in the north of Benin. I really do not want to make the trip again from Lome to Cotonou, there was nothing I remember along the way, that fascinated me, or draws me back, I would be fine to avoid Cotonou, Benin.
It is this stupid Nigeria Visa that is causing the problem, I need or feel I should be closer to the time of entering Nigeria before I try to attain this Visa, it just does not seem wise to get it too early. The country of Nigeria requires I get a Visa in my home country of the USA, and because of that, nothing is guaranteed, I will need to work harder to talk them into giving me a visa.
Ok, I will go to Tsevie tomorrow and see what is up, it shows on the Cell Phone map of Togo that Tsevie is in the center of a cell, so I can still use the internet, I hope.
Note: I am Tsevie, I paid 1000 CFA for a moto to the city.
Togo Maps, West Africa Maps, Togo, Hippos, Animals,
Map to Tsevie Togo
Koti, Togo West Africa
The fermentation, then the distillation of palm tree nuts or juices to make Alcohol in Koti, Togo.
I may be wrong on this ingredient used, but something from the palm tree. I have taken photos of a Still in India where they used something from the palm tree, they called it Fanny. I also found one in Nepal and I am sure others, but now I forget.
The farthest 55 gallon enclosed tank has a fire under it, then slowly tubes are cooled in the other three.
This is the final product, the owner had no idea of the percentage of alcohol in the final drink. He runs it through cotton at the end to filter.
Alcohol Still, Alcohol, Togo,
Photos of Togo Girls
Koti Togo West Africa
Normally women of Africa walking around barely clothed is about as much fun as walking in on your grandmother getting out of the shower by accident, Koti Togo was a little more interesting.
There was a couple of girls, I think around ages of 22 in the Village of Koti maybe Kati, Togo. The place was full of girls. These girls are dressed and trying to be more fashionable than the others, who are dressed for the heat or more practical.
I think of many small captions for photos of cities, and think in terms of songs, in Koti Togo, I was thinking of the Beatle Song,
- Back in the USSR. -
When I was entering the small village of Koti, on a very hot and red dusty day, the road was gravel, all was hot. The music groups the Beatles has a lyric from the song about Back in the USSR and it says,
- Leave the West Behind. -
Meaning we are leaving the Western, or the so-called modern world behind, as I came into Koti I thought,
- Leave the tops behind. -
There are girls in West Africa with no tops, or not wearing anything up top, and usually they have a skirt on or something on the bottoms. Incredibly rare, but there are some people with no clothes. However, on a very hot day in Koti, there are is an over-abundance of women walking around with no tops and I did feel like I left the west behind.
Girls in towels, I am not going to show the other version for many reasons, but mainly because I do not want to be penalized by Google.com for having inappropriate information on the page… hehehe
Walking around with less than normal clothes on is not as simple as saying they do not wear clothes. The living in a home in the tropical areas is different from in cold climates. The home or rooms in the home are only for sleeping. The cooking, living rooms, and all the other rooms are outside; they do not need a kitchen inside the home.
Therefore, when you see people walking around, it is more or less watching them go to the showers, the living room, lounging around and as you or I would dress in the privacy of our homes. I find I am wearing very few clothes in the room here because of the heat.
This girl was at the next home over, she had the towel wrapped around her waist and when we walked up to inquire about, I am not sure, but I am sure I did not need a good reason, she pulled it up to cover herself and this is normal. The breastfeeding continues constantly and everywhere, a tugging a pulling by the babies.
The people are modest and see some aspect of behavior as more alluring or not proper, I am not sure that is proper or not proper, and not sure I care anymore. But, the world does not want me or women just having sex anywhere, so they behave in a manner that either encourages when proper or discourages when not proper.
This girl has exceptionally clear skin for here; her whole body was amazingly free of scars or problems. I feel sad for the girls here sometimes, fashion is a big priority here, as is anywhere on the planet. If you asked me what West Africa girls thought about, I would 100 percent sure not say money of food, or problems. They want money so they can get their hair extended or buy tresses or tissages. Then they want a portable phone after that, just like any girls or person on the planet. The men are dreaming about buying a moto or a having enough to give enough cadeau or gift to have their girl friend spend the night, as it is pay to go society. Food is plentiful and is everywhere, but fashion is the true desires, or wants of luxury items.
Well, there are many problems in a village for the skin, a person will fall down, scrape their legs, and a mosquito will bite them and are infected. They do not exercise and they get fat, etc, and so forth. Any girls here over 25 is on the way to being huge normally and huge is a sign of being rich, so they are big.
As best I can tell, about 90 percent of the day was sitting around and talking, just as you are viewing in this photo. Then the rest is walking to see what is happening or in the process of going to carry water or in this village to walk to the outskirts to relieve yourself.
I guess if you want to sleep on the floor on a matt, you can have this experience easily, yet the time involved in what is normal, showering, toilets, etc start to dominate the use of time in your day.
Girls, Togo Girls, Culture West Africa, Culture, West Africa Fashions, Fashions,
Photos of Togo Girls
Mont Agou Pic dAgou
Mountain Agou or the Agou Peak
Mountain Agou Highest Peak in Togo
06 52.370 North
000 44.930 East
1004 Meters above sea level, maybe 986 is correct?
Note, they say the mountain is 986 Meters high in the Encarta Encyclopedia and the Guidebook I think agrees. I took a reading of 1004 meters, I am not sure how to say or know, what is correct? I have a Magellan Explorist 100 GPS device. Information is interesting and who knows, the information collected years before is often the information a person is reading about 50 years later. The renditions of Africa are often viewpoints of 100 years ago.
This is the kilometer makers or the end of road marker at the top of Mont Agou, the top of the mountain as best I can figure is about 10 kilometers off the main highway. It cost us 1500 CFA to go by Moto to the top of Mountain one way, then another 300 to go to Koti one way.
Ooops, it may not be the end of the road, I was trying to capture the correct Togo Spelling. I think you have better luck getting the mountain if you say Pic d'Agou and not Mont Agou to the motos.
This is the view from Top of Mont Agou or Pic d’Agou, they was telling me I can see Ghana. I could not see anything but haze, but I am sure on super clear day you may. I think the name of the city below is Agou, not Kpalime.
At the top of the hill is a wire across the road, the taxi moto and Michael talked for about 10 minutes before the man gave us a small tour. There is one location that is nice, the others parts is like being in an industrial park with a cell phone tower. There is a cell signal here and they say it is Togocel and Moov on the tower.
What is strange, as a line of site, I could see this mountain from the Village of Koti, however I had not cell phone connection, I think it is about 10-20 kilometer from the mountain.
Mountains, Geography, West Africa Geography, Togo GPS, West Africa GPS, Togo GPS, Togo,
Mont Agou Pic dAgou
Mont Kloto Konda Togo
Road in Togo going to Ghana Border
This is the road, only a few spots look like this, but the road is very nice and pleasant.
This is a small section of the winding road in the small 500-700 meter high mountain ranges of Togo. This is on the road from Kpalime to the Togo - Ghana border. The cost of the motorcycle taxi trip from Kpalime to the border was 1100 CFA and it should be easy for anyone to purchase one-way for 2000 CFA or about 4 US dollars. A round trip ride from Kpalime should be no more than 4000 CFA, and we could have gotten for 2200 CFA.
The road to Konda, and this visit the Butterfly place is ok, not sure my favorite location, but ok. The two major hotels are best to bring a girl with you or to come a couple. The Papillion Auberge is in the center of Konda and is ok, in a you are the only tourist, everyone wants to sell to you way.
The Campemont and the Nectar require you have a car to be good. I actually would say sleeping on the border was a better idea in one of the homes as they have a river next to the village, and I did not see a river close to the village of Konda.
This is a small waterfall along side the road, in any mountain area of the world, there will be these small waterfalls.
I listen, read, and try to access information when I hear it about waterfalls. I want to read, there are a series of small pools where I a person can swim and enjoy the day. Then I wish to read, the waterfall is about a 10-15 minute walk or the waterfall is right next to the Auberge. Or here in Togo, I am wanting to say, there are motorcycles that will take me.
Trekking and walking in the woods is fun, however the truth is the normal person that treks does it with a companion or friend. Walking through the woods alone is somewhat lonely and tiresome. I have about a negative 20 need for solitude. I am alone and have solitude about 90 percent of the day. There is a need for quiet, I am not sure I would call that the same as solitude. Peace and Quiet can be difficult to find.
I am good at finding rooms that are quiet, I have a mix of needs, and quiet rooms and nice owner are big on the list.
There is this Buvette or Bar mentality of Hotels in West Africa, and there is about 95 to 99 percent of the time a bar in the Hotel. In Europe it is like living in a Bar, so I do not enjoy Europe at all.
I try to find hotel where the bar does not do very well, and then I do not need to go to the mountains to trek for solitude. A person may get to know himself or herself well enough on a long trip, where they can learn what they like and stop being influenced by everyone around them to do what other like.
I am encouraged every day of every week by the African people to find a woman to travel with me; it is staggering the number of offers. I do not see a person with no education, no ability to read, only is good at buying, looking pretty, and doing laundry as a good mate and friend for travel. That is not to say there are not educated people, it is to say, I think the anyone is ok mentality says a lot on how women view men and how men view women here.
The laundry is about the best reason, companionship and talking is the reason I would like to spend time with people.
Waterfalls, Rivers, West Africa Geography, Togo,
Mont Kloto Konda Togo
Togo Teak Mahogany
Kametonou Togo West Africa
What is this wood, there is no way to be sure, except to ask an expert, and then try to hope the expert is an expert.
This is a photo of wood along side the road that leads up the small village at the Togo - Ghana Border. I am on the Togo side in the small village of Kametonou Togo West Africa
There were regular, maybe 2 x 14 inch rough-cut planks, and then this rectangular block cut style wood chunks. Michael offered a couple of names for them, I semi-refused the answers as I had already said the word Mahogany before he used the word.
Learning is so incredibly frustrating; it takes the 99 percent frustration and the one-person inspiration to learn accurately. I get a hint on something, and then I need to follow up on the hints.
I can give many examples of data or information that is inherently troublesome and fraught with problems.
The ethnic groups is maybe Ewe and the language is Mina, however if you ask a person what group they are part of, I have never hear them say Ewe, I hear them say Mina. Therefore if most or the extreme majority of people say they are Mina, can we call them Ewe.
Large amounts of Teak, Mahogany and other valuable woods were harvested and taken out of Africa; therefore, there is the perception that these forests have these trees. However, if they did a very good job, then what are left may be other varieties of trees. I made the mistake of asking Michael,
- Are these mahogany trees? -
He then says later, when he fully understood my question and said,
His first answer was something in Mina, and like Oawa. The truth is, Michaels sells clothing to women, and he may know some information about the clothing industry. I need to find the proverbial horse’s mouth to find the truth and everyone knows the answers, however I am 99 percent sure, and they do not.
I read, maybe that Teak and Mahogany grow here, my map, the one I purchased in Kpalime has small symbols that indicated that teak is grown in those areas.
Everyone is an expert on everything on the planet, and I am positive there are very few experts on issues.
In this village, I counted 8 large piles of wood, about 5 x 5 x 20 Foot in size, this is a large amount of wood in a village where all the home are made of clay adobe or concrete. It does appear they was harvesting the wood. The lumber people of Africa seem to have came and took what was easy to find and cut.
Togo Teak Mahogany
Cheap Room in Good Hotel
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I have found the cheapest room, in a good hotel, maybe the cheapest room here.
I decided I needed a different Auberge or Hotel, or Pas Cher accommodation, therefore about 7:30 am this morning; I left the My Diana Auberge. My friend Ami has quit the job there, and is gone, now
the place has gone from acceptable to not ok. I do not understand, yet it appears to be a huge electricity problem.
I was paying 5000 CFA for a fan room, with no electricity most of the day yesterday, then they turned on the generator at about 7:30 after I continued to holler at them for 20 minutes. I did my best to educate them to the curse words in English.
I am now paying 6,500 CFA and have Air Conditioning in the room, and at 1:28 pm, the electricity has commenced. It stopped at about 9:00 am, and they told me, you will now have electricity after noon, whether by normal public service or by generator.
I am in something called the Providence Auberge and I do not know where it is located, I do know I am far from the ocean. Not a big deal as the oceans is not used to speak of in Lome, Togo. I did a 1000 CFA tour of the hotels of Lome, and after many hotels, dumps and other, I found this one, under a big tree. The big tree makes this place about 10 degrees cooler.
Togo has been an education in how to find acceptable lodging. There are landmines about me, as I realize one small bad choice, and I live in a headache. This Auberge Providence, location unknown, is great so far, they have provided me more or less in Africa terms, exactly what they said. I was told the electricity would start at 12 noon, and it came on at 1:30, so right on time in African terms.
I discovered many smaller hotel, and have differentiated between Pas Cher or Cheap and not fun, or not Amical. I think that mean friendly, in French. A person wrote and said that the room at the Ghana - Togo border seemed good, as I said, very quiet, cool, easy to sleep, friendly and cultural.
That room was good, yet I do come from a culture where there is a toilet, shower and electricity. This is many ways a constant goal, how to bring my travelers nest up to my standards, yet live in the bush. I need big batteries, the lights are not a problem, and I have this hand wind up lamp given to me by Chris that is great. I need more batteries for my computer; I cannot work on my computer more than about 3 hours before the batteries are gone. There is also a severe shortage of English books in West Africa to read.
I think the number one thing most travelers need though is a place to party or a buvette, and they need some fast type action party, something that makes them feel like they went out in their own country. If you read both the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guides, you will see they continually tell the tourist and travelers how to find party type entertainment. I am fortunate in a way; I do not need this type of social life. I could have lived at the border for weeks, yet in the end, my desire to keep my internet pages current conflicts with the location of the village. It was in the middle of where the Togocel.tg map said, and the GSMWorld.com map said, cell phone access existed. There were zero bars of signal.
I have found one new way to get a great room, I go to a more expensive hotel, and have them show me all the rooms. It seems a requirement that all white people must look at the most expensive rooms and say no, before they will take us to the cheap rooms. I told them, I want a Pas Cher room and finally they found the cheap one, when they understood I was serious. Therefore, I have the facilities of a 10 Mille room or 10,000 - 13,000 CFA room, and live in room for 6,500 with inside bath and toilet and air conditioning. I am going to try this approach more. I will go to the 2 or 3 in the Roughguides and see if they have the 1-2 number priced rooms. There is close to zero tourist, they can be flexible.
There is always the best room in the hotel for value and location, sometimes not so obvious why and this is the art.
Often it comes down to my negotiation ability, can I hold the price and be hard enough to say, I will not pay that ridiculous price. It is clear in my head and easy for me, I think any room in Africa over 5000 is on the ridiculous price level in West Africa. I have lived all over the planet, I am positive these rooms are overpriced. Believing in your price is the first objective in negotiations. I know they are overpriced, so I am going for the correct prices now, and not being tolerant.
Cheap Room in Good Hotel