Togo Travel Stories, Page 38

Manners of a Drunk

Manners of a Drunk
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Drunks
The world has unwritten rule that we pretend they do not exist. The world looks the other way and hopes they go away.

I often explain to the British people that proper Americans will ignore their
- Taking the P -

This is because a well-mannered proper person will consider the behavior of Taking the P that is often performed by all classes of United Kingdom persons as low-classed behavior and to be ignored. Taking the P is to wind up a person by being sarcastic, and to by deliberated design and premeditation make comments that infer the person is stupid. The bad part is the Brits that do it are normally the more stupid and then the American tends to ignore as low classed and they continue more because they believe we do not realize.

The only way to stop is to either do as I do, explain the Americans ignore this behavior, and we consider something done by drunks or un-educated workers, not educated. This normally stops a Brit, because they all have this delusional desire they are educated, and for sure the way they behave at soccer matches proves this.

You can do it back to them, and it will stop them

Loud Mentally Retarded people are ignored on the planet, and the very foolish.

I know, I will naturally try my best to ignore this type of person.

Presently there is some Nigerians here in the Auberge who also, the same as Michael have their battery powered radio on full blast, it has been on all night.

They are not drunk.
I had to remind myself of this fact.

While in Mexico for over a year, there were so many drunks I would continually have to avoid them staggering around in Hotels. They would go on three-day drunks and this country has one of the worst obnoxious drunk problems, maybe Brazil is up there also. There is many countries, like Guatemala and Ecuador where people are laying around drunk everywhere, but not very obnoxious, just everywhere.

West Africa does not have much of a drunken problem; it does have people that behave like drunks. The turn the radio up, they talk loud, they are oblivious to the fact they live in a world with other people.

I think of the right to pursuit of happiness in the constitution of the USA and how it also says, you cannot disturb the rights of pursuits of happiness. It is more or less our protection from the selfishness of others.

Michael wish to learn the values of mine, and not easy for a person to live with my family and friends for 25 years, and socialize them to another culture.

I am going to recommend managers of hotels and not the hotels, it is because a hotel can often turn from a nice place to a bad place when the manager of the hotel has the manners of a drunk and does not have any comrades. Ami my friend has quit the Auberge Mandela, now there is only one person here, Felix who is passive and quiet, and the other managers dominate and have the manners of drunks, therefore the place has went from ok to bad.

Ami was well mannered, and somehow was able to create an environment that told the manners of drunk like behavior of the managers to behave.

When, I was with Michael, his manners allowed this type of person enter our world. I normally avoid these people and after 10 years of travel, I can avoid them at ease. However, the sudden awareness of them around me everywhere, told me, someone left the door opens. I cannot change people, so I must separate from people.

Allowing people with the manners of drunks, they do not have to drink to have them; into your traveler’s world is a simple analogy or explanation on how to choose a hotel. I choose the well-behaved hotels, on the other hand, the manners of 85 percent of travelers, is the same, the manners of drunks, therefore they do not care.

I realized one time I could not marry this women, her family was so badly mannered, that there was no way to overlook and avoid. To marry a person with the manners of drunk is to live with a drunk. I continue to explain to people, my problem with marrying a girl from another country is not the color, race, or education, it is I need to have a person who has respect and manners or I feel like finding a club to tame them.

I have a few pages on this.
http://www.hobotraveler.com/manners.php

I have never considered this, but one of the founding Father of the USA, George Washington wrote some rules of Civility and I sometime refer to them. This in a way, could have set the tone for the future of the USA. They have some values that are now considered bad manners and maybe racist in today’s society, yet nonetheless the overall information is good.

George Washington's - Rules of Civility

http://www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1248919.html
http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/search/index.html

Manners of a Drunk


A Trying Day in Togo

A Trying Day in Togo
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I had a very trying day on my patience here in Togo today, whereas I was involved in three major cultural annoyances. Nothing really bad, maybe common in a way.

In Koti Togo maybe Kati Togo

Michael and I, the friend I have been calling my fixer left Kpalime, yesterday and went to Mont Agou or Pic Agou, the proceeded on to Koti, Togo a more or less dusty road town in the middle of nowhere.

Other than setting a new record for my cheapest room in West Africa by paying 750 CFA, the village was difficult. On the other hand, there was an about 5 girl’s age between 20-30 walking around topless all day, so that did take the edge off the village.

This morning, after a lot of deliberation and thinking, I decided it would be best to go back to Kpalime, and give Michael an extras days wages and say goodbye, which is 6000 CFA or about 12 U.S. Dollars. This is not really wages, more of a per diem thing so he could easily afford to travel with me and help me to live easier. He was saving about 2000-3000 CFA per day, so he was earning, this is about three times the daily workers wage here per day.

I tried to explain to him, and he was very sad, I was hoping that with him along, life would be easier, however it was more difficult. There were a couple aspects of travel with him where life was easier, I did have less bully arguments with the motos or taxis, the payment problems were less. However, what became a problem was an interesting development and totally unexpected by me. I suppose the big problem is his listening to the BBC Radio Station about 5-9 hours per day. I never told him this, because I do not wish to discourage him from learning from the radio and learning about the world.

Michael is a big soccer fan, and BBC fan, he turns it on at 7:00 in the morning and listens to it all day more or less, carrying the radio about everywhere, he goes. He never did this while I was getting to know him. He sits all over the place, listening to the radio.

Confusing to explain, the goal was for him to help me locate good cheap rooms, and he did this in a fashion, yet he did not intuitively get the idea that we needed to have rooms acceptable for me to recommend to people. I would recommend the woman at the border, but this is not like the Mandela in Kpalime, and is difficult for people to find.

His 6000 CFA budget made him too thrifty with the cash for a room, and in Koti, the 750 Budget room became a big problem for me, I could not convince him to move on to the next city, and forget Koti. He more or less believed I wished to live and see everything in Togo, not matter how bleak.

No electricity, not clear, where to go for the toilet, I slept on a matt, the room was hot, etc. And then, with the walls, I can hear Michael’s too loud radio 24 hours per day.

There may be this mythical and untrue belief in the minds of people that primitive type societies are peaceful and if we reverted back life would be better. The opposite is really the case, there is continually machine gun talk between the people and things happen, for example, men come and piss right next to you and so do women. This morning I was tramping through the brush to find a place to squat, a pig is making noise, and I can smell and worry where I am stepping.

More or less there is a constant interruption of the peace, nothing is really peaceful and pleasant about the more primitive people. Then the have moved out of the jungle, and now bake in steel roofed houses. I do think living in the trees would be better than their present options of clay home and steel roofs.

Maybe a person could imagine being surrounded 24 hours per day by children that do what they want, interrupt when they want, and will push their way into a conversation whether I want them to or not. The way I normally deal with this is to go into my room and read, or go for long walks in quiet areas.

Michael could not get a grip on the room thing; no amount of explanation could explain my need for quiet living quarters. I am very good at finding good rooms, I can explain the pros and cons of rooms easy, and the 750 CFA was nice, but not a reason to live in a city, although being surround by young nubile girls with no tops on did lesson the burden. Now, if they could speak ONE word of French, I would have been better, they only spoke Mina.

Next, what happened is in his effort to explain, he has been telling everyone I am from the USA, and speak English, and came to the city to take photos. I think he more or less is reveling in the explanations to people, and somewhat gives him status. I do not mind this so much, but the USA English thing killed my ability to talk with the people, then the camera things makes them think I work for a project or something and they come up and want to ask too many questions. The only people who come to the village appears to be the NGO - ONG or projects and they are the best jobs in West Africa, therefore everyone is more or less wanting to talk to me, or they appear to be fighting for job.

Normally I macho squash the conversations by the bullies of village, and Michael opened the door. More or less, he believes every person needs to be listened too and would get in 15-minute arguments with everyone over nothing, way off goal our goals or the idea of enjoyment travel.

I normally can reassert the goals and keep these sleeping minds focused, well with Michael, he could understand them and would help them to stay off topic. We was trying to look for a Auberge on the way back form the Ghana - Togo border and they wanted to show us a house with a room. I said, Mike, that is not an Auberge and he says, but they have a room. I said, we want a business, and a room to him is a business, and not able to separate and think in the strict terms of the goal, about anything was in play, and annoying, his understanding of English was much more open and lax, less defined.

The bottom line is I regressed about 9.5 years in travel experience, and my abilities to search for a good room and was babysitting a person who has no ability to stay focused, or think in a focused manner. The lack of focus and self-centered and oblivious lack of concern for people around him, and normal for Togo started to takes it toll on my nerves.

He was being normal, and what can you say, he was behaving like a Ghana or Togo person. I realize now, you cannot expect a person to plan for tomorrow, when never in their lives have they made plans for the future. I was asking him to do some things that were totally outside his cultural upbringing.

He was very sad, and begs me to give him another chance, but he cannot see that I cannot stop being a White Man from the USA and he cannot stop being a Black Man from Togo. We lived in our cultures too long and we cannot just replace out spots and become a different culture.

BUS

I went to the Kpalime Gare or Bus stop, paid 1750 to take a mini-van to Lome. The minute I paid, they tried to get me to pay 1000 CFA for my bags. It is common to go for about 100-300 per bag, and I was tired, and not wanting to argue, they was loading the van with way to many fat women, and the top was so full it looked like a banana truck, the whole groups was abusive and hollering and non-caring, knowing they had the fee in advance. I finally threw the ticket at the driver and walked away, grabbed a Moto and went to the edge of town. Flagged down a station wagon taxi and took a very enjoyable trip to Lome.

I need to get more money from the ATM, before I leave for the north. I have decided I am not going to go to the Gares or Bus Stations any more, they have been a real waste of good energy, and are just full of bad blood individuals. I paid less, went faster, and was with more civilized people in the taxi, outside the governmental lack of working systems.

LOME HOTEL

I came back to the My Diana Auberge, and I am finally going to say, this place is not good. There is some electric problem, which is specific to only this one block and every block around continually has electricity while the Auberge does not. I thought it was the city, but is this block and they managers are dizzy, slow and sleeping. They just accept and do not look for solutions. They have a generator and will not turn it on, even though the hotel is full. I finally lost it and started telling them to turn on the generator, the electricity had been off from noon until 7:00 at night and this was worst than anything as the buildings are designed stupid.

Almost Africa is my idea of this, almost ok, but not ok.

The finally turned on the generator, I am very angry, start to get very stern with them, and what do they do, start to laugh, it is just the bully children society nature of West Africa and I try my best to avoid this.

It is normal to have about one-half the staff behave bully like, not bad, they just thrive on being macho. I must have a room to decompress; most of the travelers just go for the western places and avoid the locals. I need a room, which has a fan to read and separate from the primitive non-caring societies of the world. There really is nothing mystically and back to the beginning of time, being old and ancient, primitive, quiet is really closer to banging heads with clubs than people believe.

I learned a real basic type of calling women over, that Michael did, and I will write about later. It is somewhat incredible to me, what a man can do and say to a woman with almost no problem, and what is acceptable to ask of women.

I am leaving this Hotel tomorrow, and finding one with better electricity. My good friend Ami quit the hotel and without here, the place as lost any good personalities, Felix is a good guy, but dominated by the bullies. I will take a photo.

A Trying Day in Togo


Not Predictable or Telegraph

Not Predictable or Telegraph
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A friend of mine is now in Arbi, Iraq, or Erbil Iraq

He wrote me from Arbil, I wish to give simple advice.

I say,
- Do not be Predictable or Telegraph.

I hope the telegraph word made him think, stuns him into consideration of the comment.

I do not wish for him to telegraph or send his intentions to people. I do not wish him to explain or tell people what he is doing. I do not want him to be predictable.

Not Predictable or Telegraph


Travel to Mont Agou Togo

Travel to Mont Agou Togo
Kpalime, Togo
Monday, April 16, 2007

I am hoping to leave around 9:00 am today for Mont Ago uor Mountain Agou, or maybe Mount Ago.

Mount Agou (Pic Baumann)
986 meters of 3,235 feet high, this is claimed to be the highest point in Togo.

This is a short mountain in the world of mountains, more of a foothill, yet appears very high in comparison to the rest of Togo and even West Africa that is main a flat lands.

I was hoping the altitude of the Kpalime area would dramatically cool this area of Togo, while cooler than Lome at the sea level, not dramatically cooler. The Togo border town of Kametonou, was dramatically cooler at night, and was some of the best sleeping so far in Togo, and the room had no fan.

The hope is to take the road to the top of this small Mount Agou and find a Chambre de Passage at the top, get a roof top view of Togo, while living cheap. I semi-doubt this, as normally people do not go live at the top of mountains as the farm land is bad.

Travel to Mont Agou Togo


Help Me With a Pig

Help Me With a Pig
Kametonou Togo West Africa
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Can you help me with a pig?

This was the question, after somewhat a sloppy Ghana English translation, but literal as maybe you can get. I try to have translated back to Ami,
- I feel like I am in a slow soap opera. -

She does not know what a soap opera is, so that one went over her head, but maybe it was more for me, so I can think of how I feel. I did say,
- A pig. -

This is some convoluted, highly indirect and culturally oblique way of saying they want me to buy them a pig, which is not true; they want the money for a pig. It is a floater, or a throw out comment, like if a person was sitting by a millionaire and made a comment.
- I would like to start a pizza shop. -

The millionaire would get the idea, and slowly I was becoming aware of their dream of a pig.

Do not underestimate this culture funny, they know exactly what they are doing and are trying to give me five levels o separation from the blunt reality, they are asking me for money.

Michael and me have many a conversation as one of the boys, trying to get Michael to explain to me, how a cadeau or the gift is given to a woman that goes to a mans room and why it is not the girl selling themselves as prostitutes. There is this exchange of money or benefits, or considerations a social contract is established between the men and women of West Africa on a minute-by-minute basis. I will do this for you in a sex way if you do this for me in a money way.

I guess, I can say, I am in a slow continual soap opera as if you can get a grip on the empathy here; I am like the millionaire in the village with the ability to also help them win the Visa Lottery. Therefore, there is an offer made to exchange love and care in return for me giving them the riches of living with me in the USA as my wife.

Then the soap opera escalates when men offer to give me

some sort of friendship or to make a wildly bad deal with them and take them to the USA.

I tried to explain to Mawuli in the Auberge Mandela in Kpalime, which for me to take him to the USA or his request to take him to the USA, made me think his brain was a rock.

Michael says,
- He is sleeping -

Then again another story.

Help Me With a Pig


Africa Traders

Africa Traders
Kametonou Togo West Africa
Sunday, April 15, 2007

In the quest to find cheap lodging in West Africa, I am learning many new terms. Michael the Fixer speaks a form of subtle blunt good English. His English is excellent, for a second language person, but the use of words can be mind stopping.

He is talking with the other people around in Mina, sometimes a pigeon French, then explains a revised second edition in English. Sort of a telephone game, and what is entered at the beginning, changes and filtered through two language and the thinking in two languages.

Today, the lady that rented us rooms in Kametonou, Togo said something to me in English and I did not understand. I was thinking in French, the words were not French, I did not understand English. Then again, she speak about 99 percent of the time in French - Mina mixed, so why would I have my ears tuned into English thoughts.

There was a trader women who came in the compound home set up in Kametonou and stayed a night. I discovered she was a reluctant resource of information on hotels, room, and passable roads in the area. We found a path from the Konda village north, that if we wished was suppose to be passable and she explained how to find transportation.

I would say she is sort of a traveling sale person, but in Michaels mind, she is called a trader. I normally think these are ladies that carry too many banana, avocados and smell up the car as they travel to the next city to go to the markets. I am realizing, there is a sub-set of people that do trade, or buy, maybe sell specific types of products.

Michael somewhat says, Ghana has more industry, therefore the people cross into Ghana to buy the steel or aluminums tubs they use to carry water or cook. We saw avocado trees starts leaving Togo and entering Ghana. We was at a border, this is the interface or area where what I have, and what you have is traded.

Thinking of a trading post is a good way to do, I give some furs and you give me rifles. I give what I have and I get what you have. These traders are knowledgeable, smart, and live by their business aptitudes. This does create another resource for hints as to what is over the next hill.

Africa Traders


Kametonou Togo Auberge

Kametonou Togo Auberge
Kametonou Togo West Africa
Togo Ghana Border

Hobo OK
This is living in a persons home more or less, and is not a Togo Auberge or Togo Hotel.

Homestay of Ami
06 degrees 58.127 North
000 degrees 31.338 East
296 meters above sea level

On the Togo side, the city sitting on the border is Kametonou, there is no formal lodging, however there is a bar that has something, but we opted to live in a home that rented us a couple of room. There was approximately 5 rooms offered to us as accommodations and seem easy enough to find. I guess the way to find is to say Dormi or pretend to sleep, some people speak Ghana English here, so you can speak English, French or Mina is you can.



This is a Ami, her sister is Alice, there is a whole family of them and if you walked from Ghana across the river, you would take the second walk up and run right into here compound home. However, the best is to look for her, if you is home or in the village.
The next for sure closest place to sleep in at the Auberge Papillon for 3000 CFA or there are two places that you need a car called the Campemount or Nectar something in the small village of Konda, Togo about 20 minutes down the road from the Togo - Ghana border.

More or less Kpalime is about 30 minutes of direct time travel from the border. A Moto is 1100 CFA and a Car is maybe 500 to Kpalime from the border, and you must negotiate.

Kametonou Togo Auberge


Togo Children Photo

Togo Children Photo
Kametonou Togo West Africa



Togo Children diligently helping their mother do the laundry in the river.

There is a small river that creates the border between Ghana and Togo. On the Togo side these children are helping their mothers to do their laundry in the shallows of the river. It was if, they shrunk the children from adult to small size.

While the children are washing clothes, they are often trying to decide if they should go and bath with the major group of children. Fun to watch as they continually jump in and out of the water, trying to be small adults and finish the laundry, yet at the same time be children and go play in the water.

This seems to be a daily ritual, the water is a playground for the children, it is cool, shaded, and a very small set of rapids creates a pleasant place for the life of this village.

The next day the owner of the rooms we rented did my laundry for free, somewhat as a Cadeau to me. I am learning, if I am to get a Cadeau or gift in return, this type of Cadeau is going to be laundry, or something they can give that does not normally cost money.

I was delighted to have my laundry done by a person that can do this better than me, and also know they rinsed it well. Water is always short in supply as they need to carry it from the collection points. There is plenty of water in South Togo, yet the carrying of water make them sticky on the use. They washed my clothes in the stream, thus plenty of water and the rising cycle was done well.

The rip me off prices of laundry in West Africa demands, I normally do my laundry myself. Actually the best way to have you laundry done is to count all your clothes, remember the number, and pay some local to do them, not the hotels if you care about a budget.

Girls will volunteer to do my laundry.

Togo Children Photo