Togo Travel Stories, Page 4

20 Dollar Per Month Apartment in Togo West Africa


"Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day"

If you can do common sense math, it become obvious that when a person earns less than 100 dollars a month, they can only pay 20 Dollars per month for rent.

I wrote this when I was in Cinkasse, I have moved to Lome now.



I have recorded a video showing a 20 Dollars per month apartment in Togo, Africa.



I am presently living in a 20 U.S. Dollar per month apartment in Cinkasse, Togo in West Africa. I found a similar apartments in Cote d’Ivoire but was not able to record a video. This type of apartments is the normal way the world lives, the people in the USA are the abnormal world.

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Cinkasse, Togo West Africa --- Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Border of Burkina Faso and Ghana


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I wish I could reach down into a bag, I want to call the bag,
"True Understanding."

I can take this room and make it the same as at home in the USA, I have all I need and more. How we live, decorate the home has more to do with culture than money. What is important to me, is often not important to a Togolese person. For example, in the USA walking in the freezing snow to an outside toilet would be a problem, while in Tropical Togo it is nice to have this contraption outside the room.





Two large rooms and a porch.



The biggest advantage here is the community, there is no way to isolate yourself and become a hermit, you are part of something at all times.

Video below





Map to location of Cinkasse, Togo.

20 Dollar Per Month Apartment in Togo West Africa


Traveled to Atakpame Togo by La Poste Bus

I woke up yesterday at 4:30 am, rolled out of bed excited to leave Cinkasse, Togo. The bus was to leave at 6:00 am, it was a normal morning, I can hear the Islamic call to prayer, a constant reminder I am not in Kansas (Indiana) anymore. I take a dip shower; make the final push to pack all my clothes into the backpack.

I do not eat or drink much the day before a long bus trip. And I then went to the restroom twice in Cinkasse before leaving for the bus stop. There is no toilet on the bus; the best option is to squat along side the road in the bush with the whole bus admiring my white butt. I therefore do my best to remove this option, I suppose people need to ask themselves, how long can I go?



6:00 AM - The bus is scheduled to leave, the waiting bus driver decides to knock on the bus station door and wake up the man who needs to weigh our bags. There is no planning ahead, there is no way to leave on time, it is not possible when you do not start to prepare until it is time to leave. (This is a the hazard of leaving on Sunday, what did the man do Saturday night?)

I paid 700 CFA for my bag this time, it cost 200 in Lome, same bag, and nothing has change, but the cost.

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Atakpame, Togo West Africa --- Monday, November 22, 2010


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My Togo girlfriend says,
"Relax, do not think."

I should not look at clocks; there is zero reason to think to myself,
"The bus is leaving late."

No matter what I do, I take my USA brain with me, the habit of trying to be strict about time will probably never leave me. I know the end of the story here, the bus was scheduled to arrive in Atakpame at 3:15, it arrived at 6:30 pm, and it took 12 hours.





A large semi truck tipped over and blocked the two-lane road; we parked the bus and waited for something to happen.



Then an over-loaded truck hired a tow truck to pull it up the hill between Kante and Kara, and half way up the tow truck stops working. It blocks the road for another half hour, as people look, then look again and wait for something to happen.



This was funny, everyone got out of the bus to walk around, and while we were out of the bus, the driver suddenly finds a path. He drives the bus up the large hill while many fat passengers walk about one-half mile to catch up. Women have on flip-flop cloggy shoes that clatter, but nobody whines or whinges, as we go along, one of the drive ask the too fat women in front of me.
"fatigue?"

French for are you tired? Easy to understand the translation.

She says no, the man next to her smile and pretends to jog. I say,
"Desporte du Togo."
"The Sport of Togo,"
This gets everyone on the bus to laugh.

I was extremely grateful for the excellent air conditioning on the La Poste bus. There were many sweaty and stinking people entering the bus, and with the AC, the smell was minimized. This is truly a great reason for air conditioning on buses. I have been thinking to myself, this is year 2010, will the Togo La Poste bus company maintain the buses? If I come back in the three years, will the AC be broken, the windows broken?

I am 55 years old now, my body is starting show wear, what was easy to do 10 years ago has is becoming a question mark. The brain is the equalizer, I am an experienced traveler, and know many tricks of the trade to make my life simple. Africa is the biggest challenge.

I have mused for a couple of years about the book, "Dark Star Safari," by Paul Theroux. He was older when he made the trip from Egypt to South Africa. I have deliberated for a couple of years, I need to read the book again to know for sure, but I think he commissioned private taxis between cities when possible. I have been trying this trick, the negotiations requires I have better French. I remember a passage in the book that said something like, "The driver decided I was not paying enough and dropped me off where were."

A big bus does not just stop and give up, while a private taxi can have a change of mind.

I took a GPS reading, I am 416 Kilometers from Cinkasse, the average speed was 34 Kilometers per hour. This reminds me of the Philippines, a person needs to calculate to know just how slow they travel.

Traveled to Atakpame Togo by La Poste Bus


Air Conditioned Bus in Togo West Africa

There is now as of November of 2010 there is a "Climatizé Bus" that travels from Lome to Cinkasse at the Border of Burkina Faso daily.



AC --- AirCon --- Air Conditioned bus that is truly Air Con in 2010...

10,000 CFA or 20 Bucks from Lome to Cinkasse, and they will drop you off at many cities along the way, just go to any mail office, called "La Poste" in French. You will have to pay for your bags, they weigh them, but not much, the buses leave at 6:00 am in Lome and Cinkasse.
--- Lome - Atakapame - Sokode - Kara - Mango - Dapaong - Cinkasse ---

This old guy studied English in Arizona; I was trying to politely explain I was talking a photo. He did not quite understand so he is included… hehehe.

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Cinkasse, Togo West Africa --- Saturday, November 20, 2010
Border of Burkina Faso and Ghana


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For all of you that have scrunch into a Peugeot Station Wagon in Togo where the driver is more than willing to put 5-6 people in each seating area know this is great.



I am leaving Cinkasse tomorrow morning, I paid 7700 CFA to go to Atakapame, and I will take normal collective taxis to Kpalime. Hang around with old friends, then hopefully cross the border there and slowly move across Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire. I am looking forward to stopping in Ho, Ghana to see what is up, and I am hoping there is a functional border close to Kpalime, Togo.

Air Conditioned Bus in Togo West Africa


Wide White Women Wanted in Africa

There truly is a man for every woman, and a woman for every man.



Is your sister or friend not competing well in the USA?

Send her to Africa, where she is wanted.

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Cinkasse, Togo West Africa --- Saturday, November 20, 2010
Border of Burkina Faso and Ghana


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Send her to Africa

Why?
1. Africa considers fat as a sign of being rich.
2. African girls are already chubby; it is the choice of girls wanted.
3. White girls means "Passport," they can optimize their chances.
4. White girl means "Money," if she is willing to pay for the date, she has it.
5. They will marry her before they ever realize they got the ugly duckling.



I wish I was joking, but when I look around in Africa, it is obvious that many wide white women are enjoying Africa. This is truly heaven for a certain type of women.

Wide White Women Wanted in Africa


I Know I will Adjust to the Climate

"Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get."
It takes roughly two weeks to adjust to a new climate, about the length of time of a vacation, just when you start to relax, you leave.



Climate Map of my present location in Cinkasse, Togo, West Africa.

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Cinkasse, Togo West Africa --- Friday, November 19, 2010
Border of Burkina Faso and Ghana


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Weather:
Weather is a short term, a localized situation that last less than two weeks.

Climate:
Climate encompasses temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, and atmospheric particle count. There are a number of nearly constant variables that determine climate, including latitude, altitude, proportion of land to water, and proximity to oceans and mountains.



Latitude, Longitude and Altitude
We at HoboTraveler.com have been collecting the latitude and longitude, and altitude of each of my locations. This data is specialized in nature, and allows astute readers to better access a destination.

If you reviewed your world travels, you maybe be able to remember the times when you was happy and comfortable. Then if you discovered the climate conditions, with special care to know the altitude you could find similar locations for you next vacation. I enjoy tropical locations that are about 1500 meters above sea level.

The first two weeks of a trip can be enjoyable; you do not need to sit around pretending to be happy, you can actually be happy. However, to truly enjoy travel, there is a wonderful bubble of time between two weeks and 12 weeks when a location is great. I call this "Social Norms Purgatory."

I am in an area that is 95-98 percent Islamic, I would say the social climate is like living with a preacher, sort of always the preachers kid.

I Know I will Adjust to the Climate


People Need to Read to Worship God

I am in a small village by the name of Cinkasse, Togo; it is located right on the border of Burkina Faso and about 15 kilometers from Ghana. As a person travels, North from the coast of West Africa towards the Sahara the religion turns from Christen to Islamic.



Location of Cinkasse in Togo, West Africa

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Cinkasse, Togo West Africa --- Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Border of Burkina Faso and Ghana


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As I was writing this, I happened upon an e-mail sent by Mother today, it says,
"Hey Andy, We wish you would let some of that World out from between your ears and put it in a blog with a fascinating picture or two. love prayers mom dad."

My Writing Dilemma
I am sure a few of the readers of this Blog can feel my sense of confusion, delusion and apathy with writing recently, maybe this observation of West Africa can explain.





Christen Church
I went to a Christen Church here in Cinkasse last Sunday, quite by accident, I truly had no sufficient excuse to avoid, and therefore I accepted the invitation and went. The Church had this interesting rule that men sit on the right and women on the left.

I asked myself,
"Why, where did this rule come from?"

Tobaski Musselman Religious Holiday
Cinkasse is a village that is 95-98 percent Islamic, and for the last two days they have been celebrating Abraham obeying Gods command to sacrifice his son Ishmael, then at the last moment stopped.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Adha

Therefore, to understand, I went to the page above and read 12 guidelines of Tobaski, and this is the simple version.

1. Wake up early (before sunrise).
2. Make wudu (ablution) and offer Salat al-Fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer).
3. Prepare for personal cleanliness - take care of details of clothing, etc.
4. Take a Ghusl (bath) after Fajr prayer.
5. Brush teeth (preferably with a miswak, or tooth-stick).
6. Dress up, putting on new or best clothes available (White, when available, is optimal).
7. Apply (alcohol free) perfume (attar) (men only).
8. It is Sunnah not to eat anything before going to Eid prayers. Contrast with Eid ul-Fitr when eating dates is recommended. The sacrifice must be done after Eid prayers to be accepted as sacrifice.
9. Go to the prayer grounds (known as an 'Eidgah') early.
10. Offer Salat al-Eid (the congregational Eid prayer) in an open place, weather permitting, or in mosque.
11. Use two separate routes when traveling to and from the Eid prayer location.
12. Recite the following Takbir which starts at Maghrib (sunset) … etc.

I saw a man walking during he holiday with black clothing and instantly I thought of the rules above. I am not sure I understand why God stopped Abraham from doing what he told him to do, this just does not feel to be omniscient and omnipotent.



Slave of God
I met the man and two girls on the bus from Lome to Cinkasse, the mans name is Abdoulaye and he says, "Abdou" means "Slave," therefore he is a Slave to God. The other two girls are dancers and his is the manager, but another long story.

Abdoulaye said,
"The answer to terrorism is education."

Well, it appears to me Religions need literate people, on the other hand, the more they read, the less they believe. It is easier to get believer from people who cannot read, than from highly educated and well read people. The more a person reads, the more confused they are, and if they read all the rules above, they would feel guilty when they did not obey. If they do not read the rules, than they are ok, they are just unaware and in peace.

This is writing to me, is there a benefit to writing, I cannot just say to myself that having people read what I write is beneficial to their life. I go around and around in my head searching for meaning, and is it ethical to explain my confusion, does this make people happier?

I am quite positive, there is no need to read to worship God, in fact, I believe the higher the literacy rate the less people understand a God, good or bad. However, the true problem is this, the more we can read the rules, the more guilt we have, life is no longer simple.

Therefore, in reality, writing makes the life of readers more complicated, and I am not sure this is a benefit to humanity, maybe a hindrance. If I dumb it down to the point of absolute clarity, then there is no reason to write. Should I look at readers as smart or dumb? I must continuously suspend judgment on their aptitudes and this is boring.

People Need to Read to Worship God


Enter Togo November 6, 2010

Enter Togo November 6, 2010
I decided I was too close to Togo to not visit; I have been in Togo two times before and decided I should return to visit my friends.



This statue is in the courtyard area in front of my seven Dollar room here in Lome, Togo. There must be a reason why so many artists make statues sensual.

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Lome, Togo West Africa --- Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Border of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana


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Map showing Lome, Togo in West Africa.



Map showing the location of Togo in Africa.



Where I am presently living in Lome, I will head North on Friday to Atakpame, then Kara, then Dapang, then Cinkasse.



This is the patio area in front of my room. I recommend you never come to West Africa, the place is horrible, this place is reserved for only me, and nobody else is needed.

Van from Ivory Coast to Aflao
I took a direct "Ford" van from the Elubo side of the Ghana / Ivory Coast border. Noe is on the Cote d’Ivoire side, and Elubo is on the Ghana side. It was supposed to take 8 hours more or less to travel to Aflao direct in an air-conditioned Ghana Van. Well, the van did not have AC; we got stopped at a Ghana Border Checkpoint for three hours. They said the driver was drunk and two Togo boys did not have passports. They finally let us proceed after they all paid a bribe.

Then the van got to Accra just as the sun went down, proceed to stop working. I jumped out, snagged another Tro Tro Van to Accra, and changed vans and went to Aflao at the border and arrived at midnight. What started as an 8 hour trip, turned into an 18 hour trip. I like Ghana, but mainly because I can speak English easier.

Enter Togo November 6, 2010


2007 August 17 Leave Togo Enter Ghana

2007 August 17 Leave Togo Enter Ghana
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Wednesday, August 14, 2007

Travel Marker

I left Lome, Togo around 8:30 am and arrived in Accra, around 3:30 pm, about four hour more than I anticipated. The 15 Passenger Normal size van called a Tro Tro cost 39-41,000 Ghana CEDI or about 5.50 US Dollars.

The money was very confusing, because there is a mixture of new and old, and easy to get confused. I changed only about 40 US as I am told I can change easily in Accra.

2007 August 17 Leave Togo Enter Ghana