Hired A Fixer in Togo
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I had a very long conversation in Kpalime, Togo today with my Ghana friend Michael.
I learned about traveling jewelry sales people in Mexico, then I purchased silver in Taxco, Mexico and tried to sell the silver in the streets of Panajachel, Guatemala myself to earn money. I did not do well at selling silver, however I learned about these nomadic sales people, how they survive, and how they earn money and where they sleep.
Talked with a man riding a Motorcycle from the USA to Argentina and he spoke of about how to learn where the cheap hotels are from the street vendors, and in Cusco, Peru I confirmed this by accident by following a exceptionally attractive girl Vendor back to her room. She lived in a cheap hotel room, and at the bottom of the price ranges.
I do not need a translator, I think the best name for what I would like is a fixer, on occasions to help. I do use them, but with great care, and they can be very dangerous.
I am not clear in my mind, where I derived this name, however maybe because they are fixer uppers.
Normally and generally, this type of person should be kept at two car lengths away and never invited into your home.
As you exit hotels on the planet, you may have a taxi driver, or a man who speaks your language or multiple languages trying to hook you into a conversation. They have an agenda, they wish to sell you something, or something or maybe fix you up with something. The want to help you…NOT.
According to the country, however, here in Africa the ones hanging around will often try to fix me or you up with women. I guess and I think this is why I say fixers. However, there is also a more beneficial level, and I normally try to find a fixer that is a taxi driver, almost NEVER the one standing in front of the hotel, they are normally the worst type of people on the planet.
I need a Visa to Togo, I walked out in front of the Galion, talked with the Bodyguard of the Frenchie owner, and he got me to the Visa office by paying too much for a taxi and paying him a Cadeau.
He fixed my problems.
About anything you want these fixers will find.
Ok, I met Michael by accident, however he can be also a fixer and feels that his job with the White People is to help them, and in return, he is given the right to be our friends. He does this for friendship and has this acute desire to learn about the world outside of Africa. Very different.
I first started paying attention to him when he said,
- I listen to BBC. -
I think, did I say, I watch BBC?
No, where did that lead in come from, I do not find many African people that either read the newspapers or watch the News. I also almost never talk to a traveling salesperson who is from ONE country and traveling in an ANOTHER country who reads, learns, or is interested in expansion of their brains. Money they are interested in, brains is not.
I want a fixer, I do not want a translator, and I do not want anybody in between me and the Africa or Togo people. I see there is an advantage to having my friend Michael comes along for a week to a month. I am going to give him 6000 CFA per day, and this will pay for his room and board and transportation.
6000 CFA is 12 U.S. Dollars per day.
The goal or idea is this; I think a backpacker should be able to travel in Togo, West Africa and most of Africa for less than 12 dollars US per day, providing they do not drink their lunches and dinners.
I asked Michael,
- How much do you spend per day on living expenses? -
- About 2000 CFA. -
Ok, then I said,
- If you had 2000 for food and drink, and 3000 for a room and 1000 for transportation would this be good. -
He said, with a big smile.
- Very -
6000 CFA and he travels along and we find rooms for 3000 or less, and live for about 12 dollars or what I would say is a reasonable amount of Hobo money per day in West Africa and about the same or a little more than in Asia or South America.
The cities that need fixed are between the big cities, I think in any big city in Africa I now can find some cheaper rooms, but to get from 5000 down to 3000 is going to need fixed.
Between the bigger cities, Kpalime and Atakpame there is a stretch of good cultural fun for me, but I am not sure how to find small hotels. I need to fix this; the guidebooks sort of skip over the smaller cities and stay in the loop. I want to get out of the box, and go see the countryside. A bike would work, but still the lodging is needed, and the searches on the internet are perplexingly bleak.
I can get in a Peugeot Station Wagon with Mike, and we can find a Hotel quicker. I have to talk and ask, and talk and ask, and think and suddenly just jump out of a car with no clue whether there is even an Auberge in the city. Mike can fix this and speed it up, the conversations are not complicated, but the Mina, French, English is a mess.
I can also do some research and get the inside story on SIDA or AIDS and whatever these ONG-NGO are up to.
Research, research and getting 20 percent closer to understanding the real answers and not the answers they give me is also a goal.
What is the real reason?
Most people who fix problems really do not fix problems, they tend to complicate my life and make life expensive. I do not see as having a girl to travel with me as a solution, as seems to be common here, although a big temptation. I do not like to share my room, I want to have my room, and Michael will have his room. In the Philippines I talk about the girls in tow, this is also a fixer; the girl’s runs around and makes the guy happy.
Anytime you are traveling and there is a hanger around, this to me is the solution to a person who feels they need a fixer. I do not want a fixer, but, two goals, the cheap rooms, and the delving into a potentially dangerous set of questions, and Michael can help. I am not clear why yet…but my instincts say he can.
Asking around in a Hospital how many people has AIDS or SIDA is dangerous, trying to find the real truth is dangerous. I believe some NGO-ONG are sucking big cash, I believe the government, leaders, and anyone of power is sucking the good will of the worlds cash and putting in their pocket. For me to ask questions will make them afraid and too many questions is not a good idea in any place. The are stashing and using the world cash, and they will protect their cash flows from the outside world understanding.
A roundabout way to learn the truth, is to go the Mina path, talking in Mina and not French, we can talk to non-interested persons and find the better realities. Anyone that only talks Mina is probably a better source of truth.
We are going to leave on Friday for the north, I expect to go about 30 Kilometers in each jump and is not much, but this is a very small country.
Note, if you want to find the cheapest room, talk to a person that is a SELF-employed traveling sales person. Michael came from Ghana, and is selling clothes to girls here in Kpalime, I guess he was also selling Diamonds to Lebanese people before one took them and disappeared.
12 U.S. Dollars seems like nothing and easy, however the average person wound here is making about 2-4 US Dollars per day, and this is very good money, for getting paid to go on vacation.
Hired A Fixer in Togo
What Age am I In
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The attempt I made yesterday to document the step-by-step process whereby a Cacao Fruit or Seed is transformed from into Chocolate made me afraid.
I am afraid I will never know, never have all my questions answered.
No, my fear is that I will forget, I will not be able to remember the Cacao, I will forget where I am, because I cannot see the woods for all the trees.
I wrote Eric about an idea, and he wrote back saying,
- Now, let me see if I can get my mind around this? -
No, his exact word and quote from the email was,
- Trying to wrap my head around this one... -
I did a ctrl F or a Control Find, or continue to simplify, I did a search in my emails for the set of words - around this - and found the correct quote by Eric whereby, I can be accurate.
I use the - or Minus Mark because the quotation marks create a conflict in the computer language that make internet web pages, and the internet has not resolved the problem globally.
Because of Quotation Marks, and Language differences, this is what I saw when I received this post to moderate in my email box.
This is just the STUB, this is just a too short explanation, I cannot even start to explain myself, it is too confusing.
I am afraid I will forget what I have learned.
I am afraid I not be able to find again the data, photo, information or the writings I have collected or created.
Science is organized knowledge.
- Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903)
When dealing with an assortment of facts or observations, the natural tendency of the human mind is to dichotomise.
- Anthony Stevens (1933 - ) British psychiatrist.
WHAT AGE AM I IN?
History says or explains life in terms of dynasties, epic, age of period. There is probably a name for this, a science that explains the classification of history.
1. Age of Exploration
2. Dark Ages
4. 1650 - 1800 The Enlightenment
5. Industrial Revolution
These are example of word that were used or coined to explain a period of history.
Where am I now? What time am I in, do I need to travel to the future, to look back to know how historians will learn to define the age I am in, or will they have so many labels it will not matter.
I need to get my head around this.
The Age of the Stub
a short article in need of expansion.
A short idea, in need of explanation.
In a way, we are in the age of the stub, this is defined and used by the internet public made, made by the readers of the Encyclopedia called Wikipedia.org, Wiki meaning quick in Hawaii terms. (A stub)
A Wikipedia stub is a short article in need of expansion.
STUB: A short article in need of explanation.
We are in an age where we have started a stub, we have maybe 1 percent, less than one percent created some small methods to explain the knowledge of the universe.
Einstein and other scientist try to explain how atoms relate, associate and are not relate, how they attract, react or are repelled from each other.
The globalization of knowledge.
- Trying to wrap my head around this one... -
This is an age where people are trying to wrap there heads around this one, and most have left the battle, they have accepted and said, I just do not care, there is too much, everything is overwhelming. I give up.
I sense and hear a drift of the curious, there is this idea, yes Andy, I wish to also travel nomadically to see the planet, to find what treasure are offered to my desire for knowledge. Then I feel, I know, they are saying to me,
- I am addicted to the information I can learn on the internet. -
- I cannot leave my computer that long. -
They are addicted to the satisfaction of finding answers to their questions. In the end, they cannot travel nomadically, they must travel in areas that offer them high-speed internet connections.
It is sad to say, but this is like a razors edge path, this high-speed connection is truly only available when you stop traveling and find a home, purchase the connection and create the connection you want.
The connection exist, it is Satellite, and would cost me 50,400 U.S. Dollars per month to have unlimited internet connection anywhere and maybe anywhere on the planet.
The Age of Addiction to the search for answers, to small questions, to knowledge.
Stepping out of the box, then how can I find a way to communicate with the box?
We or I or me, I want to step out of the box, yet have all the toys in the box to play with.
I am afraid I will forget, I will not be able to retrieve the small information I collect, I will not be able to explain myself.
My life is a stub.
I gave the graphic example of what happens when I use the quotation marks; I could go and write a book about what happens and why I continually use this method of quoting something.
- The internet has not YET adapted to my travels -
Unless I devote myself to the solution to one silly small problem.
This is a stub on the explanation of quotes on my blog, where do I start, where do I end in my explanations. Do I start this as a stub, and then hope the pubic will continue to explain in a wiki world, and opens source planet. Wiki people or in the land of the stub they agree to agree. In the land of Cancer study, in the world of science, they are afraid to share; they all are fighting to be the first to publish, to be the first to know and explain, somewhere science will become wiki.
Less than 1 percent is explained, all life is a stub.
What did I forget, while I was typing this, what did I miss, when I was dong this, maybe it is the age of acceptance, I will not get my head around the world of knowledge, and one day I will die, I continual to be grateful and confirm to myself,
- Life is Good -
Moreover, in the world of stubs.
- La Vie est Belle -
The world is a good place, do not believe what they say, I have seen a very small portion of the planet, I have seen the stub, and the life is good.
I am on a GPRS internet connection with my cell phone. It is a person who is addicted to the internet worst nightmare, the world’s slowest connection. I am having trouble publishing the photo to the funky letter examples, I will have to remember and continue this post later, there is no instant gratification the world is a life of sublimation. I am afraid I will forget what I am doing, and unlimited amount of stubs started and none will be finished, you will really know me for who I am, I never finish what I start. My mother is still waiting for me to stop, she knows me, I start many things and never finish them, to me life is a stub, to her she knows, finish what you start. I just want to have enough money to be endlessly curious, and work on my stubs.
My world needs an editor, that does not edit, that know before I do, what I really mean, and does not change the tone… dreams. How can a person edit, what I am not even sure I mean, because it is a stub.
Life is like that graphic above, it is not clear, upon accepting this and maybe then I can see the big picture, or the woods that is hidden because of all the trees.
People have trouble writing one blog post, I have trouble knowing when to start and when to stop. I normally stop when I get hungry.
What Age am I In
Failed to See Cacao
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I believe 80 percent that Cacao is not on the trees and they are not harvesting any at this time, and 20 percent maybe they are harvesting somewhere. I still do not know, after one day of trying to know.
Quoting myself from this link:
- Any way you do it you pay, the luck is to accidentally take a tour, and not even be on a tour. If I happened upon the Cacao, it would be nicer and easier and I would have less temptation to club people on the head. -
Richard Trillo said...
Hi Andy, sounds a bit complicated. Couldn't you just rent a bicycle or moto and go a couple of miles out of town to the nearest cacao plantation?
(SEO wise, that is not good. ... hehehe)
This BLOG is the problem!
- I have about a 90 percent chance, assuming there is Cacao there today. I can get the last with the number 3 below. -
The blog is the problem, we have 20/20 hindsight, and if I go and document something and it works, and come back and report, then there is not a problem. However, if I talk about the future and it does not work, then crash and burn as they say in the movie Top Gun. I like to tell and explain how I feel think and how I make decisions, this is the Art of Travel, and not explaining what worked and shows the photos.
The luck is to accidentally take an Agro-Tourism Tour. I accidentally went on a Palm Oil tour.
Palm Oil Tour
I now have 106 photos of Palm Oil being made, from what they call a Palm Nut, and there is two type of oil and maybe three made. The 106 photos include the break to take pictures of a girl with an attitude that came into the game.
Photo taken in the Red Nut processing area of Palm Oil - One of Three Areas.
Photo of foods are a pain, this is why I am explaining in a very complicated fashion. Easier to just take a couple of photos and say, I saw some Cacao, and in if you do not make a plan then it looks like you knew what you was doing, I never know, until I am done.
I often think, walking across the world and I would see the world. When I am in one of the Peugeot Station wagons, I can or man now call a Kittle Car thanks to a Ghana pronunciation of Cattle, it become very complicated to get them to stop and see the Cacao Plantation, I need to say,
- Please crazy driver, drop me off in the middle of nowhere here, so I can go and see the Cacao Plantation. -
Richard said correctly, to rent a bike or moto and go see a Plantation outside of town. I do not know about the bike, if he meant a bicycle, which could take more work than I am willing to do, I would rather walk and take a moto back, when I do not find a plantation.
Step one of my three part self-constructed tour was aborted before it stared. I found out that we was NOT taking a 300 CFA Moto Trip, we was getting in a car and going the distance of 300 CFA. A car for 300 CFA is a good distance, on a Moto not so far.
Well, to get a car that can hold 3 people is an act of God, being that I am not God, I am not going to search for a Car and pay white man fees. Finding three Motorcycle taxis is easy. The volunteer guide for the Cacao, the manager of the Mandela came late and wanted to wait for this and wait for that, long story, but I said,
- I will give you 5000 CFA, however we are not waiting. Goodbye. -
Therefore, the first option failed.
Second choice was to go and have Michael talk a person on a Moto and take us to a Cacao Plantation, more or less the recommendation of Richard, but with a Ghana English speaking a little, and Mina translator. Michael has a friend he lives with that is working in his home on some clothes Mike makes. We go a long way to Mike house, not towards the Cacao, walk a long way, and look at the Cacao trees. I say to Mike this is not the process of Harvesting Cacao.
When we first mentioned this, he was bound and determined to take me across the Ghana border illegally and show me where they process Cacao into something. Now, I get to look at a Cacao tree, with no Fruit as they call it. This is just a tree, not the process of making Chocolate.
I have a man on the Meter walking through the brush, it cost me 1000 CFA to see a tree that does not have the Cacao fruit on it and does not show anything but a tree that looks like Frog but is a Toad to me, all the same to me in a way.
I start to get more specific with Michael, I want to see some trees with the Cacao fruit on it, and people puling the fruit off the tree, putting in a basket, and taking to some bigger container and doing what they do, being that I have never seen, I am guessing.
I had about three days of conversation with the manager, and he assured me, I could see the Cacao being harvested or in the process. I know, I can go to the market and find some Cacao fruit for sale. I am not worried about the seeing, I can see one, and I can get on my own pages and see photos of Cacao.
The process of harvesting Cacao, with Michael and the Manager of the Mandela, I was continually assure we was going to see the step-by-step process. I pantomimed, I explained, in French, Michael sat for one-half hours talking with me in English and then talking in Mina to the manager.
I get to see one tree, I did not club them, but I wanted too.
One taxi driver, about the fifth set told Michael about a Cacao Farm, we went to this farm, I see no Cacao Fruit, my camera is full now, from the Palm Oil spontaneous tour photos and I have no space to take photos of anything else. However, I do NOT see Cacao fruit, just a lot of trees that look like trees.
I went on a planned tour to learn and document the plant called Cacao, the fruit from a tree that is utilized to make Chocolate, and came home knowing every step and completely understanding the process of making Palm Oil with 106 photos that include a girl.
Photos of Black Nut processing area, 2 of 3 areas we visited to see the Palm Oil. The cook the paste and the oil rise to the top. There are two type of oil, from the husk part of the red palm nut and then the actual nut inside.
Photo in the nut cleaning area, 3 of 3 areas of visited to see them doing a process to make two or three type of palm oil. I think I should say in the separation of the nut from the shell area, as they put sand in the water, the nut comes to the top and the shells go to the bottom. Michael said washing, on hindsight this is a separation process.
This is the girl with an attitude that came to visit at the end in the washing phase of the nut process.
I went to find Chocolate and I got Palm Oil. In Thailand they would say, same same, but different. I am saying, the Africa Almost, almost what I wanted, but not really. I wanted to see a systematic process of the making of Chocolate; instead, I got the 106 photos including the girl with an attitude and a very good education about the process of making Palm Oil. I will send all those photos and you can see all the photos when I send a newsletter, not that I have been good at that lately.
This tour turned out great, and if I had not said, I am going to go and take photos of Cacao. I would be able to show you a great set of photos explaining in great detail the step-by-step process of making palm oil. I could pretend I went on a trip to discover this, I did well and I took all the photos. The truth is and I will say this again, travel is about answering questions you did not know you should ask.
I hope to put up an explanation on the making of palm oil here, but then again, who knows, this is almost Africa, and I almost want to write a book, but not really. It could take up to five hours to explain what I saw today about Palm Oil, not Cacao.
I am always glad I do not tell the whole stories of Afria, I think about this, but there are so many small soap operas in the day how could I write them as fast as they happened. I learned today, Cadeau could mean, a tip, and better thought of a Tip for some service, but really a tip for no service. I am learning about the Cadeau, I think.
I should learn to not look foolish and tell stories in real time. I am often annoyed at blogger, thinking you just have a fancy way to write, nothing to do about real life, it is not a log of your trip, just a complicated to make a webpage because the not not want to learn to make a webpage.
I have the GPS locations of the three areas of Palm oil making.
Failed to See Cacao
300 AD Bananas in Africa
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Monday, April 9, 2007
Nothing more interesting than to take a stereotype and discover it is couched in time, Bananas do not orinally come from Africa.
I was reading in my Encyclopedia and I discovered about the introduction of Bananas to Africa in about 300 AD.
Austronesian mariners introduce bananas to Madagascar and sub-Saharan Africa, thus making additional food supplies available and setting the stage for population growth. (2)
Austronesian I guess means the area of Malaysia, Southeast Asia, and mariners means sailors. They are trying to say that people on boats came from the Southeast Asia area of the world and showed a part of Africa how to grow bananas. Which is now one of the cheap, common staple foods of Africa.
300 AD Bananas in Africa
Dollar my way to Cacao
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Actually, it is CFA the money of Togo that I will use, but I am going to pay my way to see Cacao, the basic seed of Chocolate.
This sound or seems like big money to people, and it is huge, it is big money and annoying. However, in the perspective of an American or European a person would see me as complaining about nothing.
This is a fact more or less, the average worker here in Togo gets about 1-2 dollars per day as wages.
I am going to pay.
10 dollars for the person who may show us the Cacao and introduce us to his father who probably does not speak French but the local dominant language of Mina.
I am going to pay 50 cents USA, for three people to go one way by Moto to the Cacao fields. However, to insure guarantee we see Cacao. I am going to pay maybe 7-10 US dollar per motorcycle taxi for Michael and me each to rent the use of the moto taxi for the day. I suspect as soon as we go faster than 15 miles per hour, they will think, I am using lots of petrol, I need money for petrol and I will end up giving 2 dollars for the gas, which was included in the price.
I will pay two dollars for the transportation of our semi-guide who is the manager of the Mandela Auberge to introduce us to his father who is the Cacao farmer. I will pay him the 10 dollars guide fee and I think the two dollars for Moto is included.
I pay this whether we see Cacao or not, because when he thinks about Cacao, whether I see Cacao is not important, the fact is he thought about it, therefore he wants the money. Normal underdeveloped country way of thinking, I intended to show you Cacao, so you owe me. I have hedge my bets on Cacao by choosing the manager of the Auberge as he need to return and tell the people around we have seen Cacao. I will tell everyone in the hotel that we are going to see Cacao and reinforce the commitment.
This is why I say dollar my way through, I can pay for this two way, if it was a normal type of tour. I could pay a guide about 100 US dollars and are totally raked over the coal and he will include everything, and I will pay about 500 percent more than needed. I cannot guarantee if I paid 100 dollars that, I see Cacao.
This is the problem about tours, no matter what you pay, you cannot get the guides to guaranteed or do back up that I will see what I want to see. I want to see Cacao today.
I rent a motorcycle today, if our guide fails. I will make Mike the guide and he will go talk to people in Mina and find a Cacao farmer. I will then pay the farmer about 2000 CFA or four dollars and he will be happy as can be because looking at Cacao is free, and he is receiving money for nothing, and so is talking, because everyone knows about Cacao, so he is telling common knowledge and of no value. Even though I do not know and is not common knowledge to me.
I would say the world is empathy impaired, and the big complaint the world has about the USA on world policy. However, our policy is correct, and the world is empathy impaired. Neither side is good at empathy of the perspective of the other.
Ok, if I go and the 5000 Guide fails.
I go to Mike and we find anther field.
I pay and extra 15 US for taxi we do not need if the first guide would work, so I am paying this insurance money, to guaranteed Mike and I can go to the next Cacao farmer when the first guide fail, it he fails.
If the world was perfect and I thought or dream for one second that this would work as told to me the cost would be.
16 U.S. Dollar for the day.
Being, I am experienced, and I am going to take photos of Cacao today.
I am paying about
35-40 U.S. Dollars to guarantee.
This number can go up to 50 U.S. after that, I start to intimidate to get my way, because they trying to bully me, and I need to return the gesture. It could be the guide, I do not think, but could be, the two taxi drivers will become the problem and gang up on us, or Mike. I do not expect Mike or the manager of the Auberge to be a problem. I always expect a Moto to think in terms of greed, they are taxis?
A White Man sits on a moto for two hours, the longer I sit, the longer they think, they start having a conversation with themselves. I did not ask enough, and start to wanting to get me and to pay more. The start to rationalize I need to pay more. I do not pay until I am home… hehehe
No pay in advance here, unless I am stupid, I pay for small cost, like petrol or food or something stupid as it is required they have full bellies and no excuses not to leave.
Therefore, I am getting a private tour for Michael, and me and we have complete control over the tour. Michael is a translator. I do not want a translator, I want a person that will clarify my wishes to the taxi drivers, and help to clarify.
Translators impede learning as they ask questions I did not ask, interpret and explain what they do now know as to sound smart. Mike does this a little, about 20 percent, while the normal translator is about 90 percent inaccurate in their interpretations of the story.
This is the cultural kicker of guides and translators that I have grown accustom to and have accepted they must feel they are smart; they will fill in the blank to appear smart. The art then become in me asking good questions, and trying to get the translator to literally ask and say words they do not understand, or cannot see the implications.
Translators do not seem to translate what they do not understand.
The best translator here would be a person who speaks English very well and is the owner of a Chocolate processing factory. It would be a dream, and I hope the methods of National Geographic or Science or the BBC.
The truth is as I feel it; I see most camera operators and researchers filling in the gaps, the same as the translator. The return home and discover, they have forgotten information. (They write me and this is good, better than forging.)
I would say, there are three ways to pay for a tour.
1. All inclusive and pay a fortune and hope you see what you wish to see. This is will work for Hippos and normal tours, about an 80 percent chance of goal accomplishment.
2. Do the self-constructed tour. Note you must really have two to three guides and control the transportation, and have the option to change transportation. I have about a 90 percent chance, assuming there is Cacao there today. I can get the last with the number 3 below.
3. Get a person who is on the daily take and pay him or her to take you to look for three days for Cacao. This will work, is annoying slow, and you learn to hate the culture and the total irresponsible nature. However, normally the person that does this is also - Ineffective - and irresponsible and really do not see or know he or she is this way, they cannot empathize of compare themselves to effective people because they actually believe they are smart and effective.
100 percent chance on three if there is Cacao and an experience for sure, are you experienced?
Fun and Games in Togo…
I stay focused, I expect to say, Cacao about 50 times per hour today and keep that ringing in the ears of the taxi, guide, and Michael. I suppose you could also say,
- I will annoy my way through -
As well as,
- Dollar my way through. -
I hope to avoid the,
- Bully my way through method. -
And for sure, I want to avoid the,
- One-day tour taking three days through method. -
Any way you do it you pay, the luck is to accidentally take a tour, and not even be on a tour. If I happened upon the Cacao, it would be nicer and easier and I would have less temptation to club people on the head.
Note when a BBC crew, or CNN crew come in for one day, I highly doubt they can get the job done. There are many questions that take days to surmise, I am here in Cacao country, it has taken three weeks to get to the day, this is the extra time and patience I am willing to pay, plus, I am endlessly curious and can understand farming.
I believe some very good documentaries are made. I think some prime time explanations of news stories are manufactured and staged. If is it provocative, exciting and on prime time news, a big report, then maybe manufactured. If slow, monotonous and racked full of slow moments, then probably trying to be accurate. To explain all the periphery of the Cacao and the experience is a book writing detail collecting large task.
Everything I do today is very controlling, manipulative and pre-meditated to get my way for the good of all. I PAY.
If I for one second let down my guard, they will be the ones who manipulate me. The world is take or be taken. I give fair money, I do not take and not pay, as I see most people on the planet do not see getting paid for something included, but not given as a problem. He has more money than me is the song sang by the takers, nobody has a problem with stealing from Bill Gates.
The more they profess God, the more I know I will pay, I like just plain greed, easier to avoid the juicy rationalizations and get what I pay for, or to dollar my way to Cacao.
Time with enough time all is possible, and a good God provides us with Cacao to view and it is the proper time of the year. This is included in the price, they say it is there…
A person has to be generous, fair minded, and with a big stick, and the bull ape.
- Dorothy, you are not in Kansas anymore. -
- The Wizard of Oz. -
Dollar my way to Cacao
Togo Africa Frogs
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Monday, April 9, 2007
I was working my way through the central market, I stopped to quiz a girl, is that citron, the lemon juice I like. I get an answer of Coca Cola.
I hear this bullfrog noise, so I think why not go look at the river ditch an and see what is up. I find a mess of Frogs making Tadpole and this one bloater making noise.
This is one of them National Geographic Photo moments, therefore I am thinking. I will give my finger a lick, hold it up, and check the wind. Has nothing to do with the Photo, however, I had this fleeting moment thoughts about F-stops, and shade, and letting it develop longer. I was saying to myself, I really should learn to do all the adjustment tricks.
There was a mix of shade and sunny spots, instead of fancy camera work, I timed it when they swam to a good spot, except for the bloater, Mr. He, or Mr She did not move, kept bloating. He was acting like the bull ape of frogs.
Photos of the ditch, river, stream that runs through the market. There was a heavy rain yesterday and the water came roaring through this ditch, cleaning the ditch and was exciting, as the water was at flood stage for about 10 minutes.
These frog were making tadpoles, I would guess there was about 20-30 couples in the middle of the day, in the middle of the central market of Kpalime, doing it.
I am learning continually how to take better photos. So far, I have not learned to do adjustment to the camera end, I do the adjustment to me, choosing the angles, the light and the timing and the shot. Nothing a 2000 Dollar Pro camera could not fix, or a graphic program. Note, I do not touch photos, except sometimes to label. You are getting what I see or saw.
I think this frog is almost the same as Indiana frogs, sorry not the stereotype of Africa.
Togo Africa Frogs
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Monday, April 9, 2007
I search in a city for small quirks, habits or the usual and common that when grouped, categorized and realized are Idiosyncrasies of the City you are in.
I have exhausted all my small needs; there are these small needs, wants, and miscellaneous excuses to stay in a city.
I am trying to think, I know the way I travel is close to 80 percent different from the majority of travelers, backpackers or tourist on the planet.
The normal person touring a continent make this checklist as they read the guidebook, I want to see this, I want to see that, and the ones who travel like travel is a business write them all down. The others may underline or mark with a yellow highlighter the important places to visit.
I have never been a good tourist, and will continue to not be a good tourist, I do not like to go and look at tourist attractions. However, I love to look at what is of interest to me. This is where I differ from the other 80 percent, if it is mentioned in the Guidebook, I do consider going and looking, yet being listed in the guidebook is not a reason to go and visit. I try to find what I am would say is interesting and not rely on another person.
I keep thinking and returning to a quote in my mind in the book Timeline by Michael Crichton, which I just read a week ago again.
"If you don't know history, you don't know anything."
EDWARD JOHNSTON, 1990
In the book, these University Archeology students are working in France, digging up, restoring, and a Castle, Monastery, Grain Mill from the year 1347.
Yes, I have discovered my inner thought, the true search here, I knew I was searching for an answer. The book Timeline is about time, it is about a line of time, the continuous flow of time and the changes that occur over time. There are ages, dates, specific actions that happened in time that are on a continuum.
Michael Crichton has this intuitive style of writing that in the book explains the underlying truths or reality, not fantasy.
I could take Kpalime, Togo and if I took the time, I could show from Artifact and may carbon dating the times when the city had it first concrete building, when the German, French or British, and I suppose also possible the Portuguese or Dutch were here. There is a history here, which could be marked on a timeline.
When I enter a city, there are clues to the city to discover. I will explain Kpalime, not the type of writing I prefer to do, because it would take hours for me to properly explain the city of Kpalime and what I observe.
KPALIME - Explained - Short Version, there is no long version.
Kpalime is a smallish city, and has a large central market that dominates the center of the village. The market appears to be in a depression of valley and the road leading in and out of Kpalime will lead down into this valley. In the valley as is normal, the water flows through by a small stream or in this case, closer to being a ditch. As you walk up the hills away from the central parts of the city, there are one both sides of the city Water Tanks.
This photo is a proof of my finding the small quirks of a city.
On the one hill, close, or adjacent to one of the water tanks is a temporary market that forms on Sunday and Tuesday, that seems to be, I am guess more of a wholesale market. This is possibly a market where venders come to from villages say less than one days travel away to sell or buy goods and provisions. There is also a big social element to the market.
The French I believe constructed a few building on the other side of the valley and up the hill from the Cristol Hotel, and turn right. The constructions of the building are different from the ones where the normal residences of Kpalime live.
In the distance from one of the higher points, and may locations in Kpalime you can see the Mount Kloto area or the smaller, yet big enough set of mountains that separate Ghana from Togo. If I wished, I could take a motorbike to public transportation and go easily to the border of Ghana.
There is a very large Catholic Church up near the Bafana Bafana Auberge. I walked by it yesterday, happy the clock is working correctly and tried to find a name on the church. This is a prominent landmark of the city and I believe the locals would know the name and the Taxi drivers would know it.
The city has a few landmarks, I have mentioned before, as all cities are a collection of common landmarks. Such as the Prefecture that is the government building, there is normally somewhere a Hospital and many schools. Then there are large open-air markets in Africa. These listed above are the landmarks of most normal cities in the world, they get bigger or smaller.
The city has others, which will continue to be landmarks providing the city does not have many. There is a Texaco Station, and a Fan Milk store that is a distribution point for the Fan Yogo I love so much. The Texaco Station and the Fan Milk if you notice have non-French names. There is a restaurant that is called the Cafeteria that is close to the Fan Milk and is a central gathering point for people to pay a hundred or two CFA to watch Football on the Satellite Connection, eat, drink and socialize. It I the center of whereby the locals go to meet, see, and be seen.
There seems be many white people there, I would guess it is recommended by the Guidebooks. Normally in a city, what is recommended by the Guidebooks is where the Tourist goes and eats. I for sure am different here, I read the restaurant about 1 in 100 times and then by accident, and maybe notice, yes, I know that restaurant. I eat where I am tempted to eat, because the establishment seems clean and good.
I found at the bottom of the market area, close to the ditch river yesterday a set of maybe 20 - 55 Gallon barrels. On top of the barrels were screen or grills set up and inside must have been charcoal or wood burning. Around this area is the butcher area of the market where beef, chicken and I would thing goat is cut into pieces to be sold to the locals. There is also a very interesting and busy water collection point there. I tend to avoid this area because there is also a set of large speakers where they have the volume too loud for my enjoyment of life and this area is hectic. I think the locals like the constant semi-physical sensation of loud music and chaos, as it is a simple for of mental stimulation that is reactive, not proactive and does not require thinking. I have see no newspapers, the only reading stimulation I see is the Bible and the Koran, and you do see them lying around reading this or being entertained by very large and annoying to me speakers.
I am going to stop with this never-ending explanation of Kpalime, Togo. I could write a book and that is not my intention.
When I arrive in a city, I am studying the city from the moment I enter; I will study the map before I come, if there is a map in the guidebook.
The map has road that come and go from the city starting more or less at the Texaco station and the Fan Milk Landmarks.
The central market is in the valley and the temporary market is on the hill next to the big water tower.
The row of more trendy hotels, not listed in the guidebook but like the Aaron City Motel and the Suisse Something are up by the older colonial building and the military area where they have guards for something.
The central bus or transportation area is on the opposite side of the ditch river and somewhat hidden, it I gut through this area I will return to both the Sunday, Tuesday market and can go the back way to the Auberge Mandela.
This one girl, Cafri, a girl Mike and I were chatting at last night said to Michael in the Mina language.
- This is the Yeh Bow (white man) that walk one day to those streets, then walks another day to that neighborhood, every day he walks a different direction looking at this area.-
I am learning the lay of the land.
She has observed me, she has seen a pattern, and she knows I go on exploratory walks to understand the city.
I am trying to discover all the City Idiosyncrasies. What a confusing definition from the dictionary. I will go for the Encyclopedia and see if there are better words. No luck, the Encyclopedia does not see idiosyncrasies as being of value. Habits, this may be easier to grasp, there are habits or specific quirks of person, or the usual way to doing something. I tend to say, or use the word - Basically - or - Therefore - when I write, I can repeat or be repetitive with these words, and it is a habit of my writing. I have discovered I write in a riddle fashion. This the habits of my writing style.
1. quirk: a way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is peculiar to an individual or group, especially an odd or unusual one
2. unusual response to something: an unusual or exaggerated reaction to a drug or food that is not caused by an allergy
A best I understand and more or less, I am tired of thinking about idiosyncrasies it is what I find in a city or a person.
I find in the city the small quirks, habits or the usual and common that when grouped, categorized and realized are the City Idiosyncrasies.
(I am developing a new writing style, I finally defined what I am thinking about, and so I will take this sentence and put at the beginning. It is the theme of this blog, and I discovered it when it finally arrived, I discovered by writing, how to clarify my thinking and know what I am thinking about in the abstract. It is clear now, so I can put at the beginning.)
I can tell you that most travelers could give a bar tour easy, or where they like to eat, however ask them to describe the water and sanitation and they will say something like,
- What a mess, this city is dirty. -
That is extremely simple and does not say anything, to notice the two water towers, and I am looking for more, the city could maybe have up to five. I need a motorcycle or car to explore this or to live here for a longer time.
I would guess about 90-98 percent of traveler have no clear understanding of their location, yet I do believe they study the map, however do they understand the dynamics of a the city.
- Location -
- Location -
- Location -
The three reasons that determine value of real estate. However, the truth is transportation. This is my annoyance with the guidebooks of West Africa, they have an allowed there modern need to use a car, the main roads, the highway and to live in modern hotels to define West Africa.
The history of West Africa I think can be ignored because it is subtle, the locals wish to hide it, the ditch river in the city is not beautiful, and the collection of water is old fashion, to eat in the market makes a white person nervous. I am told they have AIDS, dysentery, and people in Africa are dying of this and that, this negative overview tends to envelop and cover the beauty of the place.
Somehow, the modern society of Africa people and the world is putting up a smoke screen and stopping me from see normal Africa.
Prior problem dominate today.
I cannot just look at the Slave Trade as a business that flourished and helped Africa to thrive for years. We much put this… IT WAS SO BAD option on this trade, and always analyze in a bad frame, and not a real frame. I read yesterday in the Encarta Encyclopedia how after the ending of slavery, West Africa suffered and had money problems.
African black leaders, traded people for provisions from the Europeans, therefore after the slave traded ended, they had nothing to trade. I tend to think the Germans came and took the trees, paid the workers a salary, and the real value; the trees may have been free, as how do you put value on firewood when everyone collects free.
The history of logging in Africa should be an epic of the history of Africa, as dominating as the slave trade. I think the slave trade change Africa in a small way and I predict in time, the cutting down of trees in Africa was the worst problem. I cannot even say that slavery and logging was a problem. It was a negative reason why the modern world came to Africa, and brought enough money to develop Africa to the present level. Sugar Cane, Cacao, Palms and a few crops are here, I am not seeing anything do well, and the Cacao production is a leader in the world.
Primitive is not fun, Michael in the book Timeline explains. The present day West Africa is often more developed than South America.
What is West Africa good at? Sadly, the most obvious things seem to be a great poster child to raise money for donations from nice people. Who then often say they are working on problems that not in my opinion major problems. They can raise money for drinking water, and they are managing their water very well compared to Asia or South America. I only know a few countries in West Africa.
I would guess South Africa could be in a mess because of too many people in one place. I am not looking forward to the millions in Nigeria.
The learning about a city is to first question, then answer, then learn, then relearn the truth, then in the end, you continue to realize you really do not understand, and there is never ending fodder for curious people. Just when you think you know, you are positive you are not sure.
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
I just read an article by Joseph Conrad, the writer of the book Lord Jim.
“Geography and Some Explorers.” National Geographic, March 1924.
I would say this man has a grasp of
- How things work. -
I read this in the Encyclopedia Encarta on my computer.
I download the ebook Lord Jim from the Gutenberg.org site, and seems I should try attain all his work.