I am in Lome Togo, I have not said much about Lome, Togo, I really cannot think about much to say. The backpacker, or more correct, French Expat and Peace Corps hotels are in a beach resort wanna be area, and not the center of the city.
I had to look at a map, this is not the normal method of hotels for backpackers and I was lost.
This is a walled area, inside the walls are the people with money, outside the walls are the vendors or riff raft of society.
I get to watch many a person p I s s in the black ugly sand streets. Inside the walls can be clean, outside is sand streets. I am not sure which side is good. Drunk French old expats or street venders with no clients.
The number of person trying to sell outnumbers the persons to buy, by 10 to 1, that means they have no money. I do not think they care, they have food, and they can p I s s or sleep anywhere.
My speculation is this, I think at one time Lome, Togo was the place for the Frenchies to come and visit. They made this exclusive in the wall world of French culture, living inside another culture. There were plenty of women for the French men to bang.
Now, there was some war, violence, and like or similar to many cities on the planet, Lome is off the short list, it does not even seem to be on the long list. Only a place to come and sit with old men and drink, and still bang a few women for cheap money than France.
Acapulco is and inherently beautiful city, it is an out of vogue destination, but has inherently a lot to offer. Cancun will one day be a nothing, not soon, but someday, when it is not longer chic.
Lome has almost nothing now to offer, therefore these venders need to give up and try to find another job. But like everyone else on the planet, they will continue to beat a dead horse.
I am only here to use the internet, the culture is boring, the French drink and smoke too much, plus the ones here are on the lower end of the both the brain and evolutionary development. But they have no where to belong and this is a good place for lost souls to belong, a big fish in a very, extremely small pond. Plus there are girls to bang.
Walled cities are normal, Mexico city if full of walled cities. In Beverly Hills California, I bet you can find walled cities. It means, there are those on the inside, who must keep those on the outside out. Here it means it is dangerous, they need a wall or they will steal everything not connected. But Lome is pretty safe, so this is one of them cultural things where the rich sneaky like separate themselves by money. Paying money is how a person keeps the normals away, or tries to say, I am special. This is annoying.
I will leave soon, I am using the Internet, and the beach is of no value here, only for the super motivated soccer players here.
I will go north to find some normal culture; I am having trouble finding one person that has level the inside of the walls. Moreover, the French do not learn the language of world travel, English, they still believe they are a world power… hehehe, they do rule Africa, or North Africa, like the king of the swamp.
Togo people are nice, although too many working women in this area.
The people in the shops are excited to meet me, nobody ever from inside the walls must ever come and say hello or buy things. Most of these Drunk Expats have cars. They do not walk around with the commons.
I was laughing; the girls working the bar are all excited about the cookies I purchased. How much, Cien Fran or 100 Francs I say. About 20 cents U.S.
They want to know where; I purchased less than a stone throw from the Galion or Gallion Hotel Restaurant. What is up with people, it seems impossible to not know what is sold in the next store that is not competition in the least, and if they were competition, I would know for sure. People work hard to avoid everything that surrounds them and guarantee they do not know who the people in the neighborhood are, I know most of the neighbors now and it expands daily. I am still trying to figure out how to separate the w h o r e from the normal girls. They should have price tags, it would make life easier, at night, it is easier, but in the day, who can tell.
Not that many, but even W H O R E S want a good looking guy, the ones on the market here are amazingly ugly, fat, and losers, not a good market for the W H O R E S.
I wish I could type any word, but those anti spam Bobbies would get that word for sure.
Lome would be a skip on the list, except they do have Internet, and I am in the Internet business… hehehe, I am having trouble finding many reasons to visit cities in Africa, not a lot of fun. Normally I can go go and talk with the Backpackers. I have seen one in one month; therefore, the reason to enter a city is almost zero.
Talking to the World from Africa
Lome Togo West Africa
Thursday, August 31, 2006
In nine year of travel, I have been ambushed by most problems with Telephones, Emails, Fax, Postal Letters, or going to see a person to talk.
I have many persons complain about my spelling, grammar, and many other of my idiosyncrasies and of course my opinions. I am always grateful that I was just able to get the word out, I am alive and life is good on the other side of the planet.
Africa has upped the ante, I must put more money on the table, and I will lose more.
There are a percentage of emails written then are never read.
There are a percentage of calls that are never completed.
There is normal land mail that never arrives.
How does one know?
How do I know my email arrived?
I have learned, I know only when a person replies to them, if no reply, no thank you, not comment, then I assume it did not arrive, or more correctly the person the other end does not care.
AOL is probably the worst form of Email on the planet, I cringe when I see an email address from an AOL account. I think, ok, the person does not know, maybe if I write back, they will get the reply.
Many of my longest and best answers to emails end up in a Bulk box, never read. Then there the too smart University Email IT staff or the Corporate IT that thinks, nobody in Africa writes our company, therefore I will block all the junk mails.
I will never forget, my Grandmother was dying, she was in the Hospital. My mother knows or carries my email address with her, she borrowed the computer of a nurse, wrote an email to her son, your Grandmother is dying…
She wrote on a borrowed email account, the reply address was from the nurse.
I received the email.
I always think, and remember. I think of all the anti-spam, anti-junk email systems that would have refused this email. Placed it in a box, hidden it away, it is from a person you do not know, I would have missed one of the most important emails of my life.
I am in a hurry to open the door, but I also want to close the door. My mother, father, my friends have first priority. I do 10 times the work to make their lives easier. My mother and father have been writing me for years. I am so happy. They have a Hotmail account, they have never had an AOL account. Hotmail is not as good as Yahoo.com, but it is ok, it works.
All these companies guarantee to stop the junk, the never will admit, and you will never know, how many they blocked, stopped, disallowed because they decide for you, this is not a good email.
Africa is blocked more than any continent on the planet, I never know, I can only hope, I must write, call, and double check to insure that an email to a friend is received. I love it when a person replies and says thanks, an acknowledgement of the email, I know, yes, I have a connection.
I was talking to a Volunteer, she believes she cares for people, I believe she cares about herself. Sadly, she wants to feel powerful, she cares about feeling powerful, she wants to feel in control, she wants to control something. She came to Africa under the delusion she was helping them, she found some people she could control, help she thinks, but someone who would listen. She purchased with money, what she thinks is people that love her. I am sure; they will write here, call her, email, communicate, thank her and invite her back to visit.
Duh, of course they will invite her back, it was like winning the lottery, she gave them free stuff, free this, free that, free money, she purchased someone to care about her, but she is delusional, she wanted to control them.
Caring and love is proven when there is no money involved, no agenda, the person believes, everyone deserves respect. (Note, not everyone deserves to be listened too. If they are respectful, then maybe yes.)
I kept trying to repeat the word,
- CARE -
I look for a person that cares, about me, about themselves, about the world. I know it is impossible save a person with money. People get what they deserve or request from life, no more, and no less. Most want to hit the lottery and not work, the lottery is big in Africa by the way, one on every corner.
I write so many emails, and very few reply, I have people that ask for information, request information, and think I owe them a reply. I do not owe them a reply, but I do try to give for nothing, because I do care. Nevertheless, I do not answer all emails, most just want to take, I can feel who is trying to take, and they do not get replies. They are bad karma.
However, caring is what I look for, does the person on the other end care?
Africa is an interesting continent, I suppose there are levels of caring, I would say the UNITED Nations Human Development Index is an index explaining care.
Norway is on top
USA is 8
Togo is 143
Sierra Leone is 177
Niger is 176
All the former French Colonies mostly are at the bottom.
Development is like an email, a person that cares feels all persons deserves the respect of reply, knowing this is impossible, but does try, and then worries about whether they made a mistake, did it work, did I do my best. The person, who does not care, always assumes the other person make the error, they are perfect…
I will send an email three times… maybe.
I will up the ante, I will call the person.
I will follow up with the call.
I have done this with man professors about the issue of Malnutrition, I assume now most do not care, most people will help good energy whether there is anything in it for them or not. A good person will encourage a good thing, or help if possible. No one is that busy, they just do not care.
Each continents has different levels of caring.
Some continents care about their people.
Africa is on the bottom, the leaders seem to not care about their people, they only care how much they can take.
If I love my nieces, my nephews, I will encourage them to be men and women. To have pride, work hard, and demand they be respectful, both to me, and to others. I will be a good example, and then hopefully they see this and follow the examples.
Takers and givers, communication with people is harsh over the internet, it is full of takers, and the givers are small. For every good advice I get, I get 100 asking for something, one-way street for the most part, not a two way street. As if I am sitting here in Africa, waiting to answer their questions, somehow I make money by caring about them. I do care about them, but I care more for the ones that care about me, care about themselves and in the end, care that about their fellow man. I suppose it is to love thy neighbor as thyself, good advice.
My blog, my web site is a business, but it is also advice, help, and it tries to care.
I spend great amounts of time, trying to figure out a way to guarantee the person on the end that cares about the world, wants to help, get through to me if they want. I try to remove the person that only wants something to take from me from my world. Bad Karma.
Often the person, who cares the most, understands the least about how to email, how to write, how to communicate. They feel, and know, they do feel like taking the time of another person. This is the person that should write, the one that says, no he or she is busy, I will not ask that stupid question or better yet, that really smart advice, they think will annoy a person, or bother them.
I am tired; I have been working 10 times harder to blog and use the internet in Africa. My failure rate is high. The big problem is first Africa, they do not care if the Internet works, and they just want the money first. Second is the world does not want to hear from Africa, so they block the emails. Nobody knows, the Telephone Companies, the Providers. AOL and Corporations have made the decision, do not care about Africa, and do not listen. I think they are right, why care, Africa does not care about Africa, why would I care.
It is not that simple, a person still should listen, maybe that one person that does care about someone beside themselves is writing, calling. Everything comes down to care; giving money is not the problem. Money is not the solution, it is finding a way to convince cultures to care about their own people, to care if their children are ok, not all are meant to live, some are meant to die, it is normal. However, the one that wishes to thrive should be encouraged.
I have too much time to think, obviously. Hehehe
If I cared about money, I would put up more picture in this blog, I care about ideas, hopes, solutions, then I care about money. In the end, I know 100 percent, what goes around, comes around.
Aaagh. I am reading an email from my Nephew, he has an EXTREMELY stupid comcast.net email account. It is almost as stupid as a free University Email. Email can be forever or it can be dysfunctional, I know this Comcast account will change, one day he will change emails. This knowledge does not make me want to write my Nephew back, but I will, knowing he does know…. Care? Caring is about making sure the door is open. Yahoo.com or Gmail.com is the emails accounts to get now, trash them AOL and Comcast and enter a functional world. Get a Yahoo or Gmail and slowly over YEARS move them corporate emails, Comcast, AOL and all the other joke emails to a good sound safe system. Yahoo.com is number one and Google.com is big for a reason, they make sense. For a traveler, an email is the lifeline to the rich world, maybe sane world. Although working that much is not sane.
Talking to the World from Africa
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Maybe in arrogance, maybe in pride, maybe an identity is needed to be claimed by everyone. A person is defined by a label, lives their lives as a name.
With caution, and trepidation, I will call my new friend Stellan Johansson from Sweden
- A Traveler -
CLICK ON THIS LINK PLEASE
This was going to be the name of HoboTraveleler.com it was purchased in 2000, one day before I decided to buy it, otherwise all this hobo would maybe have been a traveler. I am happy, I think HoboTraveler.com is better.
I am a snob when it comes to saying a person is a traveler, I use it casually to say a person who is traveling, they are a traveler, but to stop and say, he is
- A Traveler -
The tone, the way, the intonation, is not normal for me, I have seen so many travelers, and in many ways, they are disappearing as people live in other countries more and wander less.
I talked with Stellan again last night here in the Gallion Hotel courtyard area; I find we are alike in many ways. He ride a bike, almost exclusively, I am not clear on this, however I should have him explain, he was leaving yesterday, but it rained in the morning, so as a good traveler, he delayed. A good travelers does not force the play, they choose their good times, however once they start, maybe will not stop until the arrive, hardship is not a problem, it is an annoyance, something you endure until you travel to the next location you want.
He does not have a guidebook, I think he refers to them when he is near one; however, all in all a map is better. I can see in myself a good map is becoming more valuable. I do not give up the guidebooks because I have a greater need for people.
Travel is 100 percent selfish, ok 90 percent selfish.
Everything is done for me, the big I, the take care of myself, all choice revolve around the baby king. Taking is number one, giving is number two, the choices can be extremely crass and harsh.
Stellan explained many stories last night about how to punish a person that tries to cheat him when making change after buy something. There is a nasty little game played continually as a true traveler, it happens here in Africa a few times per day. What happens is you buy something, this is in French, and we are speaking French, or maybe trying. Confusion is the devils only friend…!
So entering into a confusing negotiation, with say a Taxi, the number one wanna be clever, wanna trick you cheater, and thief on the planet. We negotiate the price, we decide the location, we go to the location, all is clear, if no confusion, at this juncture, it should be simple. Pay the man the money, get out of the taxi, receive your change and depart. NOTE: The world very seldom TIPS, this is only for sort of the silly, not international travelers. Keeping the change is only given by me, after I try to explain, please stay or continue to be outrageously honest. I only tip for extreme honesty in a taxi, not for normal you got me where I wanted to go. Taxi drivers are experts, hard to make a bad deal with them; I make more bad deals than I make good deals. I pay too much 50 percent of time, and I venture the normal tourist pays too much 90 percent of the time. A taxi gets a tip continually, in many ways, they take it, and then want a tip to boot, jerks.
Stellan was saying one man took his money, would not give his change to him, so the many had left the taxi, never pay a taxi until you are out of the taxi with ALL you bags. Well, the man was out of the taxi, and refusing to give the change. Stellan entered the taxi and sat down in the drivers seat, behind the wheel and said,
- I can wait -
A group of people started to come around the taxi, they congregated, they started to ask, why, what happened, etc. They started to demand the taxi driver give the change, he eventually gave the change. In 80 percent of the world, the Police, the locals, anyone will side with the foreigner, the tourist, etc, they know foreigners are honest and the locals are not, a taxi driver is never in question, everyone understands and assumes they are cheats. 80 percent of the planet, Taxi stories is a great pass time for the true traveler.
We both have or had many stories to tell about just not paying a taxi driver, and walking away. More or less looking the person in the eye, you must look arrogantly in their eye, hard, steady, say in you best eye language and in Ghana in good clear English I would say,
- Go F…k yourself. -
An enjoyable moment for a traveler, one major win for the good guys, a person got justice for the 100 other people he cheated.
Contrary to any stupid thing, if we agree to pay 10 times the price, arrive to the destination, we pay the 10 times the price fare. A traveler does not sit around saying to himself,
- This person cheated me. -
We do not care, it is part of the taxi, travel game, and of course, we are cheated, that is normal, a person cannot sit around chastising a taxi or themselves for agreeing to a bad price. It happens daily, we pay, we learn, we adjust and try to access the taxi situation in the particular city where we are presently located.
Stellan is - A Traveler - therefore he has an overabundance of stories of how he won the game. Tourists have an overabundance of ridiculous comments like,
- They are so nice here -
- The man took care of me. -
- It is such a great country -
I can remember an image in my mind of Stellan face last night as he shined his eyes, and explained how some fresh meat Peace Corp persons were talking about Togo in the Gallion Restaurant a few nights before.
- I could look at them and pick out the new from the old; you could see it in their eyes. -
The new tourist or virgin has a starry myth-o-maniac starry eyed, the world is rosy look in their eyes, an after two-year stint of in the Peace Corp persons know different, the world is not so nice, all them poor people can be so, hmm, what is a good word, they are not bad people. The person they think they are helping normally are not wanting help, they are just want to take anything and everything, they are more than willing to take, then a thank you never crosses they mind. A poor person or most countries say thank you to insure you give some more.
Stellan and me have had complex, intricate conversation on the ever present, sad, and in Africa a continent destroying problem. There are questions first,
- Who has been giving money, free things to these people? -
It is obvious that the locals in these countries expect a white person to give them something, they line up, hands are ready, big people, little, any, the ANY is not normal… Any person can ask for money, like the whole country, continent, just anybody and everybody has no pride.
I care; I believe is possible, I see possible solutions. I think it is possible to stop tourist, governments, people, idiots from giving things to people for free, there needs to be some pride exchange in receiving, it cannot just be a gift, they will get ready for the next, then they expect the gift, a continent of beggars.
Stellen and Andy are intimate friends with Beggars. They live with us, they walk with us, they are like a nagging wife, they tell us we are bad, how we will not give them money, they will go to a cruel level to try to extort our emotions, to make us feel…
- Give me money -
I care, and I do not care. I care when I have time, when I am busy, there is always another beggar, why be worried, I can care later.
Beggars steal time, we know this, we want to deal with them, or more correctly not deal with them and get the away as fast as possible, avoid the temptations to give them a kick on the way out.
Giving is destroying whole races of people, a guarantee they are slaves to the master money. Whoever gives the money is their master, their slaver, their trader in their stupidity.
Giving steals the pride, removes their defenses, and creates a person who will never be an equal, a man, a person of pride. They will forever be the person receiving from you, the next person, and forever they will search, where the next person that will give me something for nothing is.
Stellan has been to Niger, we discussed the NGO takeover of the country. How everyone is expecting to be taken care of, how the country is over the edge, how the NGO’s have completely screwed up a country. He says in Ethiopia and Sudan it has gone so far, that if you do not give money, they will throw stones, or hit you. A taxi driver will drive his car over to you and put out his hand and say,
- Give me money -
The continent seems agree, this is the motto.
Stellan has visited the Stan Brothers, this is my term, Andy made up, Andy uses for a few countries.
I do now know exactly which Stan Brother he has visited, but he has ridden a bike through a few, closer to Sweden, and Sweden is also a good jump point to enter Russia and the Stan Brothers.
I am impressed; I can maybe list on one hand the number of travelers that have visited the Stan Brothers. The visas are onerous, a problem, not so easy, confusing, and I think the Stan Brothers are full of novel forms of corruption, not for the person that has a big problem with stupid levels of corruption.
Well, Stellan is a good guy, CLICK ON THIS LINK; I will not tell you why not to click on this link…hehehe
I will go an meet Stellan for coffee, impossible to imagine, this Gallion Hotel restaurant in Lome Togo, one of the poorer countries on the planet ask 600 CFA for a cup of coffee. This is about one dollars and change,
I probably will not drink coffee, I do not care. This is too much money for a cup of coffee.
I am learning, say French, say pay too much.
Say Africa, say ask for something for nothing.
Say Lebanese, say hmm, maybe some good Food.
I am in this Hotel because, I like the room, and I cannot be bothered to find a good value for the money room. Life is too short, I do not speak French, and I am only here for 3 days. It is a lottery in West Africa, I won in Aflao, Ghana, I paid 4 dollars, here in Lome, I lose, I am paying 16 dollars, or 8 dollars more than what is a good value for this type of room on an international, I have slept in 1200 hotels in my life opinion.
I live in a hotel, it is my home. Africa is full of landmine Hotels. A person can enter a city; find out there is three hotels. All of them are 3 times the fair price, you can either leave in disgust, or remember you did not come to see a hotel, you came to visit the people or the city, something, and the hotel is down the list of reason to go to a city.
Lome is strange, all the hotels are near the empty beach, a pretty good beach, but I am afraid to go and lie on the beach. I would probably have one person come and ask something every minute, or 60 per hour, I am not the tourist attraction or the donator of money for Lome. The center of the city is a ways from here, I have only seen what may be the center one time now, I have no idea how to return, that is not true, I have a card to a Lebanese Chicken Restaurant, I will return.
Lome is like a city that has a great beach, and then got bombed, everyone refuses to return to the beach, maybe there are bombs. Like in Apocalypse now,
- You want to surf there. -
Swedish Bike Rider Tourist
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I have met my first certifiable, yes this is a tourist traveler. He is also doing some type of bike ride around West Africa Trip. Tall, blond, thin, lanky, speaks English because he is from Sweden and rides a bike.
I guess, I do not know his personal rules, but I believe he rides the bike from all cities to the next cities. It would be wonderful if someday I learned about some master set of rules, for these bike riders, that says,
- You did this, therefore you are qualified to say, you rode around the world. -
There is many ways to carry a bike, put you bike on you back, avoid the difficult path, yet is the path riding a bike.
This man in not riding around the world, at least not in any one hop, typical try show he can ride a bike around the world. His father in Sweden has a Christmas tree farm, therefore for 45 days a year he returns to Sweden and helps to harvest, send, sell, or whatnot the trees. An excellent, I want to be a traveler business, because the money is earned in a concentrated period, making a big chunk of the year available for travel.
He is also staying in Gajgon Hotel, is a nice hotel, I was laughing with him as we sat at the bar. I said,
- I do not normally go to tourist bars. -
He looked around and thought, he is a good thinkers, definitely makes his own opinions,
- Yes, this is a tourist bar. -
- Yes, 100 percent. -
I had earlier perused the menu and found foods, or Frenchie foods like Steak Tartar or things, I do not eat, or know about, probably spell wrong also. The menu was not clear to me, except for the posted menu behind the bar and for some reason they are in English partly, the one has Hotdogs. I am amazed anyone in this caliber of bar and restaurant would put the word Hot Dog on anything, I would hide it down on the menu.
The menu was a board, a good sign of tourist bar or something not cheap. Price, that is a perfect sign of a tourist bar, the prices were comparable to a restaurant in the USA, which would be normal restaurant, it was no fine dining prices.
Tourist, they eat a nightly meal. It is an occasion, it is not a normal meal, and it is like going out to eat. This is what tourist do, and this is the type of restaurant they go to.
Tourist Bars serve western food or European or French in this case, I could be wrong; I could not find anything I wanted on the menu. They do not serve local or Togo food, Tourist Bars or Tourist Restaurants have Tourist Menus.
The Africa Bike Touring person and me talked for an hour, or so, amusing the perspective of Sweden. He was, or the Scandinavian culture thinks more than the British, French, Belgium, for sure Spain, and most of the lower countries in Europe. The Swiss think they think, however really do not. Sometime the Germans can be very well thought out on subjects.
The Dutch are balanced thinkers, or close to the Scandinavians countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, etc.
There are stereotypes, this man was Swedish, understood his stereotype, and understood the European stereotype.
The Europeans massively, rapidly and consistently have stereotypes of Americans. They often do not believe they fit into any categories, or stereotypes. I would say they have to, sort of an over-all; we are European, the EU and then the specific country stereotype.
Swedes are normally anti-Israel. (I would say, Anti-Semitic generally.)
Go places in Middle East and promote this, work as volunteers.
Like to go to Iran.
Tend to end up where other Swedes are locate, tend to like to go to Sex Tourism Place, many were killed, a LOT in the Tsunami of Thailand, because they were at the Sex Tourist location of Phuket in Thailand.
End up in Cuba, another Sex Tourism location.
Seem to like to take long trips from Europe to India and Asia. They are one of the few countries that does not see going across Pakistan or Iran or Turkey, Iraq by land as terrible strange. They are blonde-haired person often, blue eyes, but huddle up close to the Middle East somehow. Like to go ranching in Iran.
A big manufacturer of Weapons in the world, but put themselves or portray themselves as being anti-war, mostly they stayed out of WW II pretty good, sort of two-ways about life in the war, like Switzerland, playing both sides.
I like the Swedes, they can often introspect and see themselves, and this biker was able to view himself as whom is he… Oh yea, Sweden is being invaded by the Islamic bunch because of all the free money they give to people and their close association of love of Palestine type countries.
France is going to become Islamic over time, a long time, but they will become Islamic, the culture of France will eventually have some type of Christian Fleeing.
The man last night said,
- All cultures change. -
Insightful, astute, and fully aware that no place stays the same. I have met very few persons traveling who see that it is not so important what a place is like and for sure ridiculous to try to keep a place the same.
The French wish to remain French, the Islamic person wants their people to remain Islamic. The two large cultures are disappearing in my opinion, they have only a hundred years or so and they could be almost impossible to recognize. The TV, Fashion and Music are imploding or destroying the culture of Islam; they cannot watch a TV and keep their children obeying their 2000 rules.
The French are being eaten by Islamic culture, and will have to make a choice, does Islam occupy us now. My friend Jack in Mexico, he was Canadian would say,
- The French are good at being occupied. -
Germans like to occupy…. Brits came over, the French seemed to allow anyone, they would agree, say yes, we are the same and get occupied, we are not in favor, yes, we gave the Jew, but we disagreed, when the English and USA came and occupied….blah blah blah.
The Germans, Americans, Brits are good at occupying, I suppose.
Cultural change is about occupying another culture until the other culture is assimilated and it blends. This is 100 percent normal, one culture enters another, until they blend or disappears.
Ghana has imported an inner city, USA black culture, is slowly converting to Bob Marley, and mixed with an African, nicer, softer sound. However, have some characteristics of the violent American sides. Wants to be American, but does not know what that is, knows only hip-hop, rap, and American Flags.
Imported is this type of culture. In Togo, here they have been dominated by French Culture.
The bike rider, has spent months in Mali, Niger, Benin, and now Togo, he does not speak French, says he understand Arabic better. Speaks good English, blogs in Swedish, I bet money his picture is on his web page, I think he wants to be small famous for his rides, most long-term bike riders want to have people notice.
I have trouble understanding how a person could spend so much time in North Africa and not speak French, this man learned English, therefore he can learn a language, and he knows the path.
He says he does not have a guidebook, sometimes gets one to find where he can find an English conversation by going to the hotels where he meets travelers. Has a map, a good map, I wish I had a good map of roads. He camps a lot, this is brave.
There are I suppose to ways to avoid language problems in countries.
Drive a Car or Truck.
Ride a bike.
Transportation is the problem for language. I have a very difficult time trying to tell the taxi driver anything, and in Africa, they cannot read. In Arabic countries, I have visit, then can read better.
This is why the NGOs have big Toyota Land Rovers, it allows them to avoid dealing with the people they come to visit, and they drive around the problems. I would believe they would say, it allows them to quickly go to the problem. I believe they will do anything to avoid really living with the people on a bus, truck, trotro or normal form of transportation.
In addition, the buy a guide, translator, who then keeps them one-step further away… The next step is to hire, the local teachers, or steal the best and make them workers. These people then are paid to much, drive the big Land Rovers and have zero desire to help their people and put themselves out a permanent job that is always portrayed as solutions.
Solutions are stopping a problem, therefore temporary in time to implement, permanent in behavior.
The biker was talking about a Swedish man he met in Niger who planted or gave seeds to plant trees in Niger. This was to provide food for the people of Niger….
The man has been working on this project for 20 years, I think planting trees is a great idea in Niger; the problem is he is probably planting all the trees and the people now have their hands out. The biker said, now the tree planter has problems, they are stopping growing the trees and putting their hand out wanting money.
I said, and the biker agreed.
- Give them the option, show them the trees, somehow provide the trees, and explain their children are dying. -
Then leave, if they die, they die, so what, nobody is should be forced to live, it is their choice.
I do not see that people dying is a problem, dying is normal, I do think having a country made into a nation of beggars is a problem, and I also believe a person that knows solutions should share the solutions. It is not the person’s job that knows solutions to go and implement the solution. I am afraid for Africa, seems to want to remain a child, never wean itself, never grow up, always want a master. Africa never had a slave master, until the NGO’s came, or maybe the French… That was an anti-French remark… hehehe They are excellent at making people believe their snobbish ways are good for the people they are dominating. You should love my culture, and you are not French, strive to be French, you are black or you an American, love my culture, but you are not French. What a stupid buy into this idea, I do not want to be occupied, I am an occupier, I am American.
What fun, but the Biker said it,
- All cultures change. -
I need to get up early and run and find him, see what types of trees were being planted. Maybe he has the name of the Swede Tree Planter, I can go visit and celebrate the man or other…
Swedish Bike Rider Tourist
Perception of Clean
Monday, August 28, 2006
My room in Aflao at the Pameke Hotel was obviously not so clean, but the price was fair for 45,000 Cedi or 4.50 U.S. Dollars.
I am in this French place, the manager appears to be White, French or something and his pants need pulled up.
I am sitting at the bar, trying to day,
Omelets avec Fromage.
Egg with Cheese
They gave me soft bread, no toast.
Ok, the man is cleaning the beer tap, I am watching, he is a good guy and speaks more English than most, and more than the French boy will…
The place is clean, it is nice, it is bright, it is what all the white men want here, a clean place…. Hehehe
The man is trying to clear the hoses of beer.
He puts his mouth on the hose and blows it out, I say,
- That was hygienic -
He looks, and then looks away… I caught you… Hehehe
This is the point, clean to me, clean to a German; clean to maybe, a French person is different. I do not see the French as clean, the Germans more, and the English about the same as the USA. And the Australians are first world.
However, we go into a hotel on the other side of the planet. IF this hotel had all the cleaning persons, staff from some middle class, upper clean level of the USA, maybe I would say, yep, it is sterile clean.
But no hot water, no good soap, and they clean, just like they do at home in the country. Just because they are working in a French Hotel, does not mean they clean up to French standards; however, this probably was up to French standards… Hehehe
He put his mouth on it and blew on the beer hose… hehehe
What you get for more money is an appearance of clean, not clean. I am dwelling lately on why I do not get sick. This Dutch girl Loes is in Ghana for six weeks and gets Typhoid. I am travel for 9-10 years and do not get sick from one of these water or food borne problems. I get diarrhea for sure, but do not lie around in hospitals.
I think it is this, I look beyond the appearance of clean, I do not trust anyone, I watch, I inspect, I expect to eat fresh food, I eat fresh food, and for sure, think garbage disposal try everything eating is a perfect way to get many diseases or microbes, bacteria, virus or whatever you call the problem things we cannot see.
This is the point, we cannot see, and looking clean, does not mean clean. The price for more is normally just to look clean, and I still have a hole in my bed sheet.
Nothing is perfect, and that is normal, I would faint, and then go home to the USA if the place was perfect, because I would be closer to home, might as well go home. I travel to see less than perfect, or as far away as possible normally.
Hmm, I better try to add the not-a-word Frenchie to my computer spell checker…
Perception of Clean
Monday, August 28, 2006
The women in the Hotel was wrong, there is no way to take one Taxi from the hotel all the way to Lome or the hotel in Lome. I took a group taxi for 2500 Cedi, and then walked across the short border, it is not long. Then got mobbed by taxi driver, one who wanted 1500 CFA or 3 dollars U.S.
He took me about three blocks, and then turned off the main road onto a dirty road; I was expecting to go on tar road for at least 5 minutes or more than a walk. He kept turning left, right, and down paths, I decided to get in my bag and grab my knife. I know that someday and hopefully and it was not today a taxi driver will take me down a street; his friends will jump out and rob me.
IT was not today.
Nevertheless, just in case, I got out my knife, ready to make them know, I was ok, and they was not.
He takes me to the Chez Mammy… I am absolutely clueless if this is or was the Chez Mammy. There was no sign on the door, I could not get the idiots at the door to even let me in to ask, and they did not or would not say the name. I pushed through when I saw, a brain dead white girl. I said,
- What is the name of this Hotel? -
- Chez Mammy -
However, remember, she is brain dead, no expression, seems to be stupid beyond belief. Hard to imagine how White people, Black people can be so apathetic. But the way of the world, be stupid, do not care, only talk on cell phone and listen to music, the brain has stopped.
Ok, I am looking for the Ave de Duisberg as I wrote it down in my guide, the streets, both directions; I went and showed the taxi driver does not say this street.
I checked my NEW Lonely Planet, the Lonely Planet Africa, I scanned, Ave de Duisberg is correct and Chez Mammy is correct. I seem to be having a literacy problem. They have a difficult time with the written words.
Nonetheless, I did not feel like paying the taxi more money to go to a place, I do not know. I could not get a clear, how much, how far, where to go from the man. I knew where a main highway was, and went and walked done it. I asked for the Maluwi Hotel or something another hotel from my 7-year-old West Africa guidebook. Well, about 8 people were clueless, as they read the name of hotel and street, probably 5 could not read though.
I saw 2 internet cafes on one corner.
OK, a good benchmark, I walked in, nobody stuck up his or her head, nobody raised their eyes. I stood there for 2 minutes, I have two huge bags on, and I do not walk around in internet cafes or Cyber Cybar Cafes here as I am like a cow.
I walk out; I go talk to two pretty dresses, the same dress, but two girls. They seem good, a man and then the girls point straight. I ask the man how much the hotel was, he says, and knows… hehehe 5000 CFA, the price is really 8000, but nonetheless, he has a clue, amazing.
I am in something called the Gajan, on Rue Haito or something.
THE computer FROZE… Again.
I am on a Ctrl S mode all the time now… SAVE
I moved the computer, I think there is a lose connection of faulty something.
OK, I am in this Frenchie Hotel for 8 thousand, he gave me a huge room, seems to think I should be happy to have a huge room for the price of 8000.
I never can understand what hotel owners or managers think, I do no know the value of the room. I especially cannot tell you the value of the room until I see it, and no point in explaining much. Tell me you cheapest room, and I will go look. Then I will tell you if the price is fair.
Togo, I think is going to be French Inflated high like Cote d’Ivoire, and more or less one-third more on a steady basis than Ghana. I am paying 16 U.S. Dollars, the room is ok, concrete, tilt windows, Dutch type plug, and that is nice, leave behind them every problem English plugs.
The Hotel seems to like to be a bar first and a hotel second and every one except the man from Ghana was too busy…
There is this black person idiosyncrasy, I am wondering if they got if from the French. Because the Frenchie in the hotel, except for the one patron, seem or act.
- What do you want, why do you enter my place, or more like I will ignore you, if you want something beg. -
I have on 2 very large backpack, not so big really, but I am strong, I have on two bags, front and back. I must want something or their brains have also stopped, a person does not walk into any building with 2 large backpacks and not want to ask a question.
The French do not like to talk English, so I talked English to the man, he answered… hehehe
You have to push on through sometimes to the other side…
- The Doors -
The man came and showed me the room, a black man, nice, laughs a lot, I clear the door and he says,
- Cest Bon -
I say in abrupt English, the object is to look at the room, how in the F could a person know, until he looked. I POINT my finger at my eyes, and look around, universal hand language for I need to look first.
Ignorance is bliss….
15 dollars is too much for any room in Africa, but I really have no choice, I will blame in on the Peace Corps.
The man that showed me the room asked me in good English,
- Are you in the Peace Corps. -
Translated to me is this, there are too many Peace Corps in this country and everyone is in the Peace Corp, he should have been asking if I am American or something. Where are all the tourist in Africa?
Ok, the Peace Corps are young, not so swift, become swift youths from America, on somewhat a paid by the USA budget, like to hang around in certain hotels. The Chez Mammy is the place according to the Acronym the LP or Lonely Planet.
OK. The Chez Mammy is full of young girls standing in front, I did not enter and the place is brain dead from the outside, not even a sign to see…. However, I did not stay there for hours looking, I could not enter.
I believe a good or great hotel helps a person to find a room, even if not in their hotel. Full is not a good answer, it is a we give no service answer.
I went and plugged the fan into the walk in the room of the Gadjan or something like that in French. The man finally plugs in, I am trying to be polite, he plugs in, I think… OK, turn it on….
- You can do..-
I need to test the fan, check the windows, see the door, it has not been kicked in, and this is good. I get the fan on; he cannot see that checking a fan means it must be on, blowing air.
My room is painted white, I like this, makes it feel bigger or happy. Lots of dirt on the wall, but SAP - Standard Operating Procedure in West Africa, I do not see how all the hotel walls in the world can get so dirty.
The hotel is good, I ate an omelet with Fromage, the woman working does not like to smile, the Ghana man is great, the French boy is always on the phone and cannot help himself, he is French. The patron from France was great.
The seem to think asking for butter was a bother, come on, I know the French eat butter. However, I do think the training to ignore or pretend we are too cool to talk was taught by the French… hehehe
I like the Baguette, after that I am worried about them, like a bunch of Spanish people who have not been told they are Spanish. Latinos…
Ok, I am happy, paying too much on a world money scale for room, but I know where the internet café is located. Cyber Café here.
Togo Visa Entente
Monday, August 28, 2006
WARNING: Visa is for one direction travel, no going back… According to the not so helpful, not so good English guy stamping my passport on the Togo side of the Ghana / Togo / Aflao / Lome Border. This means I cannot return to a country on the visa after I have entered, I cannot go to Benin, and then come back to Togo. It would not be good if you are not an American, and you want to start and end your trip in Cote d’Ivoire. A person would have to end in Burkina Faso, or Mali, etc, or go somewhere.
I left Ghana and strangely, they wanted to know the exact hotel I lived in Ghana, I tried to explain it about over 10, but he needed a name. I picked one in Tokoradi, Ghana, got out my guidebook and showed him the address… Just too silly, I do hope people do have wandering addresses more than permanent, the permanent would mean there is no tourist in Ghana.
Visa Entente is the Visa I received from the Benin Embassy in Abidjan, that allows me to enter 5 countries, one I do not need a visa for because I am from America, this is Ivory Coast or Cote d’Ivoire.
My country path is Cote d’Ivoire - Ghana - Togo - Benin - MAYBE NIGERIA - Niger - Burkina Faso. The Visa Entente is good for 5
Therefore, I need the Ghana Visa; I got it in one day in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The Visa Entente or Turistique worked well, however the man wanted to check to be sure I was continuing or following path away from where I received the Visa. I am glad I am American and can enter Cote D’Ivoire without a Visa; it allows me to fly in and out of Abidjan if I wish, or continue to Liberia or whatever you spell it.
Togo Visa Entente
2006 August 28 Enter Togo
Monday, August 28, 2006
I have left the country of Ghana, and entered the country of Togo. I am in the city of Lome, that is I would say, ON the border, it does not seem to be separated, or is a border town.
I think it is my number 74 country, I think either 9 or 10 years now of traveling the planet earth.
2006 August 28 Enter Togo