Togo Travel Stories, Page 6

West Africa I Crossed the Line

West Africa I Crossed the Line
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, August 9, 2007

A French Expatriate who has lived in West Africa for 27 years asked me a question. About two months ago, a German man who has lived here for about 20 years asked me a question.

The question scared me, and more I hear this type of question, the more afraid I become. I went back to the French Expat and reaffirmed that this is the question he asked, because I was hoping it would go away, it did not, I understood him correctly.

The same question is asked everywhere in the world, and it does not scare me, it just annoys me. I would say, there are reasonable questions to ask a normal man, and there are unreasonable questions.

There are unreasonable questions asked daily in West Africa. One example is the question by girls here in Togo,
- Buy me a Cell Phone? -

A very good example of unreasonable questions asked in many countries. I walk into a restaurant, the person hands me the menu, then immediately asked,
- What do you want to order? -

The question,
- Give me money. -

This is easy, reasonable, and implies reason, if you are stupid enough; I want you to give me money. The buy me a cell phone question could be this way, however I really think it is more on the side of unreasonable.

The annoying question by the waiter is more difficult. He or she is a human, this implies that they know we think, read, and reason. Therefore when I am handed a menu to read, the person giving me the menu has to give me time to read it, this is reasonable.

I do continue with the server, and say,
- No, I do not know, I must read the menu. -

The person continues to stand there, and I must say,
- Go over there and stand please. -

To answer or even to start to answer the question about what I want to eat is unreasonable and if I tried to answer, I would say,
- Only crazy people ask crazy questions. -

This is the essence of a dysfunctional person; they see unreasonable situations and questions as normal. While a reasonable person, who is more functional would consider these questions as non-functional questions. There is just no way to make this question function; it is an unreasonable question, not possible to answer.

Well, what happened the other day, the French man asked me a question that was impossible to answer, except for me to say,
- This question is impossible, it is crazy question. -

The German Expat started to ask the same type of questions, and I realized this was not a French and German person; I was talking with people who became the West African culture.

I titled this Blog post,
- West Africa I Crossed the Line -

Not the French guy, or the German guy, but me. I crossed the line. If I am to remain sane, I need to have more sane people around me, or I will eventually become West African and start to ask unreasonable questions.

I keep thinking about the lack of reasoning of an Anonymous post and the serendipity, (my new pet word) of the comment about crazy.

I said in the post,
- I am trying to rent a home in Lome to use as a resting house for weary travelers. -

There was sort of off topic comment, I allowed because there was a thread of sense, because I did say I wanted to start a resting house.

COMMENT BY READER
- why make a guest house there ? To house travelers with malaria ? No repeat business bad business model
come on Andy are you losing your mind ? -

I was laughing as I read the comment; I almost fell out of my chair laughing. I instantly started to reply to the comment, then stopped myself, and thought, no, I had better think, maybe I am crazy, and then one crazy person will be answering another crazy person. However, after some time to think, I again know I am still sane, and the comment is has some semblance of reasoning, however typical of a person who does make money.

MY ANSWER TO COMMENT,
I will answer,

On the question,
- come on Andy are you losing your mind ? -

I would answer:

YES,
I am losing my mind, I am positive I am losing my mind, I am 100 percent sure I am slowly losing my mind. I am not crazy today, however I can see I am starting to how some signs of becoming crazy.

Now, I am a recovering Alcoholic, I am not a cured Alcoholic, I am a crazy person in remission.

I am not in remission from drinking of alcohol, I am in remission of the crazy dysfunctional thinking, whereby my symptoms were made evident by the way I drank alcohol.

YES, I am 100 percent sure I am slowly losing my mind here in West Africa, only crazy people listen to the people here.

Therefore, the comment was acutely relevant, serendipitously correct, and hysterically accurate. He or she said something succinctly poignant to my mental condition today by accident. Then making it even funnier was it was then preceded by another totally crazy and unreasonable comment that emulates why I know I am going crazy. I actually considered it to maybe make sense.

Crazy people listen to other crazy people and think it sounds sane.

THINK… If a French guy and a German guy say crazy comments to me and I try to find reason in them, by deductive reasoning a person could say, I am crazy. Trust me, I do tell a waiter with a menu I have not read, he or she is crazy.

Just say No.
I just told the German man, NO
I told the French man, NO yesterday.

I am now down to a team of one, Me against all of West Africa.

Now, the French guy did say a very smart comment, mixed up with some insane comments. He was telling me when a person comes to Africa to do business; they get a partner, a local partner to help them.

I have said many times, Africa does everything wrong for tourist, there is nothing done right here in West Africa. Example, in one of the least favorite tourist destinations on the planet, they make the most Visa rules to come and see it. Nigeria, study what you need to get a Visa to Nigeria, there is nothing about it that says, come to Nigeria to visit, be a tourist. The place everyone wants to leave, is the most difficult to enter.

People come to Togo, go, and eat in French Restaurants that cost the same as France. I have now seen and understand the terms Colonialism and the “Ugly American.”



This is a photo of why people come to Africa, India and all the places on a continuum between the USA civilized and Africa uncivilized.

The people who want more relaxed and safer trips go to Europe or for the average American; they go and travel around the USA.

People travel to primitive uncivilized places to see this, trust me, I came to see if there is girls walking around topless or bare breasted and I am sad Marcus did not see them, he spent too much time avoiding Africa.

Crazy or Primitive
Sane or Civilized
Fun or Crazy
Sane or Insane
Adventure is primitive behavior.

Primitive and un-civilized people are superstitious, unpredictable and irrational, the make random bad decisions, they are unreasonable.

If a person enters a culture, they become that culture, they are not an island, and they become the people they accept as friends. If I make Africa my friend, I will become Primitive or what people normally call crazy, I should not cross the line and make them my friends. I need to bring people to Africa to change Africa.

To not leave the smart people hanging,
1. There is no repeat business at a guesthouse, there are referrals and everyone would refer a guesthouse that is fun, in the middle of crazy stuff.
2. A white person can rent a room for 20-50 US dollars to another white person. One room will pay the cost of renting a home. I would plan on renting 90 percent below market rate.
3. Malaria, yes people that need help, weary travelers, people that need to go to a place whereby they are safe, sound, and can learn how to travel in Africa.

The person who commented thinks business is doing something that makes people happy, business is selling or giving a service that is needed, that is a business model.

On a second phase of his comment, I read it and realized the person was saying this, why do a business in a place that is not fun. Then he or she wrapped it in this Business Model crap, I was fully aware that they was saying one thing and meaning something else, a totally dysfunctional crazy comment, and this person would fit right into Africa.

Therefore, I was again laughing, as I am not sure I am happy here, so in a very stupid very serendipitously and not clear manner, this person said comments that were accurate, but had no idea why. This is Africa, nothing makes senses, but then again, they give you what you want. The sign is on the beach, and everywhere you look, you see people pissing.

I am crossing the line, I want to avoid African people, I crossed the line, I am making long checklist of ways to avoid talking with African people and really, it is easy, I can just leave.

Note, I was scared of the French and German person comments because only a crazy person would listen to these crazy comments.

The comment was on this link:
http://www.hobotraveler.com/2007/08/importance-of-french-spelling.html

West Africa I Crossed the Line


Chlorine Used to Wash Dishes

Chlorine Used to Wash Dishes
Lome, Togo West Africa
Monday, August 6, 2007

I went to the Hand of God Cafeteria here in Lome, and found I was given a new lesson in how to choose a Restaurant. I have went around and around in my head, trying to choose a Restaurant, and in the end, I am happy I do not enter the kitchens.



I have found a very good place to two egg sandwiches in the morning. I order a two egg omelet, which technically by definition is a couple of eggs mixed up then fried to completely cooked. Extra ingredients are more or less a luxury, I get mine with Peppers inside.

I have always like to watch my food being cooked, it makes me feel safer to see the cook.



My new lesson was, watch the people who clean the dishes. I am not going to try to inspect where they clean the dishes first, then once I see how they clean the dishes, I then will choose the person to be my cook, and watch the cook. I would almost say in West Africa, the men are pigs, need to find a female cook.

This is Rochele the cook, if she does not cook, I do not eat.



The menu, although I think more for looks, what you can eat and what is on the menu are always different.



Soap Suds, with some Javel added to the water, a chlorine product and used to purify water.

I was recently in Atakpame, the man at the cafeteria dumped the water from a can of peas into the dish soap as I was watching. I lost my appetite. I then proceeded to watch them do this water wash down of the pans with no soap.

People are delusional that they do not drink the water, I have never seen dishes cleaned in purified water. A great restaurant in the world has hot water to clean. I dream of hot water being used in Kitchens, and think all the talk about purified water is childish rubbish, and lacks any critical reasoning. Everyone drinks the water, it is not possible to avoid it when traveling.

My new lesson in Restaurants, I need to first inspect the dish washer or dish washing, then watch the cook. It is possible to avoid a bad dish washer, but not possible to avoid drinking the water.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine

Chlorine Used to Wash Dishes


The Cost of My Travel Decisions

The Cost of My Travel Decisions
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I was asked the other day, how much do I spend per day here in Togo. I had to think, but my answer was, 7-8000 CFA per day, or about 15 US per day as of August of 2007. I think two months ago, this amount was closer to 10-15,000 CFA per day, or about 20-30 US per day. The cost of living in West Africa is continually going down as I understand how Africans and French people think.

I have sat here thinking for ten minutes, if you wanted to somehow evaluate the travel skills of a person, ask them,
- How much is your room? -

Then go look at the room.

If a person is living with another person and they are paying, this is more or less a taker, a person who will take to live cheap, a person to be wary of as they will sponge on you to live.

I have been analyzing the HDI - Human Development Index, a lot of misinformation, however still a guide. I think you could safely take,

(Estimated Yearly earned income for FEMALE)
/ 365 days in per year.
= Target

Whatever you pay above this target amount is probably the more you are listening to the other tourist and not trying to make good decisions.

I can only weigh my decisions in dollars, I must use money as my guide, to not use money as the guide will make your travel agent very happy.

I have been thinking, if a person is willing to go camping in the USA for a month, they probably can travel ok in Central, South America or Africa ok, Asia is easy, the quality of rooms in Asia for the month is a great value. West Africa has really great rooms, however to stay on budget you need to slide down to camping level now and then.

The Cost of My Travel Decisions


What is Possible What is Not

What is Possible What is Not
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
What is possible and what is not, I am alone here in Lome, Togo and I am not sure where to go to find answers.

I now have a motorcycle here in Togo, it is very convenient in Togo, however, I am not positive I can take it across the Togo-Ghana border and continue traveling on to Accra, Ghana with the motorcycle.

I am positive I can travel without a motorcycle, I am not positive I can travel with a motorcycle.

I suppose that statement made the decision for me, I need to travel without a motorcycle and save the not-so-fun test of taking motorcycles across borders for someone else.

I think of myself as very conservative, I do not take many risk. I think my expertise lies in being able to evaluate the situation and make the proper decision.

If you study my trips, I do not get robbed, I do complain about bad manners. However, at the end of the day, I have made very few bad judgments. I am thinking about bad travel judgments, I think bad travel judgments are can only be measured by money, how much money did it cost because of my judgments.

I make decisions that I know work, what is possible, not what is maybe possible, I make the trip, I go where I want to go.

What is Possible What is Not


African Clatter

African Clatter
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sometimes I listen to a song, and then I proceed to sing the song to myself for days even after I am bored with the song.

I am having the same experience now with a desire to explain in words what I am feeling about Africa. Maybe the one word that sums up my feelings about Africa is Clatter, there is African Clatter.

I talk to myself, and describe Africa with analogies.

Clatter:
- Africa is like listening to five children dig through the cupboards to find the pots and pans to make cookies -

Stalled:
- Africa is like a car stalled in the middle of a five-lane highway. -

Waiting:
- Like standing on a train track and waiting for the train to hit me. -

Dating:
- Having a gorgeous girl say yes to go out on a date, then deciding it would be more fun to go out with guys. -

Dead End:
The road stops here.

Toilet Seat:
The man before did not lift the toilet seat.

I am going to stop, I have done this for days now, I need to stop. I do wish to stop the clatter in my brain.

On person doing a review of the book Dark Star Safari, called Paul Theroux a
- Misanthropist -
I think about this word, which is correct, did Paul Theroux love or hate the people of Africa?

African Clatter


Is Talking Loud Primitive Behavior

Is Talking Loud Primitive Behavior
Lome, Togo West Africa
Monday, August 6, 2007

I would propose that talking loud, screaming the words is Primitive Behavior. I have observed people for many years in many countries. The majority of the time I do not understand the words, I can just observe their body language and the volume of their speech.

When adults are talking to children, they talk louder and move aggressively towards them.

If you observe adults, they too will talk loud. There does seem to be times when a very civilized person in the group feels compelled to holler at the uncivilized members of a group to silence them. There does appear to be a need for civilized people to act primitive.

I cannot see value in analyzing all the complex conversations of groups as I cannot predict what they will do it too random, however I can say that when the volume of speech increases there is a need to see if danger exist.

Secondly the wise member of groups seem to walk away from loud words, thereby having less problems. The more decibels of noise the more dangerous the situation, as random behavior increases.

The louder the sounds the more dangerous the situation.

Is Talking Loud Primitive Behavior


Togo a Test of Love

Togo a Test of Love
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, August 5, 2007

If you loved me, you would give me money.

I think giving money to Africa is an interesting test.

A person that is lovable takes only what they need.

A person that does not love you takes as much as possible and continues to ask for more.

Togo a Test of Love


Importance of French Spelling

Importance of French Spelling
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, August 5, 2007

I am trying to rent a home in Lome to use as a resting house for weary travelers. My new proposition of working serendipitously on projects is helping me to be more patient with the Togolese people as nothing I am focusing on progresses, however what I am not focusing on does progress towards a goal.

Last night the one older women who I have had maybe 10 discussion meeting with called me on the cell phone, I am not sure all she said, but I heard the words,
- tout de suite -

These words mean right now, so I walked to the woman house immediately.

- tout de suite -

I looked these words up in the French Dictionary, and if I would have typed them, I would have written,
- tout suit -

This is my French Lesson problem, I am learning French as I hear it and not as I read it, write it maybe, then try to say it. I hear the word and I try to repeat the word, I often do not see the word written.

For Example, when I want a Taxi to go slow, or I want a person to be careful I need to say,

- Dousma -
or
- Douzsma -

I cannot find the word, the ironical problem of a dictionary, if I knew how to spell it I could find it in the dictionary, and if I knew how to spell it, I would not be trying to find it in the dictionary.

The older women does not read French well, however she does speak French more or less ok. I can read French well, however I my pronunciation is bad.

The women asked an younger niece or relative to come to the house and translate from Mina to English or English to Mina etc. The first language of the older woman is Mina, Ewe or something local. The contract is in good French.

I am being weighed by my intentions, the lady can see that the contract is in good French, as her one son requested of me, he said write an offer
- bien clair -

This is the annoying part, I cannot find these phrases as they are said to me, I understood what the man said, I know he wants a very clear offer made to them in French, so I did this as I heard him say.

I skipped the offer part, I thought this is too crazy, I will write the lease contract I want and they can read it as an offer is just a something prior and not clear, the final lease is clear.

Except anything I do, never progresses towards my intended goal. I wrote a very clear lease in French for the son to read, the mother to read and nobody reads it.

Serendipitously working towards the goal, I now do not care, as who cares, I am not trying to accomplish something by doing a clear contract, I know I am trying to accomplish something by accident. What I did serendipitously was demonstrate to her I am serious.

Serendipitously working is trying to make good accidents happen, make good accidental progress towards some cloudy and overcast goal. The difficult part is to not stay focused, just keep intending to make progress and do not enforce people to focus, allow them to go off-topic.

I keep learning in life, people only hear what they want to hear.

Read the Blog comments and you know they hear what they want to hear, not what I wrote. And I know there is a difference between reading and hearing, however this is the nature of understanding.

I have had many people say to learn words in the contextually, that you can learn words by using them or how they are used in sentences.

I think… let me think of a percentage, I think this is
95 percent horseshit, words said by people to lazy to go and look up words, however 99 percent of the people on the planet.

I must learn to spell the word, I must look the word up in the French Dictionary, I must read the word, I must write the words. When I hear a word, I need to somehow learn how to spell the word.

I am in country where people do not write words down, they do not spell words, they do not speak French, they speak Mina. I am trying to accidentally learn French, by continuously learning the words I am not trying to learn. However, I must read the word, write the word, and I need to continually check the spelling.

If I spell it correctly, I have a chance of pronouncing it correctly.

People that want to learn a language have dictionaries.

Weary travelers want to rest in a place where what they expect to happens, does indeed happen.

Importance of French Spelling