Export Import

Making a Backpack

Making a Backpack
Katmandu, Nepal Asia
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I am making a backpack here in Katmandu, Nepal; there are many problems and many solutions. My goal is to have a solution to all the problems encountered when carrying a backpack for travel. I hope in my travels I have encountered the majority of problems, thereby being a person capable of incorporating into the design a solution to 90 percent of the problems.

I say 90 percent of the problems, because there is a 10 percent gap where one solution conflicts with another solution. For example, there is a constant desire to keep this small enough to be a carry-on bag, yet big enough to carry as many possessions as a person wants.

So do I make big and the person needs to check in the bag all the time or do I make small enough to be a check in bag. A bag that is carried on is safer than a bag that is checked, as it does not leave the possession of the person. However, when a person visit’s a country and does the normal tourist behavior of buying, probably the number activity of tourist, then where do they put these new souvenirs and wants.

How do I manage when a zipper breaks?
How do I manage if someone cuts the bag?
How do I manage if one of the harness straps breaks?
How do I manage if one of the clips breaks or is lost?

The list of problems with a bag is in many ways endless, therefore in my desire to make the perfect bag, I have made a list of all the possible problems with a bag. I continually add to this list.

I then try to design into the bag a solution.

I have a desire to sell this bag; I often think the name of the bag should be…

I have a continuous fight with the two men who are the owners of the factory. It is hard to say this is a factory; it is group of about 20 sewing machines inside an apartment building piled high with bags and pieces of materials.

The fight is because, they make bags to sell, what makes a good bag to sell, they do not make a good bag for me. They know what sells and the bag I am designing probably would not sell in the stores in Katmandu, Nepal. The nature of Katmandu is about maybe trekking and price, they often sell only price, then they sell straps. The more clips and adjustments the better, the more widgets, the more gadgets, the more pockets the better.

How do I make a bag easy and quick to open and close, yet difficult for robber to open and close, this is in may ways the goal. I am putting an extreme amount of features that often a person could think is not needed.

Maybe call this the…
- Mosquito Net Option -

People can say, I do not need a Mosquito Net.
However, on the one night when they need a Mosquito Net, they will spend the whole night kicking themselves saying.
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -

I now always carry a Mosquito Net, the one time I did not carry a Mosquito net while in Europe, I was thinking to Europe was very modern. I lived one week in Brugge, Belgium in total misery as I was bitten every night in a room for one week. I discovered, hmm, Europe is not as modern as the United States. There were no screens on the windows.

I know a good traveler will choose a room, a situation where many of these options are never needed, this is the goal. However, when a person makes a mistake, as I am 100 percent, sure they will, I want them to have a solution.

Teaching the solutions in this bag is the next obstacle, how do I teach a person how to use the bag. I think I must include a DVD Video explaining all the options. Then when the person leaves it at home, destroys it, or just never looks at the DVC, they still have the option of going to the internet and viewing the video.

There are so many possible scenarios to design this bag, this is why I am on number 10 or 11, they are starting to blend together, and the last time I was in Nepal, we made three prototypes. Every time we make a bag, there are more solutions that are incorporated into the bag.

I am going through a very time consuming procedure this time, we are only making one specific component per day. We will assemble the 8 major parts now at the end, each day is one component. Therefore, to make one bag will take about 10 days, including the weekend and days off etc., the prototype requires I take 10 days to supervise and wait for one piece to be made.

Each component part becomes a prototype or an example, each stands alone, and I can change or redesign up to day of final assembly. This is not how they make bags in Nepal, it is not this strict, yet in many ways, they have never made an original, and they only copy.

Making a Backpack

Backpack Components Inspection

Backpack Components Inspection
Katmandu Nepal Asia
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I am drawing the various component parts of my backpack design daily. After completion, I than go to the internet café, publish to paper, and then go to the factory to show the master cutter.. I am not sure they understand them, the words are in English and not Nepali, yet there is idea that they now have been told. What the real success is I have slowed them down enough to focus on one component and not trying to think of the whole.

I go to the factory now at 11:00 AM, and then return between 3:00 and 5:00 pm to check. Today it will be at 3:00 because they turn off the electricity in this part of Katmandu from 4:00 to 7:30 pm.

I am trying to learn how to deal with overseas companies who speak a different language. It for sure would be easier if I would make the sample in the USA, and then bring here. Everything about manufacturing backpack has to do with the availability of fabrics, clips, and parts needed to make the bags.

This one component discussion and not the complete bag is windfall advancement in methodology. I am in a constant dilemma on how to control the quality and design.

Daily making and inspection of only one component solves the language problem. When they proceed fast, the number of misunderstanding is tripled.

I guess to plan, I need to think, one component, one day, therefore I need to count the number of parts, and add a few days for backup.

Backpack Components Inspection

Third World Business Blues

Third World Business Blues
Kathmandu, Nepal Asia
Thursday, January 25, 2007

I have until, February 12; I must leave Katmandu by February 12, 2007 and get to Delhi, India so I can fly round trip to the USA in the early morning of February 14, 2007.

I have 21 days to sit and have the Third World Business Blues.

I came at this dreadfully cold time of the year to Nepal for a reason, to come in low season to work on two projects. One was to make 50-100 backpacks to sell on my site. The second was to discuss with a Hotel to manage and fill her up, make into the first true HoboHideOut.com Hotel or Hostel.

I just do not know, the term Third World to me is kind of insult, however, I am frustrated.

I just do not know how a person or company can expect to start work at 11:00 in the morning or worst yet 1:00 in the afternoon and earn money.

I am giving up on making backpack in Nepal, as they say, some step on their (…), while others jump up and down on it.

I have the design for the backpack, I have the model, I have the money, and I cannot buy, or will not because I do not trust they show up and do what they say.

They are extremely angry with me, as I keep demanding a perfect bag, and for sure the bags made or copies of North Face, Lowe Alpine and every other knockoff they make is sub-quality work.

There is the answer, I am trying to work with a factory that spends their whole day cheating North Face, or making copies of them. It is like dating a married woman and expecting her to be faithful.

I have 21 days and nothing to do, maybe time to heal to Delhi; I could go to Goa to the beach for a couple of weeks.

I am up to my ears now in culture clash. Katmandu is a paradise in ways, not Katmandu, however during the summer; you are on top of the world. In the winter, you are on top of an ice cube. I put a thermometer in my toilet, I am going to see how cold it really is, and I do not think I want to know.

Note... I like tropical weather, anything is cold to me.

Hostel, Hotel, I am not sure, does not look good, it is about as likely as enforcing a legal contract in Nepal.

Third World Business Blues

Come To Togo Ghana Benin for Free

Come To Togo Ghana Benin for Free
Lome Togo, West Africa
Thursday, May 17, 2007

I could give a person the money for a one-way ticket to Ghana, Togo, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, or Cameroon.

A plane ticket from Chicago to Accra, Ghana is about 550 US dollars one way. The cost to ship a package from the USA to Lome, Togo with DHL is…


I asked a man from France, the owner of a Hotel here in Togo, how difficult to receive a package from the USA. He says, the problem is customs,
he said,

- I had one small pack of CD Room shipped, the lady said, 5000 CFA, then I said, how do you figure this, and she scratch the paper, and then said 13,000 CFA.. I gave the money. -

Something to do with value, 13,000 CFA is about 25 US Dollars. Say the price of the CD Rom was 50 US, then I ship 400, that is 8 time 13,000 of about 200 US for custom.

382.04 for Shipping
200.00 for Customs

582.04 Enough to pay a person to come to Lome one-way.

448.50 is the value of what is in the bag, and insure only does 250.

The problem here is not the money; the problem is the scratch, the unknown amount of money to pay. A bribe, funky, no law, no rules life is difficult, how much before I desert the box at DHL, and say too much. How much is this worth to me? Any way I do it, they say I have to go to the Airport to Customs in Togo to pay.

The value of the package is 400, this is reaching for 1000 US, I can fly to Europe and fly back, maybe for 400? Oversimplified, I need to sleep, room, etc, buy, wait and it is Europe, and I may want to talk French French.

I am in Lome, Togo, I think it may behoove me to have the package sent to Gabon, Cameroon or Equatorial Guinea where I will need the package. There is one thing I do not do though in this process, I do not force the play, and I will allow my sense of instinct to guide me. When the time is right, the correct decision will appear.

Ever wonder why these countries have no money, there is no way for the person in the country to buy or sell, the country is held hostage by the import - export on a made-to-help-them scale of payments. On the other hand, I doubt they pay any person tax.

Now, it comes down this, in the not so straight countries, do we know a friend of a friend, which works in customs in Togo?

The idea of a courier is to bring in a package and get it through customs with the least amount of hassle. I need to think… I keep thinking I will see a Peace Corps and ask, I have not seen one person from Peace Corps for a month.

This is crazy, a person can fly a body, a live person and easier than shipping a package, this is the world, this is not the USA.

Shipping, DHL Shipping, Export Import, Togo Economics, Togo,

Come To Togo Ghana Benin for Free

Doing Business With Liars

Doing Business With Liars
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, June 7, 2007

Is it possible for the majority of people in a country to lie more than the tell the truth? The answer is no, unequivocally no, but sometimes as a rich many in a poor country I believe the answer is yes. However, then you say to me,
- I am not rich! -

Sorry, I am sorry, perception is more important than reality, and the truth is you are rich walking around in 80 percent of the countries on the planet, and in about 2 percent you are poor.


Assume the average United States person earns 30, 000 US per year.

What would you think… if a person told you, I paid 60,000 US for a plane ticket to Africa? You say,
- You are RICH! -

You are rich, if you come from the USA, Europe, in some way took an airplane flight into West Africa, then you must be rich.


The average person in Togo is earning about 730 US Dollars per day.

A round trip ticket from Chicago to Togo should be about 1500 US Dollars, and wildly higher is you do not know what you are doing and an travel agent takes the advantage.

Congratulations, if you always dreamed about being rich, you can be, travel to India, Africa, Southeast Asia and you can revel in the joys of being rich. Taxis, cars, women, bars, all the debauchery and the fast life you could every want, you can be a jet setter, for once in your life you will not have to work for the man and you will be rich.

Also enjoy the good life, every person will come up and beg for money, ask you for favors and tell you many lies to try to earn money from the rich man. You will be famous, every person will stare at you, look at you and never allow you a moments peace.

These are the four major types of reason people lie off the top of my head with very little thought on the planet.

1. Lies for financial gain.
2. Lies to avoid to not be proven a fool. (Save Face)
3. Lies to increase appear a higher class level. (Not be low class)
4. Lies for protection of privacy, safety, and to remain separated.
(I am not from the USA) (I do not make much money.) (I have to leave, I have an appointment.)

Doing business with liars? Ok, who is a liar? I was a Estate Broker in the USA and I often am asked, why did you stop, I say,
- Who wants to listen to liars all day. -

Could you imagine being a car salesperson?

People think it is the sale person who lies, the truth is when it behooves a person to lie, when they believe they can say one small lie and make 1000 dollars.

Hello sir,
- How many miles doe you trade in have on it? -
Your answer is, no use in explaining, you now the lies you will tell.

Buying a home, buying a business, an the number is 100, 000, 200,000, 300,000 USA Dollars, one lie and the believe the can increase their gain by about 5000 US dollars.
In my estimation when I was a Real Estate Broker, at least 9 out of 10 people I did business with started the relationship with massive amounts of lies and slowly started to open up and tell the truth.

Hello, my name is Andy, how can I help you.
Blah Blah Blah and then I ask,
- What is your telephone number? -
The say,
- 523-0000 -

Thank you, I am looking at the caller ID and think, wow, they could be a little smarter, this one is on the slow side.

Did you lie on your taxes last year?

If the answer is yes, then please think, try to understand, so did all the other people you know, you can hear them brag about how they cheated the government out of tax money in the bar, the restaurant anywhere. I am amazed how people will just tell me, I did this and that and saved 20,000 dollars in taxes.

So how do you do business with liars? The truth is, you do it every day, all day, ever minute of every day. If the richest man the world walked into your life would you ask him for money, a small amount of money to set you up in business, or would you ignore him.

I am in Togo, I walk into a business here, I am the richest man they ever met.

You assume I cheated on my taxes, wrong, I did not, but I did lie, I showed I owed more money than was the truth, and then paid more last year the was correct. This is true. I did not want the government of the USA to think I was greedy, paying no taxes puts up red flags. Shame on me, I paid more taxes than I truthfully owed.

Lies, Business Section, Export Import, Togo, Money

Doing Business With Liars

Choosing a Translator

Choosing a Translator
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, June 9, 2007

STOP, please STOP

Hey, why are you adding ten sentences to my comment, I did no say that!

I despise having someone help me to buy something, I buy a horse and it looks like a camel.

I am trying to rent a house, whereby I can re-rent single for about 3000 CFA per room or 6 dollars US per day.

I have tried to use three people and one-half to talk.

1. German man who speaks English, and French.
2. Togo man who speaks some English, French and native language of Ewe.
3. Togo man who speaks Ewe and a little French.
4. Togo woman who speaks Ewe, French and some English.

All four will nod their head when they do not understand my English.

All four nod their heads yes when they do not understand my French.

Dysfunctional was once explained to me as two people who do not speak the same language walking around in a room. The two people talk and discuss many things, and never realize they do not speak the same language.

Dysfunctional does not function.

Meeting of the Minds

- Meeting of the minds (also referred to as mutual assent or consensus ad idem) is a phrase in contract law used to describe the intentions of the parties forming the contract. In particular, it refers to the situation where there is a common understanding in the formation of the contract. This condition is often considered a necessary requirement to the formation of a contract.

It is only when all parties involved are aware of the formation of a legal obligation is there a meeting of the minds. -
Stop Quote:

The can sure explain I words better than me… hehehe

Contract Law
This is saying. A contract is no good unless both parties understand what is in the contract. One way to do this is to demand the other person has an attorney with them, then when they say they do not understand, you say,
- Why did you pay the lawyer? -

Real Estate Brokers are mediators or arbitrators; their job is to create a legally enforceable contract between to people. Their job is also to explain why the property has the value, and why it will re-sell fast, after that there is a lot of personal noise and feely touchy things.

Meeting of the minds is needed and sometimes the other Broker, or clients have no mind, so how can they meet, and I want to say,
- Oh never mind, forget it. -

I want to know often if a translator understood my English, and I say,
- Explain to me what the word MIND means? -

If they get this, you are saying I am stupid look, then I know, yes, they are stupid, I need to know, I want to be positive, do you know the word before you enter me into a contract, you are me, you are my proxy, you are talking for me, and you do not know what the word is and refuse to tell me when you are stupid.

I say stupid; to me the stupid person will not say,
- I do not understand. -

I wish I had just 100 CFA for every time I say in a day,
- Pas Comprend. -
Je parler Anglais.

I do not say perfect, I am trying to test; I want to know if they are intuitively a zero. I want a person who can feel and understand me, and make the good choices; there is no way to translate perfect.

Unless we do the Vulcan Mind Meld, and as far as I know, this does not exist yet.

All I want is a meeting of the minds; I was that nice comfortable feeling of knowing in my heart, this person understands me. Therefore, I need to feel safe and comfortable with the person who is helping me to translate.

Choosing a translator is two things.
1. I talk to the translator.
2. The translator talks to the other person.
3. The person answers and the translator listen.
4. The translator tells me.

I try to think, I said 10 words, this person can use, I give permission to use 20, after that, they are putting words into my mouth, and are trying to talk for me, not translate.

I told the German man, do not talk, do not say anything, just stand there and say hello, next think I knew, the person I was meeting with was only talking to him and ignoring me, I thought, who is talking to whom. I got up and walked home, no meeting of my mind with the other mind; the translator is trying to rent a home.

My Togo friend, a fixer, the small boy as they Togo Rich men insult him and say, try to listen, but cannot culturally bring himself to say,
- I do not understand. -

He is very good, I can say,
- Explain to me the word rent. -

I do this one-minute manager thing, the one-minute goal setting. I was wanting to have a copy of the lease to read, I assumed it is in French, this was about five days ago, I have no lease to read, strange how one small item is a dysfunctional maze of meandering madness.

To choose a translator, I know I am doing well when the person speaks about the same number or words as I said. I will laugh when the person replies and the translator answers, not to clarify, but to answer for me, amazing sometimes the lack of care people have for the right of another person to speak for themselves.

It is better to not have a translator in about 90 percent of situations, I have had translators say yes, if I hear a Qui or Yes or some affirmation, I am worried, did this person just enter me into a verbal contract?

When I understand, I understand, and not before, when I have the meeting of the minds, when I feel comfortable that all people talking are on the same channel, and then maybe the translator is a translator.

I sometime think I should find listeners, listen to the conversation in my bad French and afterwards we will discuss whether the person understood or not. I know in the renting a home, I have the trump card, I will not give money until I know I understand, there is no amount of pressure possible that can force me to say yes to letting loose of the cash until I am sure I understand.

This is the goal of the translator to help me to understand, I have paid translators money and they got angry when I continued to say, I do not understand. I continue to say this until I do, and I will not nod my head and agree, I keep saying, I do not understand.

I think a highly intelligent person says, I could be wrong, I do not understand and a highly stupid person nods their head to say yes everything.

Walk up to a your translator, say something like,
- The moon is made of cheese. -

If the translator agrees, maybe you are dysfunctional…

Now, I wait, let us see who goes off topic first? Dysfunctional life is a Hobo Soup.

Hobby of mine is to listen to husbands and wives, then decide if they had a meeting of the minds…or just noise makers.


Real Estate, Translators, Translations, Languages

Choosing a Translator

African Siesta Economy

African Siesta Economy
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, June 9, 2007

I believe the job of management is not to manage people, however to remove the obstacle that are stopping them from working.

I am in Togo, the Siesta Economy here, they stop work from Noon until three, this almost brings the country to a halt, for sure the economy is sleeping. Hot countries live life slowly and this is good and a benefit, however the will and minds of people slows down and the desire to work is close to full stop.

I think the only solution to have a contiguous work force that actually is effective and does work it to start at 4:00 AM and work only to 12 Noon and call it quits for the day.

The ones that will not come to work at 4:00 can live how they live and have all the financial gain it allows.

The other alternative is just to work from 8 to 12 and forget the rest of spinning their wheels time.

African Siesta Economy

Hobo Members save 1000's of dollars by joining HoboTraveler and asking pro travelers questions on the Hobo Talk Wall.