Habituation to Danger

Habituation to Danger
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 5, 2007

I was in Cusco, Peru, and a man with me used a Credit Card in the restaurant to pay for he meal. I about came unglued, I was so angry I wanted to slap him and the friends agreeing to this idea.

He sort of said, this is my habit, not quite the same as Habituation, but sort of along those concepts or lines.

People learn to ignore danger, I am not sure having thousands of dollars rang up on your credit card is dangerous, but it will cause you unlimited grief.

People ignore this as a real problem, and it to me causes unknown amount of financial problem as the naïve of the planet, just hand over their credit cards to some of the most dishonest people on the planet.

Giving a unknown worker, in a poor country, the ability to tack on two months of their wages to your credit card seems silly, and they know how to make it work. The person goes home and never even looks at the bills close, they just pay.

When we ignore or minimize the danger of a situation it become more dangerous.

A Habit of ignoring the real danger.

I was walking home last night, the Islamic people were lined up praying along the road. Groups of people were having fun, men in groups that are bullies by nature. The people were dancing in the streets, the motos were zooming by. (Moto is Motorcycle Taxi.)
I am different, I do not blend in. The do not ignore me.

Example of danger - I was surrounded by potential danger.

I have become Habituated to the Motos. The danger was reminded to me as I say a moto come inches from slamming into a person in front of me, as he jumped and screamed at the motorcycle driver.

I have learned not to step left or right fast, as they do not give but inches of clearance. They easily hit me. If I am walking down the road, I have to look back carefully and not move to the left or right fast. This is very dangerous, a motorcycle can be going by at about 25 miles per hour. It probably will not kill me, but it will hurt me.

I become habituated to this danger and forget how dangerous it really is and act the same as the Togo people. I ignore the danger, I continually remind myself to not walk on the road when possible to get a good two feet off the road so when the motos come by, they hit someone else.

I think bikes are enormously dangerous as they compete with the motos, and walking does not. The Peace Corps rides bike, so they can avoid the Motos, and in my opinion now are in greater risk. A bike is not as safe to me as Moto, a car coming up behind a bike, THAT MUST STAY ON THE HIGHWAY, or wants to stay on the highway can be hit easily. A Moto is going fast, it cannot be hit from behind by a truck easy, the problem is head on, but the same for bikes.

When a Moto goes faster than 25 miles per hour here, it become more dangerous than a bike.

There to me is this ignoring of the checks and balances of danger. Bikes do not go fast enough to not be hit from behind. Walking done the road is more dangerous than a bike, a bike is more dangerous than a moto, to get hit from behind, the slower the target the easier to be hit.

I take motos and would ride a bike in Africa, because there are fewer cars. I would not ride a bike in Asia, and India is nuts.
The know of two travelers killed because of hit from behind by cars, one in Mexico and one in Bolivia.

I do not compete with crazy drivers for the highway, I walk off the road, and the crazy drives can have it to use. When on a bike, or walking on the road, we must share the road with a life threatening danger.

I am always telling myself, cars are killers, and who or what type of person am I trusting with my safety.

When I am Habituated to the danger, when I feel safe, this is when I start to think the most, am I really safe. I know I will be robbed, killed or hurt the worst when I feel the safest, I have turned off my danger meter or fear has left, I have learned to ignore, because the existence of danger is a habit.

Asia is very dangerous for cars, South America is Second, Central, Mexico after that, I would say Africa is safer than most, and if I was going to ride a bike or drive a car, it would be here.

But there is no shortage of insanely dangerous drivers on the roads

In Europe it can be very safe near the roads to walk, then the motorcycle paths become a danger, the USA is safe, then we go faster, and more people die in car accidents. The underdeveloped nations driver slower, they just maim you.

Habituation to Danger

My Backpack is a Boat

My Backpack is a Boat
Tsevie, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 19, 2007

I can carry 80 liters of gear easy in my two backpacks. I hope to add a few caps and increase the easy capacity to 160 liters of junk, this is about 35 kilos or close to 80 pounds.

Today was a sad day in Lome for me this morning before I left for Tsevie, as I decided to offload about 20 liters of non-essential items. I left a lot of gear or my home furnishings in Lome in the room, and moved on down the road.

I have been carrying about 100 liters of volume, however to do so, I needed to tie a bag on the bottom of my backpack. The backpack worked perfect for this, and when Michael was with me, he tied or used bungee cords and connected his gear on the bottom of one of my bags. If I put on the bottom it makes the ride on the Motorcycle Taxis more comfortable as it allows the bottom of the bag to sit higher and less stress on my shoulders while on the bike.

However, I trimmed the boat, and offloaded some cargo. Not because I wanted too, but because I like convenience. Tying the bag on the bottom took time, and I did not feel lean and mean with the set up.

A photo of Michael way off and the photos is blurred, however you can see that the small grain bag full of his gear on the bottom allows the backpack to ride lighter on the shoulders of the rider. If it hangs, the weight it continually bouncing, I also can loosen the straps and allow to also go lower, but the bottom bag helps a lot.

The grain bag was not easy to tie on, and the truth is, I had a lot of non-essential items, and miscellaneous pack rat items, some experimental gear items, that were not working.

This is my home, these are my possessions, I become enamored with them and do not like to let go. I do have a clothing policy, if I do not wear it often and regular, I throw it away, normally means I leave in the hotel room.

I need an easy to clip on cap or bag, that I can load, then just clip on the bottom, when I get near the combinations of material, tailor, clips and such, I will make one. Annoying to think how the boys of Nepal could not get their act together to make this simple item, or I would have four right now.

The way I pack a bag is like a boat, the heavy in the bottom, the side-to-side weight is balanced, I try to distribute the good properly, and if the boat is overloaded, I go to port and unload some cargo, and leave again. I have a front and back pack, this distributes the weight to the front and back, they are both the same size, and 40 liters in capacity. I do not really care about weight, as I never plan on walking, I plan on taxis, except in Europe and then I buy a 2-wheel cart, because all I do is walk, hard to get fat there.

Right now, I would like to be carrying about 5 more kilos of books in English as I am down to one English book, and Africa is French.

Backpacks, Gear, West Africa Gear, Motorcycles, Togo Transportation, Togo, West Africa Transportation, Taxi,

Togo How Do I Feel

Togo How Do I Feel
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 26, 2007

After my Motorcycle accident.
I am getting these small email from my parents, how do you feel, are you ok, do you need something

How do I feel?

feel like I was doing a two a day American Football practice in August and am very worn and tired.

I was a middle linebacker, I remember when I screamed through the line and sacked the quarterback in scrimmage.

Now, this brings on a torrent of screams from the coach, the Center and the Left Guard are worried, if it happens again, the coach say,
- You are going to run the ridge till Hell Freezes over. -
I have embarrassed them.

On the next play, for some strange reason, I am out of play, I fall down in the backfield around where the safeties would be, as I am getting up, the Left Guard and Center see me, I am out of play. But, I am the threat, they decide to take the cheap shot, as my knees clear the ground, I am hollering, hey, I am out of play. This is just scrimmage we are on the same team.

They take the shot, two fat, overweight, farm boys from Indiana, with a head of steam do a dive block into me at about rib level, I am on my knees, they plough me into the ground, I am punished.

This is a real story and this is how I feel, like I got punished by two very large Farm boys in Indiana who wanted payback.

What can you say, it is over, it happened, I was in a motorcycle accident, I accept it hurts. I really do not have problem with physical pain, it is pretty normal in travel to not be comfortable.

I was trying to avoid the fight with the Peugeot Car Taxis, this is why I was on the Moto, I wanted to be more comfortable. It is real ineffective to talk about pain, explain pain, it passes, I broke my femur in four places and walked around on crutches for a year. I know 99 percent nobody cares, yes they can give platitudes and comments, but who cares, I had to let the time pass, then all was ok. It is very easy to say you care, difficult to show it.

All the comments were just reminders I was damaged. Now, then again, my parents are worried, and they do not see American Football as dangerous, they can relate, understand me feeling pain for the home team.

Time allows all pain to pass, I have no choice, it will go away, I am positive of this, if I wait and try not to push to hard, time will heal all my pains in life, both physical and mental.

Health, Injury, Sports, Togo, Moto, Motorcycles, Motorcycle Taxi, Tranportation

Togo How Do I Feel

Motorcycle Purchased in Togo

Motorcycle Purchased in Togo
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

125 CC Sanya, Electric Start, Four Cycle for 325,000 CFA and 50,000 CFA for Insurance and Plates, this is about 750-800 US dollars, and I should be able to resell it for about 450-500 or more after one year of use.

I am now the semi-proud owner of a 125 CC large chasis Sanya, made in China motorcycle. It was an internal fight, a struggle up to the moment I rode away form the shop, should I or shouldn’t I buy this motorcycle. In the end, I think I am safer to drive the motorcyle myself on roads with very few cars. West Africa has what I would say is very light traffic, except in largest city per country.

I feel that a person who knows a road is a better driver than a person who does not know the road. However, these are not difficult to drive roads.

I must use a motorcycle, I have no choice, I must either take a Motorcycle Taxi or I must drive my own motorcycle. If I thought I would stop taking motorcycle taxis or that was even remotely possible in Togo, I would have abandoned the idea of buying a motorcyle.

I just returned from an afternoon drive around the city, I feel confident now in my decision, I was not in one too-close-to-the-other-motorcyle moment the whole time I was gone. Normally, what is difficult for me to handle of their driving is they will not allow more than the width of a persons distance when they pass either a person walking or another motorcycle. This is not enough allowance for human error. If a person sways or jumped into the road, there would be an accident. When I driver I allot adequate space between me and the othere people walking or driving to allow time to stop.

I feel safer now, I do hope I am not delusional.

I drove up many a small lanes, drove way up the hills of Atakpame, and around in small neighborhoods. I saw in one hour more small unique area then I knew existed, they were just annoyingly too far of a walk to explore before. I am thinking this is my new exploring the world friend. A motorcyle will go many remote places and allow me to take more photos of my world.

Motorcycle Purchased in Togo

Motorcycle Trip Atakpame to Lome Togo

Motorcycle Trip Atakpame to Lome Togo
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I rode my new Moto from Atakpame, Togo to Lome, Togo yesterday, the trip was easy and uneventful, just a lot of vibration. Riding a motorcycle is about as if being on a riding lawnmower for a few hours, not much difference, except the riding, lawnmower is probably more comfortable.

There is some Easy Rider Movie, Route 66, and Rebel with out a cause or clause in their contract allure to Motorcycles. I have owned a few motorcycles and I think I took my longest distance trip yesterday; I have rode one motocross for longer, but not just down the road.

Travel Golf Scores

Starting 167 Kilometers
Stopping 332 Kilometers

Starting Time 7:39 am
Stopping Time 11:11 am

I used about 2000 CFA in Petrol or Gas. Gas is 505 CFA per Liter for Super.

I traveled 165 Kilometer in about 3 hours, so I guess I could guesstimate future travel times at about 50 Kilometers per hour. I would say, all Moto rides are Holes in Ones, but not a game of travel golf, more avoiding the game.

Traveling by Motorcycle in Togo is about twice as easy or three times easier than by public transportation. There is not much of a challenge to the motorcycle for me, more or less just a noisy car drive to the market.

There is travel bragging, and many people with Motorcycles want to say I rode a Motorcycle. I may think more in terms of challenges than in terms or bragging, I have no one to brag to so I would have to claim no joy, not much reason to brag.

I am doing a lot of debating in my head, is a moto better to accomplish my goals than public transportation? I have to say yes, because I purchased the moto, but than again, I can sell it also.

The prime directive of travel is to enjoy life, then comes the problem of how I enjoy life is different from how another person enjoys life. I like to go to the edge of the cultures, to reach out blindly and feel for where the edges are located. To get very close to falling off the culture and bruising myself, but not getting too hurt.

Yes, that is it, in Africa, there are some big drops, it is possible to drop off the edge, and I am not sure this is possible sometimes in Southeast Asia, hard to drop off the edge into the abyss or no mans land. What do I mean, I do not know, but I do know there be dragons on the other side. I do not want to go off the edge of this culture and find out what is there, I may not make it back.

Iraq or Africa…? Which is more dangerous?

I think driving a motorcycle is more dangerous than taking public transportations. Taxis and Buses will not drive blindly into dangerous areas of a city; I can do this on a motorcycle or by car. I have not found many real Ghettos in Africa, no Hoods where all the bad guy sit around waiting for stupid people or chumps. Africa for sure has it stupid white people, and they are in a higher percentage or ratio here than in Asia or South America, the average white person in Africa needs a servant to help them find the door. They come to help and need help to find the people.

My goal is somewhat nebulous, I want to go to small villages and look around see what they are growing, what is the business of the day and why they carry water. See if there are smiles on their faces, I am always amazed when someone says a bunch of smiling people are suffering, and not saying bunch of frustrated workers at some big business in the USA are not suffering because they make so much money. I weigh suffering by smiles on faces, not by money.

People tell me I have freedom, I do not dream of freedom, I am free.

Motorcycle Trip Atakpame to Lome Togo

Lome to Kpalime Togo by Motorcycle

Lome to Kpalime Togo by Motorcycle
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Sunday, July 29, 2007

This shows loops of Togo, a loop is a possible path to follow.

2 hours and fifty minutes, porthole to porthole, hotel to hotel and I estimated about 120 Kilometer. The ride was great, the rain has cooled off the country and made it green, the traveling in Togo is slowly becoming more of green lush travel and not hot dust travel. I see now as being a good time to travel in West Africa, as the temperature is cooler, than one, two, or three months ago.

The road between Lome, and Kpalime was great, I counted about four potholes, a two lane highway. However leaving Lome is a mess, the number of people along side the road makes it a maze, and the taxi will just pull over and stop anywhere. I could easiy take movies of them driving backwards down the road to retrieve passengers they passed.

This road between Lome and Kpalime is not as wide as the road between Lome and Atakpame, I think a bike rider would have some trouble at times. I am leaning towards leaving later in the day. West African people do not work very hard, but they do wake up early. I am an early riser and on the sitting next to the same clock, therefore all the Togo people leaving Lome, left at the same time as I. It is possible and probably the traffic would be halved if I left at 11 or noon, as from noon until three is siesta or lay around time here in Togo.

Togo Transportation, Moto, Motorcycles, Togo,

Lome to Kpalime Togo by Motorcycle

Make a Motorcycle Side Cart

Make a Motorcycle Side Cart
Video showing a cart that is connected to an ordinary motorcycle, a person can watch this video and get a great idea on how to build. This video is for Ghana, Togo, Benin and all them other West Africa Countries that do not utilize the potential of motorcycle.
Philippines - Southeast Asia
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Andy of ---
A motorcycle side cart used to haul goods in the Philippines.

The one man said it cost about 20,000 pesos to make, my bet is about 200 U.S. dollars on the high side, labor is 5 dollars per day.

Trying to show how the cart is connected to the motorcycle.

When I was in West Africa, it kept striking me funny, why do these people not have sidecars or side carts? Sometimes the government stops good ideas, I do not know. However, if they wanted a good look at a Motorcycle sidecar, this link would give you a good look. I kept thinking, I need to give these people a good look at what other countries are doing.

To see the video, click on this link:
31 Meg for about 4 Minute video, top quality.
Make a Motorcycle Side Cart

Make a Motorcycle Side Cart

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