West Africa Danger

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

Travel Intuition

Travel Intuition
Danyi Apeyeme, Togo West Africa
Sunday, April 22, 2007

I say and write often about how I rely on my intuition to help me when I travel, I would say, I especially use my intuition to protect me from danger.

I was reading this article about bad science that I picked up on from my Hobo News collection of feeds, I will put the references at the end.

There is an idea that our intuition can help to make decisions.

- Defined -
Instinctive knowledge:
the state of being aware of or knowing something without having to discover or perceive it, or the ability to do this. (2)

I need to make a decision.

I read, learn, study, ask sources, contemplate, I used deductive logic, inductive logic, and try to come to a decision.

The big but.

I have less than 2 seconds to make the decision.

In the well written article by Ben Goldacre, Saturday April 21, 2007 for
- The Guardian - News media source, that I found on the internet it states or talks about random information.

Interestingly in the article there are no references to sources, my intuition is nervous. I try to separate the facts from the fiction, and this is in the Bad Science or maybe what I would say is close to explaining aspects of Junk Science.

-I can tell you: facts are not entirely welcome. When all the evidence goes against someone's beliefs, they will tell you, quite plainly, that they just know it to be true. -

I think of Global Warming, I just cannot figure out a way to study this that would be even remotely conclusive. The sample needs to be maybe 1000 to 20,000 years to be adequate. I tend to just dismiss article or comments about the earth warming as silly and have had some people I highly respect tell me this is true.

I really do not think this is an intuition problem though, although my intutition tell me most are lying.

I need to make decisions as I travel and in life, which way to go, what is safe, is this person good or bad, can this source of information be trusted.

I remember a person and best advice maybe I have ever received on whether to trust and opinion of a person.
- IF a person can make money by giving you bad advice, then do not trust them.-

Intuition to me is about trust issues. If I do not feel safe, if for some reason I am questioning myself. If I do not just believe person, completely. I feel my intuition is giving me a nudge, and say,
- Andy, there is something wrong. -

If I feel weak in the decision, then I only have one choice.

IF I want to error on the side of caution. I have only one choice.
- I say no, and do not do it. -

There are many and most decisions that can be delayed, for sure as in the article about gamblers saying they shall win soon because they have been losing all night. They feel a lucky streak coming on, this is claiming knowledge that cannot be access by the facts.

I highly mistrust anyone that gambles, I feel they are relying on impaired sense of common sense. IF a person could win at random games, like the roll of the dice, then the casinos would not exist.

I think intuition is mostly for people, animals and extremely complicated problems and choices that need to be made. In the end, I still recommend a person use their intuition and make choices.

- If all feels good, then it is probably good. - ALL
- Make the choice, I trust or do not trust this person. -
Note - Do not trust anyone to trust or not trusting a person, I do not listen, I refuse to listen to people who say, I have this trusted friend. You cannot delegate the decision on whom to trust or not to trust. Then again, there are people that need babysitters. A guide is a guide, it is not a yes or no answer, and it is not a recommendation, or at least to me a guidebook is not a recommendation, it is more or less a suggested idea of where or what to do, it is listing some options and choices.

Intuition is for when there are just too many variables. Often these are not critical questions and really just a decision to say, do I want to go here or there. I want to know, what I want to do.

I had a choice to make recently in Tsevie, Togo, do I go towards the Benin border to chase the hippos, or do I go to Kpalime and north. I was talking to the taxi driver, he gave me two choices, I decided in that second to go to Kpalime, however all day, all night I was going towards the hippos. It came down to I wanted to go to Kpalime, not I need this or I need that or I told people this or that. I blogged this I planned that, I am traveling for fun; I follow the fun and my intuition.

Something is in the way of my mind, I just did not want to go towards Benin now, and the decision can be delayed forever or now, I can go if and when I want, or never, not anybody really cares, except for me.

I like the flip the coin thing, I choose head or tails then flip the coin, I then know what I wish it to be before I look at the results. I go with my wish, not the coin flip.

The article is about gamblers fallacy, and good, however if you are afraid, you are afraid.

I truly hope this link does not break and continues to exist; I apologize in advance if it breaks, and these news companies make difficult links. I have given essential information for searching, with the hope they do not delete the articles, ever…

Winning streaks that risk losing the plot
By Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 21, 2007
The Guardian

Intuition, Danger, West Africa Danger, What is good advice,
Travel Intuition

Starting My Togo Acting Career

Starting My Togo Acting Career
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Sunday, May 6, 2007

I have started my acting career here in Togo, and I have no desire to be an Actor, zero.

Last night, I lay in bed and a man came to the door, I keep saying
- Qui -
I think this mean who, I try
- Qua -
Or what in French

Nothing works, the knocking is persistent, I have not found anybody to have manners here so I stand up, grab my towel, I was in African Air Conditioning or the way to stay cool with no AC.

I open the door, and some man raises his hand and walk in or barges on me, he is with two others. I stand my ground towel and all, my computer is right behind me, I need to protect my child.

Noise and more noise, I have no idea who this is and frankly he is so irritating I think about hitting him, he is about a head shorter than me and weighing in at about 50-70 pound less.

After a lot of screaming, I find out… why, there is a girl that is his wife who says I was with her.

There is a floozy girl that begged me for a pieece of my Wagassi cheese, then followed me into the Hotel. This happens daily, nothing strange about being followed by women. Then I sat in the restaurant area to talk with Comi, she stood right in front of me smiling, her belly was out, I asked her if she was pregnant, she says now, I go on to say,
La Pate Belly.

She is doing some type of mating stance in front of me.

Who knows, she looked about three months pregnant to me, and I am laughing, it is funny, she is all primal and speaks bad French, really I cannot remember, I did not talk enough, I do not remember he saying anything much, except to point her bell and pelvic area at me, like I said, a floozy.

I grew tired of the mindless chatter, and walked to my room, of course, as normal the girl follows. Everyone in the hotel see this, they love to gossip and watch, they do not work much, so they have to do something. I get to the room, go to open the door and she sort of nails me, tries to do the, I will come in the room and boom boom for a Cadeau game. She is funny one, her skirt and top are more or less see through and she is wearing only the bottom underwear. Like a set of clothes negligee night at the bar.

I walked in, and, did the spin and nudge, or block her out, and lock the door move.

The man is screaming:

This is the mans wife or girl, or prostitute, I never did understand, they will call a steady women a Femme or Women and this could mean marriage or something, I really cannot be bothered, like a soap opera to learn.

NOW back to the screaming man at my door.

I want the screaming man, I want him out of my room so I barge through him and his two partners, and walk to the restaurant, with just a towel wrapped around me, I am 51 years old, I wish I was 20, I look 41, the body is giving up the game. But I am still working strong.

Hollering and groups of hollering, more of this Jumping around like 2001 space odyssey and the monolith. I feel like I am in a now with Trailer Trash in the USA, and they are hollering at me on why they are not paying me rent. White Trash is bad and violent in the USA, when they do not have the money for rent.

I stop the man from hollering, by giving the man a stare to put in him in place, then I think, they do not understand reason. The whole room is making noise. This is when I started my acting career.

I started jumping, hollering, and screaming, I said every cuss word I could and made sure he understood, your wife is a prostitute, that is your problem. I said in French and English the word prostitute accentuated. When I started to jump and scream his two partner ran for the door and left.

I stop, then I did a Mel Gibson smile to the crowd look, with good facial expressions, then start to holler at the man again. I wish this part was not true, but if you want to intimidate a person, they need to know you are not afraid, turn your back on them, snub them.

I try to stop and allow quiet to rein, then he starts again, I hollered him down. Lesson two of my acting career. This time I wave my fist at him and pound down at his face, not hitting. This is when Comi the boy manager comes and tries to stop me, he more or less says there is no call for this. I said, why, he wants a fight, he has a fight.

(Never, never hit a person in another country, you will be in trouble, and there is no amount of talk that will convince the police you are protecting yourself. Fight back only, no starting the fight with blows. If you are in a empty area and nobody around, I am not sure…maybe give him what he wants and very hard. But do not allow the path or your safety in the logic of an obviously low on the justice pole of life country to be jeopardized, hard to understand when there is no law.)

I then hear the word largent or money in French, now the truth is surfacing, he wants money and is looking for an excuse.

I still have my towel on, I feel fat.

I go back to my room, I see him still outside down the hall, I think time to go again, this time I do most of the acting in English as I am tired and he is not understanding the words anyway, there is no way a person could understand me hollering in French, and he does not speak English, I am just trying to clear out my territory and drive the idiot who has a slut for a wife out the door.

I go back to the room.

A man comes down to my room and says, this man will leave if you beg pardon and give him some money. I think, yes, normal, it is easy to pay money to buy an annoying person to leave. I decide, there is reason. This is how a beggar works.

Still in my towel, it is blue, big and sort of beach towel.

I walk back out, first I learn the word I am sorry before I go out and walk up bend down to shake his hand, and say, I think,
- Desole -

I really am not sorry, so what if I say it wrong.

I then say,
- Combien. -

He says,
- 50,000 CFA -

This is three months wager for a nobody.

This straw is too much, my camels back is broken, this is it, no acting, I come unglued, I really went in his face, it took every bit of restraint I had to not hit him, I wanted to very bad. Amazing how much I can explode and not hit a man. This ends, I am tired of hollering.

I walked to the room and changed into my shorts, you would think I would feel vulnerable in a towel with no shoes, but I was getting more powerful not less, but he was obviously afraid, it is the nature of a bully to feel strong if the other become weak. I am starting to feel big.

This is too stupid, I wanted to sleep and go to the next city the next day.

I decided, time to leave Badou, I put on my shorts and packed my bags, took about 15 minute or more. Comi the manager comes down and what does he want, largent or money. He says why are you leaving, I say it is too stupid, he says it has stopped and the man has left.

I try to say, he is mad, he is weak, he knows he needs power, he will go see if he can find a group of men who want money. Give them some stupid, yet money reason, a good excuse to take advantage of the white men, I am in a bully, tyrant, warlord country, I learned how this works in Mexico, but Mexico is more dangerous than Togo.

In Mexico there is always another Gringo watching, I am alone here in Togo, if I disappear off the earth then, everyone wonders why I stop blogging and continues with their day, my mother call the USA embassy and cries until she stops, nothing happens and I am gone.

Happens all the time, I have the family or mothers write me in hope, you was in Ecuador, did you see this person.

Other travelers or tourist in a hotel is ok in situations like this, I am not sure which conversation is slower or more asleep, the NGO out to lunch bunch fantasy land group, or the never entered the game of life, sit around Togo bunch. Sleeping and in need of a soap opera to add excitement to their lives. They can argue and argue about anything. I have to stop the motos from stopping and talking about stupid crap, or arguing, I think they ask, am I getting enough money from the white man.

I packed, walked out the door, shook hand with Comi, said goodbye to he owner that came out of hiding, and left. Comi does not have many people treat him with a handshake, he was ok.

I grab a moto and try to get him to go to Zoubega or some other hard to spell city.

One finally comes out of nowhere as the others all broke down into chatter. I say,
- Zoubega -
He says,
- Qui -

Yes in French and I say 700 CFA, he is happy. I start talking on the bike, the man is good, he is smart, and I start the fight over a price to Atakpame, I have on shorts now, no towel.

He says, 7000, I say trop cher, I have learned, I cannot just say yes or he will think for 85 kilometers this white man would have paid more. I do a stall, wait for all the brain cells to think, then say, 5000, he say something about essence or Gas, I say, 4000, this always confuses them, but he is smart man, he says, 6500.. I do another pretend to think thing, I am good at negotiations, just a game, I sold about 80 pieces of real estate per year, or 2 per week, this is easy.

The bad part, a deal has to be fought over, he will not be happy unless we fight or discuss hard. Either I fight now, or fight after, the before is easier, and I have not struck a deal, he wants it to work out.

I say 6000 and he says yes.

Like a midnight run to Atakpame at 6:30 stupid at night, we arrive at about 8:30, I call a girl when I get to the room. Oops, I forgot, I had him stop at the market, drop me off, then destroyed the path to my room. Paid the man 6000 CFA, then waited, then said, 2000 more, you are good, etc, and he was good.

This driver was excellent, amazingly good, a pro in a world full of boys.

I walk down the street, flag down a moto taxi, hand him the front bag, and he drops it off the other side of the moto. I am amazed, the man before carried the bag, tied it down with rubber strap, went over every type of bump, dodged potholes and wove his way from Badou to Atakame on a road that meanders like a river. This man boy drops my bag in one second of management.

I get do the hotel and he is afraid to go down the hill.

I go to the room, I am happy, there is no direct path for police to come and extract money from me.

I am not worried about the angry man with he slut for a wife, I am worried about the Togo Police, the Police of he planet are more dangerous than an angry husband. The will come into the room, take everything, all they need is a moral high ground or any agreed upon excuse to use. The can track down how to get a bribe or payment ten times faster, no not true, they do nothing to prevent or stop crime, the spend all their time taking money.

What is great, a Fwee I as said by moto is a stop to pay money to Police before entering or leaving a city. A moto sort of goes through with no problem. A car, would need to stop, I am happy to go through on motos.

I have had about five women since I came here, try to use me to get their boyfriend jealous. I have spotted this and kept them all farther away from my room. I now know, the must be kept out of the hotel for me to be safe from stupid way of being used by women.

A man can keep his wife providing he has the steady money, the only way he can lose his wife is if a man comes along with more money. I have more money, and they all agree on this, so the want to tell their boyfriends I am after them. None of this is simple and clear, I think I should go and meet parents or someone, but the girls are always working two to three men, and he men are always working two to three women. Sort of like Mexico with a twist, and in French.

I find this is interesting that both are Catholic countries and men pay to have extra wives. I am wondering if this Cadeau of give a gift originates inside the Catholic, where does a gift of money come from. In the Philippine they have the Pasabalong gift.

The man wanted money, I truly believes he considers his wife a possession, I think he saw opportunity to extract money and be a bully. When his two partners in crime left, he did as bullies do, they back down.

What a stupid way to live some days, and I am not sure, where I mean me or them.

This was dangerous, I left, then erased the path, this is real, not fun and games, when in danger, be smart, macho is stupid, do not think, this is not the USA, you are never safe until the path is brushed away leading to you.

On the other hand, in the USA, he would come and pop a cap, I think the say, the USA is more dangerous. Here is was just hollering, the idea of me boxing as they say, really cause the manager of the hotel to worry, why would you hit the man. I said he needs it.

You think oh, poor people, I feel sorry for them, the casual violent methods of poorer countries are fed by people giving them money and food they do not work for, the do not respect the donors, they think, if this project is stupid, then I take. The United Nations a bunch of poor countries trying to vote for rich countries to give them money.

Togo is 143 on the HDI - Human Development Index of the United Nations. Niger is 177 and leads in last place. This is not an index of what is primitive or uncivilized.

Togo is fun, then parts are not fun, but all in all a great place.

I met a girls in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico that was stripped naked and put on the central floor of the police station in Playa. Mexico, Togo, about the same.

Tourism, illusions and delusions, then there is real life, authentic, real, and energize, I fell more real, more alive, I am in the world, I am part of the world, I am alive.

Danger, Togo Danger,West Africa Danger,

Starting My Togo Acting Career

No Police in Togo is Good

No Police in Togo is Good
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I am always tempted to think Togo is dangerous; however, I almost never see a policeperson or any person in government authority. I think truly they are too busy working at the gates to the cities, collecting the tolls to enter or leave, and the normal business of taking from people.

Would Europe of the USA be safe if there was no police?

I would say effectively there is no police in Togo, they are off doing something, but it is not protecting the citizens of me from harm, thieves and the normal type of problems. So how do I feel, I feel very safe, especially during the daytime, at night there is a random mob violence started by mockery and bully tactics. However, during the day, no police to be found, I would say this place is super safe.

I do not hear about robberies or thefts, or anything really, just a some small bribes and such, normal run of the mills stuff.

I think my mother is 10 times safer here than in Mexico. Turn you back in Mexico and they steal you shoes, but then poverty is worst in Mexico than in Togo, there is not a need to steal, food is plentiful and easy to find. There are too many Police in Mexico, and they are more than willing to intimidate a bribe from me, or my mom.

Hmm is Mexico of Togo full of more bullies, I would say Togo has more viscous bullies, while Mexico has bullies that never leave. Mexico is worst, this type of bully is living with you; I guess I would rather be bullied very viscously one time in a week by a person than daily as in Mexico, and normally by some police person.

I have a window with a screen on it, climb down the edge, punch the screen and you can steal my computer, cell phone and other small things, and you have to work to cut open the bag. When I am most countries in Asia, Central America, Mexico, South America, I lock my computer in the bag when I leave the room. I do not do so in Togo, I think I feel safer, they are not going to enter my room and steal. They are not sneaky thieves, like say in Philippines.

Lome has I think about 10 major crazy bums and beggars; however, they do not beg, they are funny, they act as if I am going to hit them with a stick if they pushed too hard. I would like to hit the ones in India with a stick, one like a baseball bat.

The asking for a Cadeau or Gift is every present, this is what can be perceived as begging or poverty. I really think it is a form of testing, they want to know how stupid is this white man, will he just give me money as a gift, or can I scare him, bully a gift out of him.

I told a girl, remember, the white man is a very violent animal, we came and dominated Africa with just a few people, do not think because we are calm and more polite, we are not in reality the more dangerous animal. I have said many times, the reason the Germans, Americans and Europe enforces the laws so well, is because we are bad, worst than some of the poor countries. We needed to develop laws and use the police or we would kill each other.
So what would happen in the USA or Europe if one day the police just did not work?

This is daily in Togo, this is normal, and nothing happens, just another day in Togo.

I also dwell on the thought, that maybe the people in West Africa are too lazy to steal. I know for sure, they will not walk to bully me, I have to stop and take it, if I continue to walk when the call at me, they do not follow, that would require effort, they do seem to lazy to move some days.

Police are the most dangerous persons on the planet for travelers, so with no police here, I am safer.

No Police in Togo is Good

Comparing Danger of USA and Africa

Comparing Danger of USA and Africa
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, June 24, 2007

There are two type of danger in my mind, or at least big categories.

Danger of getting robbed.
Danger of being killed.

I have been conversing with a nice American couple around age 30 who are going to Kpalime to Volunteer in an orphanage. When an American has an opinion I am more critical, I expect more from my own culture, as does the world in a way, however, I compare them to Europeans.

I keep hearing myself say,
- Compare -

I said last night,
- What is poor? -

They will go a work in an orphanage in Kpalime, and I said,
- What is an orphan? -

Everything is a… Compared to what or where?

I would say Togo is rich compared to most of India, South America, and a lot of Mexico, life is very good here however poor compared to the USA and Europe. But in India they have more consumer items, and Togo has few radios.

Robbery Danger - I AM

Less likely to have my room robbed in Togo than in Thailand.
I am five times more likely to have my room robbed in Europe than in Thailand. Central America is more dangerous for robbery than South America. The USA inner city ghetto is more dangerous than about anywhere on the planet.

Togo is safer than Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean.

Danger of dying

The USA ghetto is the most dangerous place I know.
The Mexican police are the second most dangerous.
Belize City is dangerous, but the Islands are not so dangerous.

West Africa does not have guns, and they also do not have police, therefore nobody is around me with a gun. The Military in Mexico and Bolivia or many countries get drunk, kill, and rape people. It is hard to see a gun in Togo, just at the banks, and they are relaxed.

Asia is safer than Togo for violence; I am less likely to be killed by people in Asia, than in Togo, however more likely to die in Thailand because of getting hit by the too many cars.

Anyway I do it, I need to make some bad decisions to be killed or robbed Togo as it is safer than most places, however the groups of men are more dangerous. A person makes bad decisions when they feel too safe.

Americans are robbed all the time in Europe because they think petty crime or mugging in Europe is less than the USA or somehow safer, it is not. USA is more dangerous in the ghetto, however safer outside the ghetto, and for sure places like New York City and Miami can be nuts. Europe has a constant robbery thing going on in the cities, while in the USA it is parts of the city.

Driving a car to me the most dangerous thing to do on the planet, I can drive right into the ghetto and I also can get in a car accident, there is nothing more dangerous than driving a car. I am thinking about buying a car in Africa to travel around because it is so safe. I will not drive a car in Central America or South America and in Asia; I would get in too many car accidents, as I cannot understand the traffic signs.

The normal way I see people being killed is by riding motorcycles in Thailand, being hit by cars in Asia or South America.

The girl who spends all night with a man, then does not have sex is the most dangerous situation on the planet. Drinking, talking, flirting and not putting out are the most dangerous activity on the planet, but for sure, a car is more dangerous than this, but the one is a choice and the other is hard to avoid.

Walking down the street to me is extreme dangerous, I would say bike in Africa is much more dangerous than a motorcycle; if I am in a car here in Togo I am extremely safe. There are very few cars, and the do not go fast, speed kills.

To go more than 35 miles per hour here in Togo on a motorcycle is difficult.

I am rambling to explain all the comparisons, there is not yes and no a person is always in danger and not in danger, but when I feel safe is when I start to worry.

Want a comparison between two areas, comment and I will try to compare countries for you.

The USA is safer than Africa, but the USA is 10 times more dangerous if you went to an inner city hood as they say.

Comparing Danger of USA and Africa

Lining Up the Volunteer Victims

Lining Up the Volunteer Victims
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 27, 2007

I was musing away on the word Savvy the other day and wondering to myself,
- Am I a savvy traveler? -

I would propose that most people believe they are savvy, the general population of the planet thinks they make better decisions than their neighbors do. I have questions about myself, which I cannot answer.

Am I good looking?
Am I smart?
Do I know how to not be robbed when traveling?
Am I a good budget traveler?
Am I a saavy traveler?

I want to say,
- Yes, I am all of these things. -
People say things to me,
- I am a good traveler. -
I will make a wisecrack,
- Do you have references of people that would agree? -

Am I smart; good-looking, good at budgets, savvy, and all the other word are opinions? When referencing myself, I think to be savvy, I need to say,
- This is a comparison, am I savvy compared to whom? -

To really prove I am Savvy is close to impossible; therefore, I better just evade this word, and for sure take care when I use it to describe myself. I sometime have people say,
- You are a professional traveler. -

I have no idea what this means, however I do think maybe I am an Independent traveler. People take polls; this to me is a popularity test, not good reasoning.

I have been reading the Wikipedia.org Encyclopedia often and really enjoy this source of information. I keep thinking, I need to write a book to promote my site, I am observant enough to know, the Wikipedia.org references, citations, or sources believe people that write books are more intelligent than people who Blog.

I cannot just say something and quote myself as an authority, a person must interview me, then make me an authority, or a third person can quote me and define me as an authority on the subject. Google.com has a great system; they define a person internet site by the sites that link to the site.

Then what do people do, they go and pay people to link to their site.

I read all them endorsements of books at the front or back of books, the Public Relations people will write or call up people and ask them to read a book, then give a review, I have my own section now for fun.

What I am saying to myself is,
- Do not read your own review of yourself. -

- Andy, you are not a good traveler, you do not know what you are doing, and you will be robbed next week. -

- Andy, you are NOT a savvy traveler. -

Now, after I give myself a humility pep talk, I am thinking of all this noise because of a conversation last night about the Consular Information Sheets on Togo. Yesterday, I was grinning, I received a Consular Information Sheet on Togo in my email box, I was delighted, and normally I receive these updates on all the countries I am not visiting presently. Yesterday, I received one on Togo.

I subscribe to these sheets and receive by email, I read them with skepticism and try to remember they are guides, I am posting them on the site as they are the best information normally I can find on current visa requirements for the country.


I am remembering, I am not a savvy traveler…

I read the comments on Togo, which are similar to most Consular Information Sheets, after reading them; you do not want to go the country. The USA government somewhat sends out disclaimers, the country sucks, and if you go, remembers we told you so.

I am remembering, I am not a savvy traveler…

I do however, believe there are people who volunteer to be Victims of Crime. I personally as a person who is not a savvy traveler, a person who knows he will be robbed, I am 100 percent sure one day all my possession will be robbed, I know it. As a person who knows I am not a savvy traveler, I believe some people step up, get in line and ask to be robbed. Normally the ones who think they are savvy, the ones who think they know what they are doing, which in my opinion is about 98 percent.

I think I am the 2 percent, I know I do not know what I am doing, and I am positive I will be robbed.

However, I have not been robbed in Togo, I have not been accosted, and nobody has attacked me in Togo. I do not know anybody that has been robbed in Togo.

There are some really jerks in Lome, Jealousy and Mockery are rampant, however that is also in England, you want to get mocked, go hand around with a bunch of English people.

I just do not know about Togo, I feel and it is only my opinion; however, I would feel this is one of the safest countries on the planet. I am wondering to myself if the types of travelers to Togo are so naïve they are robbed more than other countries.

I suppose that is another story, am I naïve? My instincts tell me the normal traveler to West Africa is very naïve, Volunteers in two ways, Volunteering to Volunteer, and Volunteering to be Victims.

The type of tourist that visit destinations varies, there is a stereotype, there is a generalizations and I think a wise traveler needs to figure out the stereotypes and generalizations, and not pretend they do not exist, profile the problems in life and avoid them.

Lining Up the Volunteer Victims

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

African Paparazzi Photo Danger

African Paparazzi Photo Danger
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Sunday, August 19, 2007

I normally take photos when the socially acceptable opportunity arises. I would guess I actually ask about two percent of the time, I take direct photos of people, and that is not a question, it is more or less I show them the camera and see they wag their finger at me.

Normally there are two ways of getting permission, people like to have their pictures taken and request I take a photo, the second it to buy first and take photo after. Buy something and then take the photo, this works as long as the price of the item is not high.

A man in Lome, Togo tracked me down after I took photos of some antique furniture being refinished outside the Auberge Galion Hotel and told me he would break my camera. I had asked permission of one of the workers I saw every day.

Taking photos in West Africa is more dangerous than in the rest of the world. I was literally grabbed and pulled to the side of the road in Aneho, Togo because I took a picture of a truck that had fell over on it side.

Generally taking photos is safe in the world, the long-term story told about stealing their soul and all this is old story. The world knows what a camera is now, and they want money. I do not give money for photos, except on rare occasions.

Taking photos of people drinking alcohol or police is dangerous.

I have been trying to take photos of some food in Ghana, and was walking around in the neighborhood. I had a person request some specific photos and this seemed easy enough, so as I was walking back from the internet café I was attempting to take photos.

I never realized how often I do not take photos because of the danger of taking the photo. The professional types of people will in Ghana speak good English, the normal person in the street and I thin I have about a 1 in 10 chance of them understanding a sentence. If I say Apple or Water, they understand, however to say a complex, what if sentence would lose them.

Asking about photos leads to confusion, maybe they answered in the Mina, Tree or Fante language and I do no understand, maybe they say in the local language for all to hear,
- Take a photo white man; you need to give me money. -

I do not understand, however, in the eyes of the others they are on the moral high ground. He or she told me, so fair to demand money.

I have a lot of experience with this; however, the best solution to all these problems is to only take photos of one-person situations. If a person has the ability to talk with more than one person, say it is market and they can talk among five to ten people it is safer to not take the photo.

The safe decision is to only take photos when there is only me and the person I am taking photos of around the area. Group photos of people are dangerous and a great reason for a long zoom lens on a camera. I have a 12 X Sony and it is great, however it would be nice to have about double the range for the close up cultural photo.

Safe is one person photos in West Africa, a group of 5-10 people is semi-dangerous and when the group is about 40 or more it become safe again and the whole group will normally protect you from the one.

Anyway, you do it; taking photos in West Africa can be dangerous if you are one person. The safest way to take photos is when there the group of people taking photos is bigger than the groups of people being filmed.

I wanted to speed up a photo the other day, a foreigner girl took a photo and it took about three minutes to take the photo, this is too long. I think I can stop and take a photo in less than five seconds. The longer I take, the person who I am taking a photo of has time to think, give me money, or someone tells them to get money.

Taking photos for me is about waiting for the socially acceptable time, and I think asking permission of a person who does not understand my language is a great way to have problems. I ask by showing them the camera, then look in their eyes. Words and talking, the spoken language is a great way to be misunderstood, talking with my eyes and actions is understood quick and fast…

Taking pictures of plants and animals is safe, photos of children is generally easy, taking photos of bums and prostitutes starts to be a problem. Drunks and groups of men are highly dangerous in West Africa. Taking pictures of police, you need to be either very smart or very lucky and stupid.

African Paparazzi Photo Danger

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