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Atakpame was a Wrong Turn

2010-11-29 03:42:33

I refuse to go back over the road again between Kpalime and Atakpame so that I can travel to Ho, Ghana.

There are many small traveler guidelines; one of the most common is the rule to "never return the same way you came." I left Kpalime, and went to Atakpame thinking it was really just using the "wheel and spoke" strategy of travel. However, the spoke is broken between Kpalime and Atakpame, the road is ridiculously broken. I get motion sick easy, my family would say car sick, nevertheless too much jostling around, sitting in the back of the bus, the ocean, too much motion and I am sick, to say the least I do not read on buses.

Ho, Ghana was my Goal
I was trying to take a different path back to Cote d’Ivoire, or at least part of the way by entering through the Kpalime / Ho border area, and staying in Ho, Ghana. I have never crossed there, and I have never stayed in Ho. I was going to cross over from Cinkasse in the North of Togo and get to the city of Bolgatanga, stopping in Bawku, but it appeared that Bawku was having ethnic conflicts, the border was disorganized, and the road was questionable.

Atakpame, West Africa --- Monday, November 29, 2010


I have been to Ghana and Togo a couple times before, these are smaller countries, and a traveler has a difficult time not returning over the same road.

New paths I wanted to try, and failed:
1. Cinkasse, Togo to Bolgatanga, Ghana by way of Bawku
2. Kpalime, Togo to Ho, Ghana
3. Kumasi, Ghana to Tokoradi, Ghana

In a way, I am violating a rule of travel; I keep retreating from "Ordeals." Generally, there is little reason for me to travel by way of an ordeal, I have done the hard paths, unless there is some striking reason, I just cannot be bothered. There is little I truly feel a need to see in either Ghana or Togo.

Stalling for Cote d’Ivoire, Election
As I understand, Cote d’Ivoire had their runoff election between President Laurent Gbagbo an Alassane Ouattara yesterday, 28 November 2010.

I have been stalling, waiting for this Election to end, hoping the country is happy and calm afterwards, I will then return to Abidjan, and apply for a Visa to Liberia, maybe Sierra Leone. I can do this in Accra, Ghana, but I do not like Accra.

New Reports from Cote d’Ivoire
The new reports from Cote d’Ivoire are dodgy, all earmarked by the hearsay phrases.
"However, an official source confirmed…"

I can call Cote d’Ivoire, but my friend have no knowledge beyond say a 50 mile radius, and normally no more than their normal tribal language groups or neighborhood. It is easy enough to get total crap information from locals, they neither read the newspapers nor watch the television, radio is best, but they truly are out of touch with the big picture.

I have to let all the hearsay new reports filter their way through the systems until there is a consensus of information, and then go make a decision on when to return and enter Cote d’Ivoire.

They do not speak French in Atakpame
My French is better than the locals here; I know now why I had such a difficult time in Kpalime and Atakpame the first time I came. At that time, my French was novice level, I could not recognize when they moved from French to the local Tribal Ewe language. My French is good enough now to know, "They do not speak French." They are lousy at French; they understand each other because they all speak this broken French / Ewe thing.

I can decipher the Ghana or Nigeria English because my English is perfect, I cannot decipher the Togo, French because I need to raise a couple of notches on my fluency level.

A fluent French person may say, they speak French. Most Travelers, NGO's and Missionaries in West Africa live in a little Elitist cocoon, never knowhing the real world.

Oh well, I will return to Lome, cross into Ghana and go somewhere boring in Ghana, I suppose I could go to Accra and apply for the Liberia Visa. Nevertheless, Accra is one my least favorite cities in West Africa, like living in a traffic jam. They do sell English books in Accra, this could be a good reason, I never found a Hotel worth talking about in Accra, most were dives, in the "I speak English, therefore we are better way."

People that speak English are often arrogantly under the belief that the quality is better, tending to diminish the Francophone countries as second rate, truly not correct, a prejudice of the English language.

Example: Americans want to go England, and Australia, often acting if they are grand countries, and full of History. I told my friend Mike one time,
"All countries have history, you just know English History."

Well, my room is good, it was the first night I was able to shut off the fan last night. I truly do not enjoy listening to either a fan or air conditioning; I think it frazzles my brain.

Atakpame was a Wrong Turn