Travel Must be an Escape to a Better Life

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Encouraging people towards a better life is responsible, encouraging you to endure torture is irresponsible.

Change is a horrible experience, I have been watching the face of Bah, she is in agony and pretends she is not. She left her home in Ivory Coast, took a bus to Ghana and is living in a Hotel; the last week has been torture. Maybe I should say, she is on vacation, or traveling, I have encouraged her to travel and I feel bad. I encouraged her to move to a better situation, for a better life. It always feels the same to me, today she is still in agony, she needs to stay in one place for a week, and if her life is truly better, she will be grateful.

There is a war in Ivory Coast, and she is happy to leave, however, I until she stops moving, adapts, the travel equation is still lopsided.

Best Travel Movies?
I have an area on this site where I write about travel movies, a few minutes ago, I realized how prejudiced and biased my list is, there is little objectivity, and the list assumes you love travel.
Best Travel Movies

I would guesstimate, the Chevy Chase or National Lampoon's Vacation series alone, which portrays travel as constant problems was more popular than my whole list of movies. I try to separate and explain that travel is both good and bad, however normally travel is lumped as one, as if travel life is always good, while in reality there are three aspects to travel.
National Lampoon's Vacation series

Three Parts of Travel

1. The time it takes to travel to the destination. (BAD)
2. The time it takes to adapt to the new destination. (BAD)
3. The enjoyment of the destination. (GOOD)

3 > 1 + 2

Ghana, West Africa --- Monday, March 28, 2011

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The Travel Equation

3 > 1 + 2

The enjoyment of the destination needs to outweigh the negatives of the emotional pain of the trip there, and adapting to the new location. Translated, a one-week trip to Thailand from the USA could be the worst week of your life.

Bah purchased four bars of soap in Cape Coast, this is a Rubik’s Cube moment for me. I asked her again today,
"Why did you buy four bars of soap?"
She replied,
"Long time."

I believe this to mean, she wants to guarantee we have soap for a long time. Now please try to understand, Bah’s first language is French. Therefore, I talk with Bah 75 percent of the time in English and when I want to be sure she understands, I talk in French. This means I am never positive I understand her, especially when asking simple questions. I have been asking too many questions for years, and I know people do not enjoy trying to justify or explain their small decisions. I used to believe that everyone thought about decisions, however now I believe 90 percent of decisions are reactions to temptations, and only 10 percent were well thought out.

I believe she had the money, was tempted, and purchased enough soap that she would never feel insecure. She likes this soap, and I believe she wanted to feel safe, four bars made her feel safe, and I am happy, she feels affluent.

Three Ghana People have Called
I have not used my Ghana SIM card for three weeks, within the first two days of turning on the cell phone again three people in Ghana called me. I know they do not read the Blog, therefore this was almost eerie in nature, and do these people sit around calling numbers for something to do?

How many Parasites in Ghana Water?
There bags of drinking water in Ghana was tested.
Seventy-seven percent of the samples contained infective stages of pathogenic parasitic organisms. Common pathogens identified include, Microsporidia sp 14/27 (51.2%), Cryptosporidium parvum 17/27 (63.0%), Cyclospora cayetenensis 16/27 (59.3%), Sarcocystis sp. 18/27 (66.7%). Rotifers 5/27 (18.5%), and Charcoat Leyden crystals 12/27 (44.4%). Ninety-three percent of the samples contained unidentified impurities/artifacts. 29.6% of the samples contained at least one type of parasite, 14.8% contained at least 2 types of parasites, 25.9% contained at least three types of parasites, while 29.6% contained four types of parasites.

Travel Must be an Escape to a Better Life


I was in combat in the late 1960s, BAH has been through trauma, hopefully she does not have ptsd! She is not traveling for 'pleasure', she is a refugee from a conflict zone, at least, keep that in mind. salut saludos


Hi Andy
Thank you for sharing your life with us.

You seem somwhat overpowered with the situation with Bah and all the comments from the other reader. Trust your instincts. Ask yourself the following questions when you have to make a decision - What will be the consequences of my decision and will this decision be of benefit to a larger number of people? Once you get a good answer, do it and accept responsibility.
Best of luck and safe travels.



What is a parasite? This appears to be a lose definition of parasites.

I accepted maybe 10 years ago that I drank the water in all countries. The dishes in restaurants are cleaned with normal water, which is even worst than the filtered water.

I have learned how to optimize my water, what is disturbing to me is the number of NGO's and save the world people who truly do not care, just talk.

The United Nations has a number one goal of clean water, yet does almost nothing to try to stop bad water from being bagged or bottled.

These test need to be done by the United Nations, or do they just take billions of dollars to drive around in Toyota Land Rovers?


Locals here in Central America, with a few exceptions, do not travel alone, they travel with family and or groups of friends during the long holiday periods such as Easter Holy Week or weekends, called internal tourism, very different from the receptive or incoming travel services offered to foreigners, BAH, I assume thinks in her tribal language and when communicating with Anglophiles in French, when I speak to non English speaking persons I think in Spanish, if I meet older Germans or Austrians who do not speak English well, I try to think in German. When I was a guide had clients from all over the world, but never local families, twice I took long excursions with native tour operators advertised in the newspaper, I was odd man out, younger people were friendly, however the last junket I went on was to Costa Rica via Nicaragua from El Salvador, the driver had a small uncomfortable minibus, no na/c as advertised and older people were annoyed at me taking longer at Immigration with my US passsport, the hotels were below par and I arrived back after 4 days sore and aching and sick, to many natives this is the normal mode of travel, as in some areas of Africa poorest of the poor ride on top of buses, you can never 'understand' your adversary, the local culture or 'in(no), culture' as may be, unless you learn to think like them as much as is possible, Africans are tribal people, as are the Indingenous in the Highlands of Guatemala(not the 'pana and chichi indians' who hustle and sell in tourist areas but the nIndingenous living in highland Aldeas (villages) one village speak Quiche, the next Kakchi'kel and the traje of the Women is different, like French and English in Africa the Indingenous of Guatemala, with 28 dialects, use Spanish to communicate with one another, good luck, I married a Polish girl in 1983, after Jaruzelski reimposed 'socialist paradise' crushing the budding democratic Solidarity movement, she came to US as a refugee, a good person, but we were too culturally disparate, I was gregarious, she was introverted, soon as possible she brought over her family to States, all living in my small NYC Brooklyn apartment,, we fought, she and her family left with all our wordly possesions and we were divorced, so I know how you feel, I was constantly irritated with those 'little cultural and communication things' when we went out together. If you get annoyed, it is your problem, not BAHs, say the 'serenity prayer' or the NYC short version f----- it!
Hope she is able to one day soon reunite with her family
My ex wife had been a beauty pageant queen in Poland, she entered pageants as a single woman in States for the prizes
Anyway, I got real sick and after our divorce she helped me with a referral that 'saved my life'
The other support I had was from my own Mother, never trust 'in laws' too far, just in case she is able to bring her family into Ghana if things get worse in Cote D'Ivoire
Use common sense, I did not.
Reason for everything, again G-dspeed and best of luck, Mazel Tov as (we) say!!!!


Re: Volta Frigo - "filtered" drinking water

When I read through and saw the parasites involved can cause disease and other problems in children and any with weak immune systems, I decided to dig into this a bit. I've no idea how this compares with other water supplies and packaged water around the world, but I'll offer the following up for discussion.

On the surface it sure seems Craig is correct in his "The study above is disturbing" assessment. Forgive me for the length of it, I tried to pare it down as much as possible without sacrificing important information.

What is amazing to me is that the bag says - "PRODUCED UNDER HYGIENIC CONDITIONS". Perhaps these organisms are present in all drinking water on the planet, I really don't know.
Perhaps local cuisine will eliminate them, perhaps not, or perhaps you don't really eat local food.

Microsporidia sp -
The microsporidia often cause chronic, debilitating diseases rather than lethal infections. Effects on the host include reduced longevity, fertility, weight, and general vigor. Vertical transmission of microsporidia is frequently reported. In the case of insect hosts, vertical transmission often occurs as transovarial transmission, where the microsporidian parasites pass from the ovaries of the female host into eggs and eventually multiply in the infected larvae. Amblyospora salinaria n. sp. which infects the mosquito Culex salinarius Coquillett, and Amblyospora californica which infects the mosquito Culex tarsalis Coquillett, provide typical examples of transovarial transmission of microsporidia.

Microsporidia, specifically the mosquito-infecting Vavraia culicis, are being explored as a possible 'evolution-proof' malaria-control method. Microsporidian infection of Anopheles gambiae (the principal vector of Plasmodium falciparum malaria) reduces malarial infection within the mosquito, and shortens the mosquito lifespan. As the majority of malaria-infected mosquitoes naturally die before the malaria parasite is mature enough to transmit, any increase in mosquito mortality through microsporidian-infection may reduce malaria transmission to humans.

Cryptosporidium parvum -
Primary symptoms of C. parvum infection are acute, watery, and non-bloody diarrhoea. C. parvum infection is of particular concern in immunocompromised patients, where diarrhea can reach 10–15L per day. Other symptoms may include anorexia, nausea/vomiting and abdominal pain.
Infection is generally self-limiting in immunocompetent people. In immunocompromised patients, such as those with AIDS or those undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, infection may not be self-limiting, leading to dehydration and, in severe cases, death.

C. parvum is considered to be the most important waterborne pathogen in developed countries. It is resistant to all practical levels of chlorination, surviving for 24hrs at 1000 mg/L free chlorine.

Cyclospora cayetanensis -
The health risk associated with the disease is usually confined to adult foreigners visiting endemic regions and acquiring the infection: this is why C. cayetanensis has been labeled as causing “traveler’s diarrhea.”

The only hosts C. cayentanensis uses are humans.

Symptoms include "watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal bloating and cramping, increased flatulence, nausea, fatigue, and low-grade fever," though this can be augmented in more severe cases by vomiting, substantial weight loss, explosive diarrhea, and muscle aches. Typically, patients who come in with a persistent watery diarrhea lasting over several days may be suspected of harboring the disease, especially if they have traveled to a region where the protozoan is endemic. The incubation period in the host is typically around a week, and illness can last six weeks before self-limiting. Unless treated, illness may relapse. It is important to note here that the more severe forms of the disease can occur in immunocompromised patients such as those with AIDS.

Infection occurs via fecally contaminated food and water in endemic environments.

Sarcocystis -
Human infection is considered rare with less than one hundred published cases of invasive disease (approximately 46 cases reported by 1990). These figure represent a gross understimate of the human burden of disease.

The extremes of age reported to date are a 26-day-old infant and a 75-year-old man. Infectons have been reported from Africa, Europe (Germany, Spain and Poland), the United States (California), Central and South America, China, India, Tibet, Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
Stool examinations in Thai laborers showed that sarcocystis infection had a prevalence of ~23. Virtually all cases appeared to be asymptomatic which probably explains the lack of recognition. A study of 100 human tongues obtained at post mortum in Malaya revealed an infection rate of 21. There was no sex difference and the age range was 16 to 57 years (mean 37.7 years).
Infection occurs when undercooked meat is ingested. The incubation period is 9–39 days. Human outbreaks have occurred in Europe. Rats are a known carrier.

It has been suggested that contaminated water may be able to cause infection but this presently remains a theoretical possibility.

Because infection is rarely symptomatic, treatment is rarely required.

Rotifers -
Most rotifers are around 0.1–0.5 mm long (although their size can range from 50 and#956m to over 2 millimeters), and are common in freshwater environments throughout the world with a few saltwater species for example, those of genus Synchaeta. Some rotifers are free swimming and truly planktonic, others move by inchworming along a substrate, and some are sessile, living inside tubes or gelatinous holdfasts that are attached to a substrate. About 25 species are colonial (e.g., Sinantherina semibullata), either sessile or planktonic. Rotifers are an important part of the freshwater zooplankton, being a major foodsource and with many species also contributing to the decomposition of soil organic matter.[3] Most species of the rotifers are cosmopolitan.

Rotifers eat partuculate organis detritus, dead bacteria, algae, and protozoans. They eat particles up to 10 micrometres in size. Like crustaceans, rotifers contribute to nutrient recycling. For this reason, they are used in fish tanks to help clean the water, to prevent clouds of waste matter. Rotifers affect the species composition of algae in ecosystems through their choice in grazing.

Charcot-Leyden crystals -
Charcot-Leyden crystals are microscopic crystals found in people who have allergic diseases such as asthma or parasitic infections such as parasitic pneumonia or ascariasis.

All was shamelessly derived from Wikipedia.



Yes, the water situation is disturbing, and the water in Africa is rather clean compared to Asia or Central and South America. These density of population is low here, so water is less of a problem.

I did not like to hear this parnum, that is not killed by Chlorine.