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2013 February 9, Leave Togo and Enter Benin - Where Is Andy Graham

Where is Andy Graham?

2013 February 9 Leave Togo and Enter Benin

I got my exit stamp in Kande, Togo, paid 6000 CFA or 12 USD to get all the way to Boukoumbé, Benin by Moto. Then another 2000 / 4 USD by car to Natitingou, Benin.

The motorcycle taxi ride from Kande to Boukoumbé, Benin was dusty, but nice, I would not say exceptionally beautiful countryside, just OK. I left at roughly 6:30 am, and it is always nice to ride a motorcycle in the countryside with the dawn. 

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Anyone riding by moto should leave just before sunrise, and get past the 7:00 arrival of the police stop, he stopped us on the Moto as he was coming to work, and it was about 5 kilometers after his office. I pretended to not understand French, and he could not really force us to drive back to the office for whatever nonsense he wanted.

He did not ask for money, I have legally exited Togo, and I have legally got my entrance stamp at the police place in Boukoumbe, Benin so who knows what he wanted. Generally, it always savvy to fly below the radar of police, government official, and the rich and famous.

In many ways now, Natitingou, Benin has modernized to a level where it would have been nice to stay in Boukoumbé for a couple of nights. I like a little rough around the edges, more back to nature, the streets are paved, and it is clean here. I sort of feel guilty dropping trash on the ground, but still do it, there are no trash bins.

(The rule is this, always drop trash inside the city where there is trash pick up, not outside the cities.)

The Auberge U.S.A. behind the old market, a Chambre de Passage which I thought was delightful, is now horrible The girl manager got married, and left, but worst yet, it was surrounded by tall shade trees. Someone cut them down, so the Auberge is now sitting there baking in the sun. As best I can surmise, they also opened newer market area and the old one in front of the Auberge is in disrepair.

It was fun to walk through the market, and end up at a shady Auberge; it is almost never the same to return to a location. Really, the proper Hotel does make a city better, and can make the whole trip worthwhile.

I found the Auberge Taneka for 5,500 CFA / 11 USD, it is nice, the room is directly under a tree and extremely cool for a self-contained fan room. I must take a 100 Franc, 20 cents USD moto to the center, it is a long walk.

I already purchased a Moov USB Modem here in Natit for 30,000 CFA that includes 3 Gigs of transfer. Generally, I think I need to pay 10,000 CFA or 20 USD for another 3 GIG. I am roughly paying 55 USD per per month right now, as I keep needing to buy the modem.

There is a large Moov shop here, and the girls completely set the USB modem up for me, not a busy place. It is called a Cle in French, which means Key.

I now have a new phone number, and Internet, and I am in a comfortable room in the city of Natitingou, Benin.

It is not quite the same as before, I am not sure if I want to hang out here for a long time, I was planning to stay a month, but not sure it is off the tourist grid far enough for me. I truly feel like going native, this is my goal, to find the place nobody every visits.

With the USB modem, the whole world is open now, I can have Internet anywhere there are cell towers. This modem is truly making travel a wonderful thing; I can always surf, learn, and communicate with the world.

I can leave all tourism behind, and find off the grid places.
In a way, Africa now has better Internet than the rest of the world.

Andy Graham
Natitingou, Benin
February 9, 2013

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