Ghana Travel Stories, Page 23

The Internet Travel Business

The Internet Travel Business
Tokoradi Ghana
Saturday, August 12, 2006

I think about too many things, too often, I have multiple projects in the hopper all the time from purely philanthropy to designed to make big money. They both seem to be the same in the end, I try my best to create something or do something that I am proud of, and hope it make money.

West Africa so far is an internet disaster zone for me, the life of internet, solving problem, blogging, playing on the internet was easy, now it goes back to about nine years ago when I started traveling.

I believe for a business to thrive it has to make windfall money, which enables persons to work very inefficiently, however still make good progress. The world is not full of wonder boys and girls. The average person is average, like their job, put in their time, figures out ways to read blogs like mine while their employer is paying them. This is all normal, a business needs to thrive and still allow all the workers to do this type of thing.

My traffic on either is having a big season drop in traffic or is slowing. I can normally spend time, analyze the variances, and then see if there is any problem. Drops in traffic are seasonal for certain types of internet sites; I believe I get a lot of traffic from student doing research for high school classes. I have a drop in traffic, I am not in a good place to analyze this and it is not possible to just delegate to someone.

The internet is some abstract mystical business toy, that fortunately for me, I can understand. Unfortunately, for about 999 out of 1000 person who actively work IN the internet business, they do not understand. It has become easier, not more difficult over the years to make money. Selling a product on the internet like on is still the easy way to make money on the internet. However, really this is very close to a normal storefront business. Many ways they are making a lot less, working very intense, the service requirements to do the support of their business is horrible. A person has to live, eat, and drink the system or some reader will give you a bad reference and you could be killed. I personally am not going to be on the internet answering emails 24 hours per day. This is not life, providing answers to millions of questions.

I suppose my business model is to pose travel and cultural questions, then give a forum where readers can comment, then hopefully we can continually derive the best answers. While the reader reads this online magazine of sorts, once in an awhile a person clicks on something that makes me money.

Travel Writers that write articles I do not think make money; they do get kickbacks from Hotels and Tour Companies and can travel free. A travel columnist in a newspaper has money, but really is not a traveler. A person like Paul Theroux that writes books does make money and does make money by writing about the subject travel. I on the other hand can see, after just finishing his book - The Mosquito Coast - he can make money writing anyway or time he wishes.

He is a good writer; he has interesting perspectives on life. He is enjoyable for me to read because I like to hear him talk. I hope often this is why people read what I write, but I admit, the pictures often carry the story, not the story carrying the pictures. I am lead by photos, not by stories. I have some hard core wanna travel persons and I know some travel writers that sincerely are focused on learning to travel. Both wish to surmise my tricks of the trade that allows me to travel safely, comfortably and maintain the website as I move around the planet.

I have many travel writers ask,
- How do you afford to travel? -
Many of these people have websites that are not making money, or they would know. I suppose if they are not making money writing, then maybe there is a problem with their writing. I on the other hand think a person that write should like to write more than they like to earn money or become famous, then maybe the will explain their story interestingly enough that others may wish to read.

I read the Lonely Planet West Africa, the seven-year-old version I have in my possession daily. It is enjoyable to me to empathize with how the travel writers for each country traveled. Was it by car, or bus, or did they live in the country and travel around collecting information. I speculate that many travelers contributed to create the digested information for the countries.

I am studying Ghana, you would think the top two thirds of the country, and maybe the most interesting cultural parts of the country did not exist.

The business I am in, requires me to have an internet connection at least I feel or think about once every five to ten days. I want one daily, I made this trip to Africa premature, as I really would like to have the BGAN Imarsat Satellite Internet connection now, I need it, I do not need it later, and I need it now. An NGO really does not need this, but for me to do a daily blog, where the person in the office plugs in and reads daily, I need to do daily, I have about 50 post in the queue ready to post, and hopefully I mass post today. On the other hand because of the RSS feed thingy, I make about zero dollars from the daily post; it all comes from searches.

I think travel writers go on holiday or vacation, drink a lot, enjoy themselves, and go home and work again. Write a suck-up-to-the-resort and city, country article and pay back the place for their free accommodations. This is not writing while they travel, probably taking notes while traveling. A journalist is closer to what I do; they go to places, write the story and send home. I think TV journalism is massively easier than a newspaper writer who also has to be a good writer, but probably a loss leader for the newspaper. Picture sell the TV journalist story, the action there are covering, the controversy and anger they manufacture sells the story.

I know how to increase my readers by 10 times of my blog; I just start to write controversial fantasy and myths. Create problems in countries where they do not exist, get NGO’s to kick in Advertising dollars. I think CNN is now making stories specifically to sell advertising to NGOs. A good famine, a good disaster makes a lot of money for an NGO.

I am a business traveler like a journalist, which never goes back to the office, the art of travel then becomes to live in the business hotel, sort of the life of Susie Wong with William Holden lifestyle. Keep focused, a world of distractions, never get to stop, however transform a flophouse into a five star hotel.

To do business here in Africa:
- I have hot water dip showers, while all other have cold.
- I have a reading light, while all others have dark dingy rooms. -
- I have many books to read, PDF files to read, a computer, etc in my room. -
- I have a secure, safe, worry free room because of experience in safety. -
- I can walk around in so-called dangerous cities because I have working in dangerous places training. -

I see the skill sets I have enabling me to thrive in Africa as a traveler, now I need to increase my level of skill sets double on internet access and technology to enable me to go to the next level. Work anywhere, in the middle of the desert on a camel, in the middle of a jungle in a hammock with a swamp below my feet, in the middle of the ocean, hundreds of miles from land.
I am in Ghana, an island in the middle of nowhere, on the other side of the planet from all the other travelers and backpackers. I do not see other travelers. Hmmm, two German girls came, I think they are doing a sex-with-blacks trip, and for sure, there are German here for Lumber and old business ventures that seem to be all drying up. The two German girls are very standoffish and I cannot yet get them in a conversation. I think they are very afraid of anyone that would just randomly talk.

Ok, so I found my first something travelers, the first in the last 20 days, I do not think they are on a multiple country traveler tour. I see missionaries with cars, houses, and living in one location. I see old business people, working the way of life here and hanging around, when I would think they would go home. A few business owners that are owners, in a business that is no longer thriving. It feels like there was a hay day, but is past. Niger was full of white man, it has more Business NGOs than you could shake a stick at, and it was full of white man.

My internet business is on a curve in the road, I need to hug the middle line, stay the course. Talk to myself, introspect, derive solution, implement and continue to hang around enjoying countries or not enjoying these Island Countries isolated from the world, they do not think that….

The Internet Travel Business

Philippines Work on Africa Oil Pipeline

Philippines Work on Africa Oil Pipeline
Tokoradi Ghana
Friday, August 11, 2006

I was being curios, drank a Fanta at the snobby German Restaurant next to the Mosden. Asked a person about timber, he said there is only 10 people here and there used to be 100. They misunderstood most of what I said, but then one said, they have an oil line that Americans are working on.

The one German says,
- They have Philippines workers. -

On the United Nations HDI - Human Development Scale the Philippines is rated 83.
Ghana is 131...
Why does a country need to import workers from the Philippines to work on a pipeline in Ghana or Africa? The English skills are about the same here as Philippines, half as good, but would work for labors.

Not a good sign for Africa when they bring labor from a more highly developed country to work in a lower developed country for labor. Development is about culture, more than about having money. You can give any culture money; it will not improve unless some fundamental culture changes happen first.

Philippines Work on Africa Oil Pipeline

Adapting to Takoradi Ghana

Adapting to Takoradi Ghana
Friday, August 11, 2006

It is maybe my third night coming up in Ghana and I am not sure about Ghana, I feel I left a warmer friendlier country of Cote d-Voire, not I am in a hot and cold country. Sometimes they can be friendly and helpful, fun if they do not speak English, however mostly I get indifferent.

There is a sign next to the Amenla Hotel where I am not staying that is advertising to sell Mosquito Nets. I found this attractive girl way back in the mess of room that had this very well packaged in plastic, made in Denmark, treated mosquito net. The materials were great, soft and not the touch hard type, she only has Queen, I do not need huge, and I want double or single.

However, I said to her,
- I am interested in buying many, maybe 500, but they need to be made in Ghana or Africa. -
The brother comes in and she and he say incredulously,
- We cannot make mosquito nets in Ghana. -
- We do not have the machines. -

I went around, trying to explain about Niger people getting weak because of malnutrition, and then dying because of a simple Malaria problem, the Mosquito Nets are needed there.

She, the girl upon learning I was finally not going to buy here mosquito nets made in Denmark, overpriced at 50,000 on a world market, suddenly turn rock cold.

I understood, turned around and walked out, I understand selfishness and greed, she has no desire to help unless she benefits selfishly. I see some outrageous levels of selfish behavior here, not any different from the rest of the planet in many ways, however, normally people feel a little big like helping their own people, even in a greedy way.

I said to her when talking,
- Ghana can make Mosquito Nets. -
The girls and her brother’s eyes, acted, said, or thought we cannot do this. A Mosquito Net is low tech, sewing once you have the materials. I could make one, not a feat of brainpower.

The boy said,
- We grow the Cocao here, but send to other countries to process. -
I said,
- In the future, I hope Ghana makes expensive chocolate and ship to the world. -
I see no glimmer of possibility in his eyes, I am not talking to some street bums, and I am talking with a couple very educated youth of around 22, what is wrong with them.

I am amiss to understand, unlimited possibilities for business in these countries and refusal to try. This is maybe why I read,
- Third World Photos Shop -
On a sign, I thought, what an insult to yourself, to call yourself Third World is like saying, I am poor, not up to grade. In French terms, it is even worst.

I think there is so much opportunity in countries like Ghana and Cote d-Voire, Niger, or any normal country where the daily labor is less than 10 dollars per day. It is small planet now, 100 possible to make something cheap here and export anywhere.

Many of these governments have a stranglehold on business, by way of Tariffs, greedy bribe systems and other governmental ways to line their pockets. There is always smuggling… hehehe.

Adapting to Takoradi Ghana

Stereos Loud Speakers and Chickens

Stereos Loud Speakers and Chickens
Takoradi Ghana
Friday, August 11, 2006

Three big noisemakers of the world.

I suppose the roosters crowing are the worst, they can crow at about any hour of the day or night. Sometimes they will start around 2:00 AM and never stop.

Presently here on the outside wall room or street side room of the Mosden Hotel I have some person with some type of loudspeaker system announcing something. He did it all yesterday, it is 6:54, I am awake now, and it started well before I started to type. I get up at this time of before, not problem, however I was getting used to Africa being quiet, now I am feeling like I am back in Delhi, India.
There is a four lane, larger highway in front of the hotel and the big bus stop of Tokoradi, Ghana. People with stereos are just rude, totally unpredictable and hard to say who or when a person is going to use a stereo.

I am surprised, I have not really been aware of the Islamic Prayer system, they have very large speaker systems and sometimes the voices singing or chanting the prayers are grating, not always, sometime it is wonderful. Maybe a holy feel about it, not normally though, however like any religion, not everyone in a religion is holy.

Sleeping with a bar is always noisy, but that is obvious, almost standard fare in Europe. The Hotel I am moving into just down the street on Sarbah the Amelia Hotel has a bar in front, maybe it will be noisy. I am trying to get a room in the rear.

I found the Lonely Planet was saying the Zenith was loud, not the Amenla, the Amenla is very quiet at night.

Stereos Loud Speakers and Chickens

Lights Out Ghana

Lights Out Ghana
Tokoradi Ghana
Thursday, August 10, 2006

It is about 7:00 at night, the lights have just went off, I am glad I have a lights out procedure and know how to retrieve my small key chain flashlight. My seven-year-old Lonely Planet West Africa explained this; I was hoping they could make changes in 7 years.

This Mosden Hotel here in Tokoradi, Ghana does not seem to have a generator. I can work maybe one hour on the computer, then totally lights out. I need to find some candles, I have not seen any sold yet, and I would have nabbed them as I ejected any weight that could be normally purchased locally. I am slowly restocking many heavy items. I go heavy all the time, when the world has one-dollar taxis, hard to want to carry a bag for a distance.

I saw some oil or kerosene wick type tin can lights yesterday, but they are messy and only good for long stays.

I have nothing better to do; I will take a walk to find some candles. I have a lighter already, not a heavy item. Annoying to me is the price of rubbing alcohol; I hope it went down from 5 dollars a pint to a reasonable price of 50 cents as normal. I want to cook, in the Amelia Hotel, which I have already reserved, in the center of business area, but quieter, it has a kitchen the boy Joshua says I can use. This is great, a much better location, I just walk out the door and buy cheap water. I am somewhat isolated in the Mosden, I think the one Writer like the hotel because it has parking. I am thinking I need to keep in mind how a writer travels. Public transportation is what I consider safe and standard, even though many African tourists drive overland.

I met a guy in South America that drove around Africa, I was impress, he and his girlfriend was driving around South America, that is much more difficult I think than Africa, I think Africa would be easier to drive maybe than Europe in a way, not as many laws to obey. Hard to say, it is the only continent where I see foreigners many time have cars. The missionary, and of course a Missionary has a car, but the missionary from Kansas the other day had a car. NGO’s always have big Toyota Land Rover, they go first class, at the cost to buy a village, or they do not go.

Time to go look for candles, my book is getting good.

Lights Out Ghana

Lonely Planet Africa

Lonely Planet Africa
Takoradi Ghana
Thursday, August 10, 2006

I paid a small fortune to have the Lonely Planet Africa scanned; therefore, I can carry the book. A total waste of money as the hotel situation is bleak, not enough information to be helpful. Hard to say the solution, the Lonely Planet West Africa, I have is 7 years old, hard to buy them when moving from place to place. I should have put up the money for the more recent Lonely Planet Africa, not possible to carry all the guides I need, and not sure, they are worth the money. The guides I would guess are purchased only by NGOs, which stay in five Star Hotel and do not need a guide. Nothing easier to find on the planet than a 5 Star Hotel, the art it to find a good valued Hotel, and the Lonely Planet does a good job, but Africa is not in their critical need good information on the planet section.

Lonely Planet Africa

Arrived in Tokoradi Ghana

Arrived in Tokoradi Ghana
Takoradi Ghana
Thursday, August 10, 2006

I arrived in the city of Tokoradi, Ghana, moderately big city around 300, 000 people and has internet I believe. The upper levels of Ghana seem to speak English however; the English of more common or people I need to talk with speak very rough English. I almost think I was doing better in French, Cote d-Voire than here.

The desire to manipulate is reminiscence of India people tend to try too hard, or just plain lie. The Mosden Hotel I am in was asking 180,000 and said that I could only get a room for one night. I proceeded to leave, and she found a room for 130,000 still about 80,000 more than the world-class value for this type of room. I was in the same, or better in the Osamidi, Hotel in Elubo for 50,000, so I am paying more for less. It is very noisy, called the Mosden or something, just across the street from the Big Bus station, it is good room, and toilet seat is missing, as is normal, light in bath does not work. Normal on all accounts for most rooms on the planet.

I took a taxi to the Beachway hotel, never go there, paid the driver to bring me back as he has one desire to show me expensive way off the path, in the middle of nowhere expensive, a person has to be crazy to live there hotels where he will get a commission.

Function proceeds Form, I need a hotel that can function, I have good transportation, I am close to businesses to buy, or look, or be a tourist. The hotels he wishes me to see were nice; I am sure, and about same as living in dumpy hotel in Florida where everyone speaks Spanish. I seen zero persons, in the end, I need and feel safer around people, and do not desire to live in some hotel that expensive and nice, and like Tom Hanks on the desert, Island and soon I will be talking to the soccer ball because of isolation.

This Hotel has cable, black and white, endless Gospel singing and one short time when I could watch CNN International. I think the manager turned off CNN and back to the Fat Women singing.

I will try to find the Internet and a properly priced room soon. If there is Internet, then I will clean my boxes and post the many post and pictures.

The Mosden has a big soft living room chair like the Osomadi in Elubo, I am not sure why, I think it is because they make furniture in the area. A boy was sleeping in the chair when the man came to show me the room. Never rent a room without seeing it first. I wonder if this is really a black and white TV, or just so bad. I should have pushed for room not on the street side.

Arrived in Tokoradi Ghana

Africa and Israel

Africa and Israel
Elubo Ghana
Thursday, August 10, 2006

I found this homourous, as Islamic people seem to group up to hate as a community Israel, however often the Arabics have no use for Black people. What a weired world.

Africa and Israel

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