I get up every morning and go the University Street to use the internet. My hotel is at least 20 minutes away and I have to cross the river. It is a nice trip because I get to see lots of Mosul.
I have one of the boys working in the Hotel assist me to choose a Taxi. There are Taxis that are marked, and Taxis that are not marked. The should know the lay of the land a little better. My one friend has written in Arabic the street. So I show the Taxi the card. Show the man 750 Saddam faced Dinar and they nod their head OK.
We go. 750 Dinar is about 50 cents USA. So the Taxis is very cheap. In most countries of this level it would be 1 dollar. So half priced.
I have had very good luck with Taxi driver. They have been great. But this morning the man obviously did not like the USA. This make the morning and the trip a little more tense. He took his hand. Said "America"
Made and X across his hand.
I have no idea exactly what that meant.
I took my 2 index fingers and said,
"America / Iraq."
Like to show that we are married.
He shakes his head no.
Not a lets get over it type of guy.
I look down the road and avoid eye .
Maybe I need to club this guy. Who really knows.
But as a normal disagreement and that all it is.
He took me to the street.
I shook his hand goodbye.
He gave me a clam.
I put my hand to my chest and said,
At least I did no harm to the relationships.
I am in Arbil. The taxi driver stopped and insisted I
take a photo of this restaurant...
It just occurred to me on why most people think they hate Americans.
They are probably too afraid to say they are from America or they
lie, so the people lie back. They reap what they sow.
If you complain about the world, people will complain back.
If you are in love with life, then they will love life with you.
If you look for a problem, you will find one. Self prophecy or
writing that substantiate a proposition that is already there.
Of course this could be said about me also.
7:00 AM Taxi
Friday July 8, 2005
I asked the manager of the impossible to spell correctly Filaretai Hostel here in Vilnius, Lithuania when the office opened in the morning, he wish to know why. I said so I can call a taxi, he said there would be no problem. He asked me at what time I wanted a Taxi and I said, 7:00 AM.
He looked at me as if he had never awoken that early in life, and I was crazy.
Taxi came as agreed, and this is good as represents the cultural ability to work. It cost 10.20 Lithuania money to the bus stop; this is maybe about 3 Dollars. U.S. The guy had a meter, upon arriving I was able to find a bus leaving in 25 minutes, so all is good.
TAXIS IN EASTERN EUROPE
I am thinking the price of a taxi is a good value in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for sure, I am told the price of countries goes down. This means from my experimentation that Eastern Europe can be easy to travel. Germany is still a hassle, although I think Poland is cheap.
The cost of Hostel is too high in Riga and Tallinn, however if you worked very hard I think you could find a room in both for 10 Dollars, instead of the 20-25 Dollars. Riga is a very convenient city, however for sure living inside the tourist bubble.
I will go to Marijampole or something like that, close to the border of Poland, and then I have to find a room. So far, my luck at finding rooms in small places has been good. I think the taxis could be help; however, no one in Lithuania speaks English worth a hoot. I need to figure out a way to communicate, they just ignore me, so very difficult to figure out, sign language, writing thing down etc, does not work when people ignore you.
Cheaper Airport Taxis I am in the Barbados Airport, sitting on the floor in front of the departure station in front of the Liat Airlines, no chair, waiting very confused in No-Mans land, where I have I think already left the country, not sure, nothing is clear. On the entrance to Barbados they had the normal queue of Taxis, I did not have any Barbados money so went searching for a Bank Machine. They had an exchange, however not what I do, I never have travelers checks. Very seldom exchange when entering, sometimes just for taxi money. However because the Barbados Airport has the ATM machines in the wrong area, the departure, I needed to walk to the departure entrance to the airport. Well, I got my money, then walked out, flagged a taxi down, he only charged me 25 Barbados and not the 30 quoted. Many airports have an extortion system of taxis, you must pay. Only way to avoid is to walk outside the airport. Not the safest or easiest thing to do. I have learned in Bangkok, very organized place that when the queue is very long I can go up to the second floor and grab a taxi just dropping off passengers. The taxi does not have to pay all the pay to play in the airport fees, is very happy, no wait
Cheaper Airport Taxis
I am in the Barbados Airport, sitting on the floor in front of the departure station in front of the Liat Airlines, no chair, waiting very confused in No-Mans land, where I have I think already left the country, not sure, nothing is clear.
On the entrance to Barbados they had the normal queue of Taxis, I did not have any Barbados money so went searching for a Bank Machine. They had an exchange, however not what I do, I never have travelers checks. Very seldom exchange when entering, sometimes just for taxi money. However because the Barbados Airport has the ATM machines in the wrong area, the departure, I needed to walk to the departure entrance to the airport.
Well, I got my money, then walked out, flagged a taxi down, he only charged me 25 Barbados and not the 30 quoted.
Many airports have an extortion system of taxis, you must pay. Only way to avoid is to walk outside the airport. Not the safest or easiest thing to do.
I have learned in Bangkok, very organized place that when the queue is very long I can go up to the second floor and grab a taxi just dropping off passengers. The taxi does not have to pay all the pay to play in the airport fees, is very happy, no wait
This is Raj Pal; he is a nice person and a taxi driver here in the Pahar Ganj area of Delhi, India. I have used him twice; the cost of a taxi to the airport is about 200 Rupees. It is July of 2006; I am sure the price rise over time; however, he is a good choice. His English is good, and an interesting conversationalist. I talked with him for two hours at the domestic airport while waiting for the two-hour late place from Goa with Sahara Air that Andrew used to fly to Delhi.
I went down yesterday to find Raj Pal; I am worried desperately about my health. I got severe boils for about one year until I discovered the problem. I was not eating healthy and correct, I believe it was malnutrition. This lowers my immunities and enables the growth of problems.
GOAL - go to a big super market.
I wanted to go with Raj Pal to a nice, big, huge, Wal-Mart size, I am joking, but a large, big super market. I am thinking, this is going to cost me about 200 Rupees or 4 U.S.A. dollars to take a trip to the nice part of town.
FAILURE - he cannot drive this area.
Two problems, he says this area is very far from
He said, Mardi or something like that, I do not know, his native language I am sure is Hindi, well, what can I do, I wanted to go to a supermarket that had variety. I guess I can take him this map and he could point out the area that has big nice markets. He says he would need to pay 500 Rupees per day taxes to drive in this area, thus he cannot go this area.
I am indirectly or directly according to how you look at it, insulting his culture, it is hard to proceed. He says,
- Why don’t you go to the market? -
I am next to a fresh fruit and vegetable market, anyway I do it though, I would need to cook some of these unknown vegetables, I do not know or want them. I am trying to get that fresh clean fruit feeling. I have been thinking about buying some carrots or cabbage. I can clean them, I hope, peal the carrots.
Oh well, Raj Pal is a good guy.
Sunday August 6, 2006
Aboisso Ivory Coast
This is a taxi or group taxi between cities. I do not like him sitting my bags up like that, they can fall out and the computer go boom.
West Africa Motorcycle Taxis
Bohicon or Abomey Benin West Africa
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
There is a maybe a 5-6 kilometer or mile distance between these two cities, yesterday I drove a round trip by Motorcycle taxi to Abomey, then did not like the place and came back to Bohicon. I was on a Moto, Zim, or whatever you call them for about one hour looking for a MOTEL as I have finally accepted. Note an Auberge is the cheaper lodging here, I should be saying an Auberge, however does not matter, the taxi drivers do not speak French well.
This is the smaller version of a motorcycle taxi, sometime more of a scooter, not a big difference if you have no bag. I do not want a powerful motorcycle and a stupid West Africa person driving. Better if the Moto is slow, and cannot pass everything like a crazy man.
This is a good Moto or Zim to get on, the rack allows a heavy backpack room to rest and not strain your back.
This one is ok for short trips, but who ever knows how far the trip is, if a person is weak, they really need the top type of motorcycle for a taxi and not this type without the rack.
This Moto is good for a backpack.
LOOK at the rack on the back, when you sit with a backpack on your back, the weight of the pack will rest on the rack.
I have two backpack, a front and a back one. I go very heavy; I have about 40 Kilos or 85 Pounds of weight. I do not walk around far, at best to get me to walk about 200 yards or meters is a push. I can take a taxi in the 80 percent of the planet I travel normally for less than 2 dollars and normal price is one dollar. Weight is not a problem.
I am in West Africa; there is this perception that two large backpacks is a problem. Vendors will haul ten times the amount of food items from market to market in car or truck. I can go between cities with zero problems. However getting to the motel is a problem. I have started saying take me to the market or I hope the car between cities ends at a market, and this is normal in the small villages.
I have been having some sore shoulders from riding on motos; it became very apparent that with a rack on the back of the moto I could solve my problem. I will not take care and choose the bigger size rack when I enter a city.
West Africa Motorcycle Taxis
Africa Bush Taxi
Zinder Niger West Africa
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
99 percent of the persons I meet are Volunteers, NGO, and ONG working for government of some country.
1 percent are only tourist, came here to see the sights, the rest came for another reason and then go traveling around to be tourist.
I hear horror stories about Bush Taxis; a Taxi is as best I can tell some foreigner made up label for the Group Taxis here in West Africa. It is like in Guatemala, the Gringos call the buses Chicken Buses, however, the locals do not, and if they did, it would be Spanish.
There are Peugeot Cars, Vans, and small trucks, whatever the size; this vehicle is used to transport people between cities in West Africa. This is the cheapest and easy way to travel from village to village, therefore the dominant way to travel by the person of the country.
The NGO-ONG-TOYOTA Land Cruiser is the vehicle of the Foreigners; maybe 10-30 percent of the vehicles I see is this Toyota. If you see a foreigner in a vehicle, it is a Toyota Land Cruiser, Rover, or whatever.
I have only one time seen a White Person a Bush Taxi while I have been in West Africa, even though I have traveled from Cote d’Ivoire, to Ghana, to Togo to Benin, to Niger by land.
This car is difficult, it travels very slowly, and the distance it covers in one hour is very small. The roads it travels on are normally close to perfect for travel. Straight, flat, wide and in a NGO-TOYOTA we could easily do 70-100 Kilometers per hour, or about 60-70 Miles per hour, with no problem. I could drive across Africa 2 times faster than I could drive across Asia or South America, etc, there are few cars, mostly wide open spaces and the main roads in the countries I have traveled are flat and great compared to South America, or Asia, India or the developing planet that is 80 percent of the planet… hehehe, the normal planet.
I am amused and sad at the same time when I hear the Volunteers and snobs talk about the Bush Taxis. I for sure am not happy with the speed these vehicles travel, and it is annoying how many people they will cluster into on of these cattle cars.
However, I think of all the silly people in Asia that rent motorcycles in Asia and die because they rent a motorcycle. A bush taxis is extremely safe in comparison to riding a motorcycle in Asia.
I think about the number of people who die walking down the road, I know of two travelers who have been killed as they walked down the road.
Walking along the road, because there is not sidewalk or the sidewalk is so full of venders it is impossible, is danger, very dangerous, incredibly dangerous. Africa it is not as dangerous as South America, India or Asia, etc because there is only one-tenth the numbers of cars on the road to make me a target. I only have to be careful of a few cars, and it is the NGO-TOYOTA that scares me the most.
The NGO-ONG put the locals in them here in Niger, they could care less about the life of humans, that is why they are low on HDI, they do not care about human life, then they drive a car as a weapon.
Life is a comparison, they wish to compare Niger to Haiti or Niger to Cambodia, however, they never went to Cambodia, and it is something they read. I hear stories about the USA constantly from people who never have been in the USA, however because they read it, seen in on CNN or BBC it is real.
Well, the sad part to me is this, Africa is an extremely easy place to travel providing you can learn enough French to say directions and buy something. I am finding many of the countries so simple now, I am willing to wander about anywhere, and I can see that this will be my Continent of choice. No tourist, lots of space and easy to travel, and a never-ending new ethnic groups, funky something to see, a great place for person who like to visit the people of countries.
This is almost the perfect place for anyone that has traveled South America as a backpacker.
Now, backpackers are now tourist, they are not suffering as if some did 10 years ago, they are become snobs, trolley tramps, carts, wheels and all sorts of modern conveniences. The bush taxi is like getting on a bus to ride to Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, not fun, but you do it.
50-100 Kilometer jumps are easy in Africa, a new culture normally a change, something new.
A person that reads the Guidebooks should understand, they are not written by people who are poor backpackers in Africa. It was some rich enough to travel anywhere person who never did the tough it trip of 33 hours between Santiago Chile and Punta Arenas because they had no choice.
They are driving around in 4-wheel drive air-conditioned NGO-SUV-TOYOTA they are clueless on being a backpacker. They are recommending consistently a motel that needs car, there is no need for a backpack that you put on you back to walk, they never walked, and they were in a car.
So, the bottom line, is this place is ready for any ready to do South America, Central America traveler, the Asia travelers are more party and get drunk set, and not as tough, the India travelers are somewhat up to snuff, probably would be happy here, easier than India, and 20 times cleaner, no 50 times.
The Bush taxi is not for tourist, and either is South America. However, a good old Backpacker that has traveled or knows South America would have zero problems.
Whatever you hear about the bush taxi, it is not fun, but it is convenient and works.
Africa Bush Taxi
Tupi Philippines Southeast Asia
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I have traveled less than 50 miles and the type of tricycle taxi has changed. I see the taxis in terms of production, how can they make so many types of bikes, taxis, and then manufacture cheap enough to stay in business?
Tupi Philippines Taxi
General Santos Taxi
I realized, these are sidecars and not really a trycycle.
80 Liter 80 Pound Backpack
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
I have two 40 liter bags, one for the front and one for my back, I guesstimate they max out at about 80 pounds when loaded properly. Yesterday, I purchased rice, almost salt, and a few cans of vegetables. In India I purchased a new 220 Electric Hot Plate. I found two one pint or 500 milliliter bottle of alcohol for fuel. This stuff weighs a lot.
The weight is not a problem, the moto taxis or a car taxi cost between 40 cents US and 4 dollars on average to get from any hotel to any inter-city collective taxi departure point. It is the volume or space needed in the backpacks that is a problem. I was not able to finish the expandable part of my backpack, because of incompetence on the part of the Nepal backpack makers, therefore I missing a critical part of my back. I need an extra 20-40 liters of storage compartments now and again, not always, yet, I do need it sometimes. The can goods, the heater, the rice, for sure the 2 bottles of alcohol take up too much space for an airplane trip and would be jettisoned before I fly anywhere. I forgot, I also want to carry another 4-8 books, aaagh, there is a real need for volume.
I am trying to muse, dwell, obsess on this issue before I move out of Lome, Togo, I need a solution or I am going to be like ever other dingaling backpackers, and be carrying gear in plastic bags. I do not tie things on the outside of the bag, I do not carry plastic bags along with my backpacks. I can and am capable of tying items to the bags, both bags are made exactly for this, however I am really wanting everything all the gear inside the bags. I think I need to have a special 20 liter bag made that will become a cap or part of my bag, this is annoying, every time I think of this I get angry at the Nepal bag makers, knowing they were just slow in the head, and very under-developed emotionally to handle the project. They could copy anything, yet to create became impossibly long, this is the under-developed aspect of under-developed, right along with the lack of develop manners and caring.
I just realized, I am in Lome, a city, it would be better to go to a smaller village and do this than to stay in Lome and try to get city people to care. Village people are much more culturally able to care for something than a city person who by nature of a city become jaded, money hungry, not nurturing because of the socialization of cities.
I have a bag of sorts, a pillow of sorts, I will fasten it on the outside of the bag, it is extremely safe and compact, just not the ideal way to carry items, however better than 99 percent of the other backpackers idea of a good idea. I do not like to lose items, I do not like when I accidentally set something down and walk away and lose the item. I have both a mosquito net and a rain poncho, the rain poncho pretends it is a rock, the number one worst item in my bag probably for weight. I use this poncho and mosquito net about almost never, but when I need them, I need them.
Telltale signs of how much you need a mosquito net, the Brit guy, riding his motorcycle across West Africa for three years now, came down from Morocco to Senegal, I think went across to Mali and East to Togo. Lived one year in Senegal and one year in Ghana. He says,
- Oh yea, I forgot, I still need to buy a mosquito net. -
I mentioned the mosquito net rule, of things you need to carry, because on the one night per year when you need them, you would do about anything to have them. Ok, he is on a motorcycle, there is a perceived idea that these persons would be camping along side roads and such, GONG, not so true.
I have been thinking, what is unusual about Africa is to take public transportation across Africa, it almost makes me think a motorcycle, van or truck of some sorts would be the easy way. It is more unique to take public transport than to drive in Africa.
Here is a photo of a SUV or 4-wheel drive overland trips.
This vehicles was parked in front of the Galien Hotel in Lome, Togo for a short time, not sure why? However, I would say this is about the most prepared for bear vehicle I have seen. I hope they have a winch on the front or back somewhere? I cannot see one in the photo.
Theft and getting stuck, man this seems like a great truck to rob, it is pretty obvious they probably have money. I think about a van, but I want about a 100-200 foot cable winch so I can get unstuck about anywhere.
I am in a quandary, the vehicle owners here have for sure worked very hard to be prepared. However, if they was extremely prepared in my view, I would never have noticed the truck, thinking, just another Junker on the road. I noticed, therefore from a safety point of view a little over the edge.
The difficult part about going across Africa seems to the Chad, Congo, Angola area of questionable safety.
80 Liter 80 Pound Backpack
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
My Backpack is a Boat
Tsevie, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I can carry 80 liters of gear easy in my two backpacks. I hope to add a few caps and increase the easy capacity to 160 liters of junk, this is about 35 kilos or close to 80 pounds.
Today was a sad day in Lome for me this morning before I left for Tsevie, as I decided to offload about 20 liters of non-essential items. I left a lot of gear or my home furnishings in Lome in the room, and moved on down the road.
I have been carrying about 100 liters of volume, however to do so, I needed to tie a bag on the bottom of my backpack. The backpack worked perfect for this, and when Michael was with me, he tied or used bungee cords and connected his gear on the bottom of one of my bags. If I put on the bottom it makes the ride on the Motorcycle Taxis more comfortable as it allows the bottom of the bag to sit higher and less stress on my shoulders while on the bike.
However, I trimmed the boat, and offloaded some cargo. Not because I wanted too, but because I like convenience. Tying the bag on the bottom took time, and I did not feel lean and mean with the set up.
A photo of Michael way off and the photos is blurred, however you can see that the small grain bag full of his gear on the bottom allows the backpack to ride lighter on the shoulders of the rider. If it hangs, the weight it continually bouncing, I also can loosen the straps and allow to also go lower, but the bottom bag helps a lot.
The grain bag was not easy to tie on, and the truth is, I had a lot of non-essential items, and miscellaneous pack rat items, some experimental gear items, that were not working.
This is my home, these are my possessions, I become enamored with them and do not like to let go. I do have a clothing policy, if I do not wear it often and regular, I throw it away, normally means I leave in the hotel room.
I need an easy to clip on cap or bag, that I can load, then just clip on the bottom, when I get near the combinations of material, tailor, clips and such, I will make one. Annoying to think how the boys of Nepal could not get their act together to make this simple item, or I would have four right now.
The way I pack a bag is like a boat, the heavy in the bottom, the side-to-side weight is balanced, I try to distribute the good properly, and if the boat is overloaded, I go to port and unload some cargo, and leave again. I have a front and back pack, this distributes the weight to the front and back, they are both the same size, and 40 liters in capacity. I do not really care about weight, as I never plan on walking, I plan on taxis, except in Europe and then I buy a 2-wheel cart, because all I do is walk, hard to get fat there.
Right now, I would like to be carrying about 5 more kilos of books in English as I am down to one English book, and Africa is French.
Backpacks, Gear, West Africa Gear, Motorcycles, Togo Transportation, Togo, West Africa Transportation, Taxi,
Togo Transportation Changes
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I have adapted to the size and conditions of Togo.
Togo is small, I could probably go from the bottom to the top in one day, and across in a couple of hours. I am held within this land mass by the borders, which could take minutes or hours to cross. In a way, am held hostage by the Visas I hold or do not hold if they open all the borders for easy crossing, then people could travel West Africa logically and not play chess with the Governments Visa offices.
Ok, it appears to me that the Gares or Bus stations are walking into the Gas company or Electric company and saying,
Yes, I will take a number, yes I will pay the price, yes I will be abused and yes, I understand I have no choice.
IF I buy a ticket in advance in Africa, it is putting my head on a rock and asking them to hit my head with a hammer. They have me between a rock and a hard spot, the can be abused and I can get in the queue and say,
- HIT ME. -
If I pay in advance for about any services in West Africa, I an almost guarantee this is me volunteering to be the receiver of abuse.
I have decided that it is wise to avoid all bus stations, especially and notably when they want me to pay in advance.
I went to the Gare of the Kpalime bus station. I paid 1750 CFA for a ticket to Lome. They then had me paying, they wanted 1000 CFA for my bags, which in theory I had already paid for, then they was willing to put me in with four 4-H size champion cows, that stink, sweat and eat way too much Fufu. (Fat women.)
I opted out.
I went to the highway flagged down a car and took a taxi for the same amount of money that was faster and more comfortable, but not the vehicle the ONG-NGO would use as a poster child to say how bad life is in Africa.
Therefore, today, my present strategy I a hop, skip and jump world, this is Andy Hobo Jargon.
In this world for ease of travel and speed.
Under says 30-50 Kilometers I take a moto.
Over 30-50 Kilometers I take or flag down a car, at the exit roads of the city, not at the station.
NOTE: I have never paid for my bags yet in West Africa,
- I just say NO. -
I can be bully also, easy to be, I am type A, Alpha Male, and will do what I do, if I am being bullied, I reciprocate and we can see who is Alpha. Nevertheless, money, in the hands before I receive services is too much temptation for these people, they do not care, they are tyrant in mentality, I have it, and you will not get it back.
On a moto, I can get the driver to slow down, stop, and allow me to take a photo, and extreme cooler. This could be dangerous for persons who are sunburned easy.
Cars outside of leaving the city are opportunist travelers, they have a car, they want to go from city to city, and can decrease the cost of driving by picking up riders. Inside the bus stations, they are intent on packing as much in the car, or on top of a van as possible, they do not care, the more then pack, the more they abuse, the more money they make. The opportunist on the other hand, may have a newer car, I was in less than a two-year-old car a couple of times, and they will not put bananas on top of the car.
IF I am lucky, I get a car, which is NOT a station wagon, this is the best vehicle to ride in, and for comfort, just a normal 4-door car, and however, they are still capable of putting five people in the back seat for abuse reasons.
If I spoke French better, then I could maneuver the front seat better. The price of cars along the road appears to be the same as the station as they cannot charge more or everyone would go to the station.
This should work for most countries in West Africa, and if I take less than 50 Kilometer - SKIPS, - I will go slower, learn more, and travel more pleasant.
I think the idea would be to have a motocross type motorcycle and buy it in the country and sell in the country, but this seems close to impossible unless I travel for longer than two months per country. It would be feasible for six months per baby countries, and this is a baby country.
Taxi, Tranportation, Togo Transportation, West Africa Transportation, Togo, Budget Togo,
Togo Transportation Changes
Amlame to Atakpame Togo by Moto
Atakpame, Togo, West Africa
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Amlame to Atakpame is 28.1 Kilometers
I made it to Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Auberge Coordinates - L’amities 3000 CFA Bath outside with Fan
April 25, 2007
07 degrees 31.315 North
001 degrees 08.952 East
297 Meters of altitude above sea level
I am getting better at this Togo Travel thing, I asked the owner of the 3000 CFA Auberge in Amlame, called - The Meet - how much a Moto was from Amlame to Atakpame, they said,
- 1000 CFA -
I went to the road, I say to the Moto,
- 1000 Atakpame -
- 1500 -
I repeat 1000, frown, threaten to walk away, and he still says 1500, I finally say, checked he had mirrors, looked at his face, eyes, foot pads for me feet, they were slightly bent down, then said,
- Ca Bon -
I give the boy my front bag, climbed, on with the back one still on my bag, and had a wonderful ride to Atakpame in the breeze, baby mountains on the left, larger than normal trees, and a quick run for the big city. He never one, grumped on the price, and no threatening bully ideas, to extort money.
I forgot to say,
- Trop Cher -
Meaning in French, something like too much cost or too much expensive.
This was great, I am learning how to negotiate with the taxis with the least amount of arguments. I need to set the tone, I argue with them, then ague some more, say too expensive, then get on the taxi. The Togo brain believe all white men are rich, stupid and will pay money because it grows on trees for us, and someone is paying this stupid amount of money. They learned it somewhere.
My father would say,
- You never learned the value of money and of hard work. -
Africa does not know the value of money and of hard work, there is an inclination to not work, and take the money. All the leader seem to prove that…
I really do not care about the 2 or 3 dollars here, it is the principle of not making beggars and corruption on the planet. I am not going to enable them to abuse me.
I must argue for everything in a way, or they think I am stupid, and will just give them money for nothing. The art here is a little different than other taxis, as they are bigger, and will really get aggressive. I think if there was two of us, me and another person then I would have maybe less problems. The biggest problem with motos is to have the correct change at the end, or they will again go into whine and baby mode, anger, child tantrum mode, demanding to keep the change.
I am in constant trying to break the 10,000 and 5,000 CFA notes the bank give me down to smaller one, then get the 1000 notes down to coins. In a perfect world, I would walk into a bank and collect the change, this is not that world, and it really just normal.
I am trying to make my life simple, this moto mode of travel is in a way perfect, until my French improves and I am able to negotiate the front seat of the Peugeot Cattle Wagons better, I am better with the Motos.
I think I prefer the cars, but they are too slow, stop too much, and in the end, they just do not leave until they are full, but better for long hauls, I am in Skip, maybe Hop mode, not Jumps mode of Travel.
Moto, Motorcycle Taxi, Taxi, Togo Transportation, West Africa Transportation,
Amlame to Atakpame Togo by Moto
Togo Pig Accident
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
We hit a pig, I think the pig is ok.
I was on Motorcycle Taxi, for what I hoped was nice peaceful trip from Atakpame, to Badou. My camera was on my lap, all was good, we was just clearing all the city perimeters on the road to Badou when the driver hit a pig.
I now have about a three abrasions, a two inch, a one inch, and one on my head, I think is about 1.5 inches. Hard to see, the mirrors are normal, no good, do not have to worry about vanity, I can never see myself that well.
Got a good thump on the head, nothing major, was a little dizzy, the bigger problem was the insistent, panic, noisy people around me, I was glad I was out in the country and less people to bother me.
I got them to lighten up and relax ,by asking this exceptionally beautiful girl to come back to my hotel and help me clean my wounds. She did not come, but it did change the focus from some trauma thing to some silly accident thing.
The kept saying,
- Hospital -
In French of course, and their French as really bad, I kept asking, do I have a cut on my head. I am going to go look up the word to check, the word for cut is:
- Couper -
I was correct, I was talking real slow, and slowly repeating this word to the growing group of locals, and one military guy. There is some military something right at the turn to Badou, and they came out to join in the saying of,
- Hospital -
I kept trying to get the Togo people to relax, Finally, after I stopped being dizzy, walked over into the shade and sat down. Ask for a drink of water, then they had problems with the word water in French.
- l’eau -
I guess in defense of their ability to speak French, they was all thinking in some other language, Akposso or Mina or the unknown local language. To get them to think French took a repetition and a shake them up holler.
- l’eau -
I say this word all the time, I know how to ask for water.
I drank some water, change the focus from me to the girl by asking the girl her name. Then the locals started laughing, and the focus change from a problem that needed noisy chatter, to a problem that was not a problem, just a complicated situation.
The Moto driver had someone drive him back, he followed me to the hotel and wanted paid. I think he wanted more, but I just gave him the fare to Badou, of course he wanted paid for nothing, as normal, I had already advanced 2000 CFA in Petrol money.
I said goodbye. I am sure many people have moto accidents every day here in Togo, there is no room for error here. I was sort of trying to induce the driver on the way back, to not tailgate the motorcycle of the moto driver that wrecked. Every sense of good driving habits stops when you leave Europe or the USA. What is good, and maybe the saving grace, is because of the crazy drivers, and no laws enforced, nobody can go fast enough to really get hurt, they, it it is difficult to find a good stretch of road for speed. I think in many ways walking along the road can be more dangerous. A pig jump in front a car, the car swerves and kills you, on a moto it is a 20-30 Kilometer per hour bike crash.
I will have a few large scabs for a few weeks, I did not get to see the pig.
The screen on my camera broke, the computer is fine because in a plastic tub, inside the bag. The one bag is very bad shape, need a shoe repair man.
Note, the girl just left, she came over to ask for money… They never turn down an opportunity to ask for money. Amazing lack of care for human life, everything is money.
Togo Pig Accident
Hobo Members save 1000's of dollars by joining HoboTraveler and asking pro travelers questions on the Hobo Talk Wall.