Friday, February 18, 2005

To Go Or Not To Go

To Togo, that is.

Whether to begin the Benin, as it were.

After all, there I was in Accra, surrounded by delicious food and all, and the only real justification I could give for re-exerting myself and completing my adventure was adding two more countries to my list. Isn't that a little silly?

Well... Look at it this way: All my life I've been looking at maps of places like Togo and Benin, especially weird little places like Togo and Benin, and wondering what exactly was there. I actually think it would be silly to be this close and NOT go check it out.

So Thursday morning I headed east from Accra, this time in an extremely comfortable shared taxi. We first passed through about 20 miles of eastern Accra, on a freeway to boot, surrounded by the type of big time construction you see in Asia. I was once again astounded by how much Ghana has gotten its act together, especially when you consider all the crap and chaos which surrounds it.

Then it was a couple of hours of Sahel by the Sea, replete with baobab trees. This was the famous (to geographers at least) Dahomey Gap that separates West African forest ecology from the rest of the continent. On the way we passed a moderate house right by the road, and my fellow passengers pointed out that that was the weekend home of former President Jerry Rawlings, the guy who 'saved' Ghana about twenty years ago. And he travels with only the smallest of security details, they proudly added.

We got to the Togo border, I went through the formalities, and all of a sudden I was in Lome, the country's capital. Speaking of crap and chaos... Actually, it was better then some of the places I'd been, but I was still glad to get myself squahed into a minivan for the ride to Benin.

Togo is only 30 miles ride, plus a half an hour or so to go through the Benin border, and by 4:30 I was in Ouidah, a town of about 100,000, and the place where voodoo comes from.

But you couldn't tell it from the town vibe, which was simply barebones poverty and not much else happening. The place was too poor for cabs, so I took a motorbike down to the ocean, where there is a big monument to all the slaves taken from here to Brazil. (Here's a Slavery fun fact: Of the 7 million people transported, about half went to Brazil, about half to the Caribbean, and only about 5 percent to the United States.)

I was immediately longing for the much, much more upscale poverty of a small city in Ghana. For food I was back to bad bread and La Vache Qui Rit.

Friday I awoke bright and early and got an air conditioned ride back to Lome. There I got a tight fitting share taxi up to Kpilame, a town up in the Togo hills where I was planning to spend the night. But I was so overwhelmed by the heat and humidity once I arrived that I started having second thoughts.

The Harmattan haze clinched it. For although it hadn't really been a factor since northern Ghana, today it was effectively screening all those beautiful Togo hills(and I could sort of tell that they were) from my eyesight. And breathing the haze was making me (for the first time of the trip) start to feel very faint.

And Ghana, civilized Ghana, Ghana of the ice and fresh orange juice, was right across the border...

So I went down to the car park and sat around for an hour and a half while a small car slowly filled with passengers for Ho. And while I was there I saw my first bunch of African hippies.

Man, were these guys tripped out. Apparently they were from somewhere in the middle of Niger, which, if so, has got to be a destination for me some time. Africans are known for their colorful dress, but let's just say that if these guys had shown up in 1969 they would have stolen the show. I surreptitiously took a couple of pictures, but basically you would have just had to experience how seriously though positively weird they were.

Anyhow, my car finally filled up, and then it was over the hills and through the borders to Ghana. Where I am right now, and where, for only the second time so far on the whole trip, my hotel room doesn't have at least one thing really crapped out about it.

5 Comments:

At 4:02 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey man.How did you get a share taxi from Lome to Kpilame? And how much did it cost?

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

longchamp pas cher, replica watches, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, nike free, polo ralph lauren outlet online, nike roshe, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, polo outlet, louboutin pas cher, louis vuitton, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses wholesale, ray ban sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, sac longchamp pas cher, tiffany and co, ugg boots, gucci handbags, prada outlet, replica watches, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, ugg boots, tory burch outlet, tiffany jewelry, air max, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet, kate spade outlet, christian louboutin outlet, jordan pas cher, nike air max, jordan shoes, nike free run, nike outlet, christian louboutin uk, burberry pas cher, christian louboutin shoes, polo ralph lauren, michael kors pas cher, oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

coach purses, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, sac vanessa bruno, burberry handbags, nike air max uk, hogan outlet, vans pas cher, polo lacoste, michael kors, michael kors outlet online, burberry outlet, north face, nike air max uk, true religion jeans, north face uk, nike roshe run uk, michael kors outlet online, ray ban uk, michael kors outlet, ray ban pas cher, timberland pas cher, converse pas cher, kate spade, sac hermes, michael kors outlet online, ralph lauren uk, lululemon canada, nike air max, hollister uk, coach outlet store online, michael kors outlet online, mulberry uk, true religion outlet, michael kors, michael kors outlet, nike blazer pas cher, nike air force, nike tn, abercrombie and fitch uk, michael kors outlet, uggs outlet, replica handbags, coach outlet, true religion outlet, guess pas cher, hollister pas cher, uggs outlet, new balance

 
At 7:00 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

instyler, abercrombie and fitch, north face outlet, nike roshe run, mcm handbags, nike air max, giuseppe zanotti outlet, vans outlet, timberland boots, nike trainers uk, beats by dre, ray ban, nfl jerseys, hollister, p90x workout, babyliss, soccer jerseys, mont blanc pens, bottega veneta, chi flat iron, mac cosmetics, celine handbags, reebok outlet, valentino shoes, ghd hair, longchamp uk, vans, baseball bats, hermes belt, converse outlet, insanity workout, ralph lauren, hollister clothing, louboutin, herve leger, lancel, hollister, jimmy choo outlet, asics running shoes, nike air max, gucci, north face outlet, soccer shoes, ferragamo shoes, oakley, lululemon, wedding dresses, new balance shoes, nike huaraches, iphone cases

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

canada goose uk, canada goose, moncler, ugg, canada goose outlet, toms shoes, moncler outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, hollister, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, canada goose, ugg pas cher, karen millen uk, coach outlet, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, thomas sabo, swarovski crystal, moncler, ugg uk, links of london, canada goose jackets, louis vuitton, swarovski, juicy couture outlet, supra shoes, wedding dresses, moncler, pandora uk, canada goose, moncler, moncler outlet, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, montre pas cher, louis vuitton, moncler uk, pandora jewelry, pandora jewelry, replica watches, doudoune moncler, pandora charms, ugg,uggs,uggs canada

 

Post a Comment

<< Home