Edit Blog Post
Published: November 25th 2008
Today I left Lome, the capital of Togo, and came north to Kpalime. I struggled to find things in Lome worthwhile staying for. I went to a great sounding restaurant, which was quite dissapointing, I wondered arround everywhere looking for interesting architecture, and I found very little.
I ended up staying two nights just outside of Lome, in this very eccentric plce called Chez Allice, in Aveposo, 12 east. A german couple, now middle aged, but with a very hippy sense of dècor, monkeys dogs, cats, parrot bat colony and the lot, were company to me and th other guests in the little straw thached bungalows. It was a chance find, I guess. For I got up in the middle of the night in Grand Popo, Benin, and this rather inhebriated Breton, with a fantastic mind, latched on to me and we ended up chatting for almost a few hours!!! till like 4 or 5 am. Well, I learn about his life, we concur on any number of dissapointments with humanity, fail to find a solution to it all, allas, but I have to say it counted as "clicking". As in "we clicked", and so in the morning, I decide
to continue with my planned departure, due to my discovery of certain visa deadlines, and off I go to Togo, with a recommendation for the hotel in Lome, of the Breton and his equally aged by partying in Africa, Italian friend who just happened to be at the hotel aswell! Ah the beauties of life.
My god, I set out to talk about today and I'm allready 4 days ago, how does my mind work!!! Anyway, I only stayed in Lome so long because, as usual, I met a great group of people. 3 French and a Togolese. So fun, so interesting to chat to, they spent 2 months where I am now, Kpalime, working with this side of their NGO. Insight into Togo, great fun Togolese guy, lovely time in Lome! I really have to cut myself short, otherwise I'd write the whole journey, so, this morning I get a moto taxi. These things are great fun to ride on, I have to say. You see life go past you so often, due to dangerous driving, it's nice, you get to see loads of parts you forgot about, so entertaining, no seriously, it is quite magical, the flow of the body, winding through the other cars, the necessary letting go of it all as we miss another big lorry coming straight at us, holes in the road you see, the wind on your face, the colours of the clothes of the other people who zoom by, the heat of the fumes, if just the smell is not quite as magical. One feels the flow of life, humanity, urbanity and traffic.
We get to the the shared van which will take me to Kpalime, they bundle me in so quickly I forget to have breakfast, as usual. So desperate everyone is to get your money, the flow takes you faster than you can think. It is a kind of efficiency, however deeply masked it might be. I watch the city fade away, the rich neighbourhoods with surprisingly creative and ostentatios architecture, contemporary and not cutting edge, to be sure, but noteworthy nevertheless. Then the countryside, the open fields, the grand trees with fanned out triangular roots to support their great hight. The hundreds of beautiful compositions of views drifting in and out. The light, and the cool breeze, announcing we are climbing into the mountains. This is Coffee and Cocoa country I am told by the guide book. I search for them, but fail. As my hunger grows, conveniently we stop at a grilled plantain spot, 100 CFA for 2, thats about 33 cents of an Euro. Warm, toasted on the outside, a good texture, a nice meal.
Finally we are in kpalime after a few hours on a so so road. An adorable mountain town, crumbling clonial architecture everywhere, so much character. My hotel is cheap, and right next to the cyber cafe. It reminds me of a mini scale Petropolis in Rio state, Brazil. I'll try to see coffee plantations tomorrow and have a walk in the forests. It feels like the closest I'll get from my Brazilian hometown of Domingos Martins. Surrealistically, This being Togo, and it having been colonized by Germans at one point, and because the Cathedral in town, next to my accomodation, is built in a very protestant style, I recognize it, I know where I am, I feel culturally at home in a strange unprovable too twisted to explain manner. How does a Buddhist BrazilianScottish end up feeling identified with Christian German Cathedral in Togo after all?
I want to explore, so as soon as I leave my bag in the hotel, I leave for a walk, 10:30, too early to seriously consider lunch, but I end up looking for the little restaurant I got a recommendation for, from the French guys who stayed here a couple of months. It takes some time, I discover some more nice houses, crumbling. A number of people want to sell me african art and handicrafts, like every other day since I began the trip. And a couple always get ofended you are not interested. Well I find the place int he end. A lovely little family buisness. The mum cooks, the kids come up to play, the kitch decoration with posters of swiss scenes on the wall, it was enchanting. So surprised was I, when out of this curous place, comes teh salad I ordered on a really swish square plate. Yellow I think it was, a lovely presentation, soooo fresh, so caringly presented. It was really nice. And the omelette with chips that came after that. I will be going back tonight to try something more typical. It appears to be a broth, made with fried corn flower and tomatoes. Who knows. Of course there is a difficult side to everything in Africa, and as I'm trying to put down most of what happened to me today, I should also mantion those parts. The father, an angel, really wants me to do a tour with him. See the countryside, go to plantations, etc.. etc.. so he sits there trying to sell me as much as he can, the walk, the piknick, the transport, the food for the guide, it always piles up you know. The side of things I don't enjoy dealing with. But hey, I might use him in the end, just a shame one HAS to go through the whole sales pitch and extra add ons thing, as it would have been just as effective if not more to just give me the final 2000CFA per hour rate he ended up asking for. Not much, but it's the waste of time, the begging and nitpicking that takes the fun out of some moments of the day.
But allas the day is far from over, it is only 1600, and I have the afternoon with a book, and a dinner, to try the most typical dish of the region, a life ahead of me, even with one behind me allready! The things one can do when they don't watch television all day!
From Togo with Love, Douglas.
Tot: 0.085s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 12; qc: 56; dbt: 0.054s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb