. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: December 11, 1998

Friday, December 11, 1998
Lomé, Togo
Togo's Flag

Lomé, Togo:
Latitude: 6° 9' 2" North
Longitude: 1° 17' 58" East
Altitude: 17 feet
From Seattle: 8229 miles
Lodging: Camp - Robinson Plage

Today's Travel:
Country: Togo
Region: Costal Togo
Weather: Sunny / Partial Sun

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 610
Linear Dist: 130730
Countries Visited: 43
Regions Visited: 173
More stats...
Hotels: 187
Friends / Family: 155
Camping: 61
Hostels: 145
Transit: 55
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 2113

Journal Entry:
Not the best nights sleep. At some point I woke up and something was t ckling my head - I thought it was probably the mosquito net rubbing my hair but it kept going when I moved away. I woke up enough to brush at it and it was one of the land crabs that infest the beach here. Scared the crap out of me. I have no idea how it got inside the mosquito net or got on my head without waking me. It wasn't particularly large (one to two inches wide), but it was large enough and unexpected enough to completely wire me with adrenaline. Between my agitated state and the howling dogs that was pretty much the end of my rest. The upside is that I got to watch a phenomenal sunrise. The horizon was just a little hazy with clouds just above - so the sun rose as an orange ball but then dissolved into a cotton candy pink strip as it hit the cloud layer.

My plan for the day was to go beg for a visa at the Nigerian Embassy. So I shaved put on my nicest clothes and tried to look meek and humble. I went to the embassy and the guard sent me in with a doubtful look, the receptionist told me that only residents could get visas there (what the guide book said). I explained that I had been gone so long that if I had got the visa in the US it would have expired. She told me to sit down and she'd talk to the man. I waited an hour (luckily I was prepared to wait so I had a book) before being direct to an office where the ambassador stood up shook my hand and exchanged pleasantries. I ended up speaking with the man for about half an hour (his first two postings were in the US) it was really pleasant. At the end of the meeting he told me to go down and turn in the application and he'd consider it, confer with his colleagues and the state department - he stressed that he wasn't saying I'd get the visa but he'd think about it - come back Monday. The receptionist was very surprised when I turned in the form (in duplicate), two photos, a photo copy of my passport, my passport, and 27,000 CFA (~$49). When I checked out the guard was also surprised when he asked how it went - obviously I was lucky even to be allowed to apply. I'm not all that confident that I'll get the visa but I'm thinking a 50 percent chance where two hours before I was guessing less than 10 percent.

Met Stu, Joy, and Dean at the Internet cafe. They were just finishing up and I had at least another hour wait so we agreed to meet back at camp and they took off. I spent some time with email and my journal then spent the afternoon walking around Lomé. I had nothing to eat all afternoon (except for vended street treats: Fan, amazing peanut brittle, etc.). In the internet cafe three PCVs had suggested a French run Italian restaurant so I searched it out and had a huge (quite good) Lasagna dinner in a quiet flower shrouded garden.

I caught a taxi back to head back to camp. We quickly agreed on a price but it quickly became obvious that he had no idea where I was going - although he would never tell me that. When I finally explained to him where I was going he demanded 3,000 CFA (we'd agreed on 500 before) - I refused so he drove me to the beach and insisted I pay him or get out - I got out. This was a threat because all the guide books say that if you go to the beach at night you will be robbed. I quickly walked inland and had no problems but the driver sort of pissed me off and ruined my night. I quickly caught another taxi and got back to the camp site. Rest of the night was spent hanging out with the Truck Africa people (they're finally taking off tomorrow and it's doubtful we'll see them again unless it's somewhere on the East coast).

Related Sites:
CNN: Current Weather in Lome
US State Department ConsularInformation Sheets: Togo
CIA World Fact Book: Togo

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