Next Stop: Togo

Monday, March 02, 2020
Lome, Maritime Region, Togo
This morning we took the hotel shuttle to the airport at 7:30. We arrived two minutes later and waited a short time in the terminal until we could check in for the ASky flight to Lomé, Togo. ASky is persnickety about luggage rules. Lee is traveling with only two carryon bags, a small back pack and a very small roller bag. The agent weighed they both and said combined they were too heavy so the backpack would have to be checked. He explained that their web site says he could take both, (and it does!), but the agent would not accept it, and insisted. So he transferred a few items to his small roller and checked the backpack. Having learned about ASky the hard way myself some years ago, I kept my computer day pack out of site at my feet until the check-in procedure was complete and the agent was distracted by other things. So I was able to keep both my carry-ons. We had a discussion about this later on; I explained a few of my hard-learned tips for navigating African airlines.
We waited in the departure lounge about 90 minutes, then were walked down to a bus stop where waited to be taken to the plane which was not at a jet-bridge. The bus took so long we could have walked to the plane in less time, but them’s the rules. We boarded the Bombardier Q400, also known as the Dash 8. It’s a small turboprop that can hold 60 or 70 passengers depending on configuration. ASky uses these for its short-haul flight. We left on time and arrived a little early. We couldn’t see much during the flight due to overcast conditions.
On deplaning we went through the formalities necessary to get a visa on arrival, this process takes about half an hour, it took almost that long to get our luggage.
Pierre Kloutsé was waiting for us in the arrival hall. It was very hot outside, probably as hot as it was in Abidjan. We’re close to 100° F here.
The other hotels I have usually used have severed their contracts with Ibis, Mercure and Radisson, and as a result the quality but not the price is slipping. So I decided to check online and find something else. I found one that was well reviewed, right on the bay, for about 60 dollars a night per room. That’s about half the price of several others and a quarter the price of the most expensive.
Would it be comfortable and safe enough? We’d go find out. We drove passed the new port over the big overpass and along the seafront looking for the hotel. They had such a strange sign that we didn’t see it; it looked like an advertisement for a soft drink. When we finally did find the street it took us into a slum that didn’t look at all inviting. But when we got to the little hotel, it turned out to be quite inviting. A courtyard full of green grass, a decent sized pool, and tables arrayed along the water just above the sandy beach. There is a reef of some sort about 30 yards out, which seems to allow protected swimming. The currents along these coasts are very dangerous, it regularly occurs that swimmers who risk the surf are swept away and drown. But as we arrived there were people heading into the water.
I asked to see a room which was clean enough. We were assured that the air con works well. So we decided to stay. It’s about 10 minutes longer to fetch us, but we’ll save probably 500 dollars and the location is pleasant for work.  We thanked Pierre for shuttling us to the hotel and we said we’d meet again in the evening when our elder here, Guy Ahialegbedzi, would come also.
After Pierre left Lee and I had lunch at a table with a lovely view of the water. This establishment is owned by a Lebanese, so there is lots of Middle Eastern food on the menu. We both ordered a mini-mezza. I was hoping for a beer, but saw none on the menu, perhaps they were Muslim and would not sell alcohol. I was half right. It turns out the owners will not sell alcohol, but a beer, wine and spirits menu is available, but those items must be paid for separately in cash, and this side of things apparently does not officially belong to the hotel owner. Bottom line, we had our beer, and it was wonderful on such a hot day.
The afternoon we spent working on our upcoming presentations and getting caught up with other things. Lees’ AC was not working well enough, so he switched rooms for one that did.
About 6:30 our two friends came back and we sat for an hour catching up on news and planning the use of our next days. It is a true joy to work with these two men who have been faithful in the truth for so long. Selfishly, I wish I could clone them both.
After they left we had a light dinner and will turn in fairly early, we’re both tired from the last few days.

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Comments

mary
2020-03-03

Great news you found a motel that's cheaper, nicer, with beach front, and a cooperative manager/owner. Inspiring compliment for the two men who have served so faithfully "in the truth for so long."

2022-01-27