Africa | Togo | Lome – Yoko
I didnt plan on including all of you on my Yoko experience but what can I do and I cant help it.
I was always drawn to Japan, its culture and especially its people. During the 3 months I spent in Japan in the past I have accumulated thousands of hours of observing this interesting and strange people. On one hand they are totally modern and western but on the other hand they are still Asiatic in their behavior and customs. This mixture of modernism with Asiatism created a combination that in my eyes was very funny. They are strange, different and not similar to any other nation I know. In my western eyes they act as if they have some kind of short circuit in the head.
This entire introduction why? All this time that Im with Yoko I indeed travel in Africa but at the same time also in Japan (its also much cheaper traveling in Japan this way). Every laugh, expression and movement of hers is a riddle to me. At the beginning, when I met her in Burkina Faso, I didnt understand her at all. Her reactions to whats happening around were a mystery to me. I didnt know if she was laughing, cynical, angry, saying yes or no etc. Now its much easier. I cannot say that I figured her out completely but basic things I do understand.
Yoko enabled me to take a peep into the Japanese culture that as a Gaijin (stranger in Japanese) I have no chance to see and understand by myself. I can ask her anything and usually she even answers. The rest of the time she just giggles and I have no idea what it means. I Love you Yoko and thank you for everything. You have earned a place in my heart forever.
Look at me, sitting in Africa but writing and thinking about Japan. Whats going to be the end with me?
The snack most sold here on the street is meat pies. When asked what is the meat pie filled with?, apparently a very dumb question, the reply is always: Fish! Got it? I surely didnt.
6 am and Yoko and I are attempting to be romantic and wake up for sunrise. I also wanted to see the sun go up on my last day in Africa in who knows how long. It didnt really work out because it was cloudy so we went back to sleep.
A hard day is waiting for the both of us. We both know that the moment to say goodbye is getting closer but are trying to pretend as if business is as usual. We are on the minibus that will take her back to Accra and will drop me off in 20km on the junction with the road to Lome (Togo) where my flight back home leaves tonight. We are both silent and just hold hands tightly.
We arrive at the junction, last kiss and I watch Yoko disappearing slowly from my life forever (update: a few days after I returned home I flew to Paris to meet with her again. We spent an amazing 5 days together and then she watched me disappeared from her life because she stayed there a bit longer)
I have no time to be sad now, for this I have the long flight, because Im in a hurry to catch a ride to the border that closes at 18:00. This is my last ride in Africa and what a ride it is. Its market day today and except me and the driver there are 17 other mamas loaded with tomato baskets, sacks full of fish, sugar canes and anything else you can think of. And the odors .. all the smells of the market, all of them together, are with me in the car and that doesnt include the smell of sweat of the mamas. What an experience.
To the border I arrived 2 minutes to 18:00 and was forced to stand still at the ceremony for lowering the Ghanaian flag at the end of the day.
The airport in Lome. Every step you take (and every move you make
) someone asked you for money. The policeman at the entrance to the airport, the man behind the x-ray machine, the immigration officer
all of them. I didnt pay any of them, because I have patience, but many others did.
It was so bad that when I asked a worker of the airport where the toilets are, he took me there, waited until I finished to do what I had to do and then asked for a present. In clear Hebrew I told him to take a hike. The words he might have not understood but the tone he surely did.
The only encouraging thing in this whole ugly business is that whites are not discriminated. Black people from other nations pass the same via de la rosa.
Here Im again in Addis Ababa waiting at the airport for my flight to Tel Aviv. The circle that started 3 months ago is now about to be completed and it seems to me a good time for a short summary. So what did we have? The excitement of the reencounter with Mama Africa, African butts, Great food eaten with the hands, strange conversations with the 3 Muslim women, Sundays gospel, my friend bright and his warm family, about 2 million potential pen pals which I gave my address too, Jessica, Jesus at every corner, normal Muslims, A natural and sincere African laughter, the amazing market at Gorom Gorom, Falling in love with Sherifa a 3 years old girl, my great friend Gabriel from Austria, Anita the prostitute, inspiring African hairstyles, reflections and thoughts, the scam bags in the Francophone countries (the French speaking countries), the return to Ghana and of course my sweat Yoko. Only one questions remained open: Why the hell are they looking at my legs all the time?
This is also the time to thank Worldsurface.com for making this trip possible, with a special tks to Simon and Ralph, but especially Id like to thank all of you who voted for me in that first Global reporter competition and those who have taken the time to write to me sharing their thought or just expressing their feelings. Thank you all.
Thats it, the flight to Tel Aviv is just about to depart. Hasta la vista Africa. Ended but not completed. Ill be back.