“Walking is a virtue, tourism is a deadly sin.”

Fall weather has settled in for the duration. The days are pleasant, the nights cool, even cold. In the morning, the house is still night cold so we go outside in the sun on the deck to get warm. When I last went outside, Gracie was lying in the sun on the lounge chair.

Last week was busy for me with something every day. I drove over 400 miles. I wasn’t happy. Considering I usually drive between 20 and 40 miles a week you can understand why. I like my sloth days, and I haven’t had one in a while. This coming week four days are already booked so I’m keeping the rest of my week’s dance card empty.

My friends have already landed in Ghana and are probably at their B&B. I wished them a safe and wonderful trip through teeth gritted with envy. Their plans aren’t solidified. Bill said they’d be leaving Accra in three days for parts unknown though I know Bolga will be on the list. He said they hadn’t yet made hotel reservations anywhere. I chuckled to myself. Who makes reservations in Ghana?  Up country has plenty of hotels and not a lot of tourists.

Most people I know who visit other countries do so in places with flush toilets, hot water and air conditioning. The very thought of aiming at a hole in the ground is horrifying to them. Good aim is the difference between a tourist and a traveler. I have stayed in absolutely gorgeous hotels and in some of the seediest places you can imagine. Once I stayed at a brothel. I didn’t know it was until all the knocking on doors and all the men doing the knocking. I didn’t sleep much that night. In a small hotel in Columbia, I swear you came out of the bathroom dirtier than when you went in. The hotel at the Iguazu Falls was pure luxury. It was right at the falls and had huge rooms and amazing food. There was a garden walk with parrots in the trees. There was even a casino. It was not my usual hotel. In Lomé, Togo I spent two nights at a wonderful hotel as a treat for myself  before I moved over the Peace Corps Hostel. The hotel had air-conditioning and hot water and a delicious breakfast. It’s where I ate barbecued lobster on the terrace. The hostel had bunk beds.

On my first trip back to Ghana we stopped at a roadside chop bar (restaurant sort of) for fufu. I had to go the bathroom so I walked around the corner wall to the hole in the ground. My aim wasn’t as good as it used to be, but it got better the longer we traveled. By the time I left, it was perfect.

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12 Comments on ““Walking is a virtue, tourism is a deadly sin.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Wow, 400 miles. In your neck of the woods you can drive through three states in that many miles. 🙂

    A Texan was visiting Israel in the early 1970s. He was talking with an Israeli farmer. The farmer said, “My land goes from that fence over there to that third palm tree”. The Texan said, “Back home my spread is so big it takes me two days to drive across it in my 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV”. The Israeli farmer replied, “I know how you feel, I once owned a car like that”. Rim shot! It’s all about culture.

    I will never stay in a place without indoor plumbing nor without air conditioning, I deserve it. I want to get to know the people but not have to live like them. 🙂 When you and I were younger our generation had an idea of leaving the world a better place than we found it. I thought about joining the Peace Corps. instead of getting drafted. Luckily I didn’t have to do either. The Peace Corps. would have been a better experience and I like your experience have left the world a better place. I have a big aversion to killing people so serving in the military was not one of my priorities. Of, course in a war the words of General George Patton apply. “Don’t die for your country, make the other bastard die for his country”.

    No rain today but cooler nights and only hot days instead of hellishly hot days.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I love the Texan-Israeli story. It is absolutely all about culture. Some of the people I see on my travels are cultural boobs who never bothered to look up and understand local customs. They were offensive without even realizing it.

      I can deal with lack of both but I’d prefer not to. If I had to give up anything it would be the air, not the indoor toilet. I have traveled some places where I have been glad just to have a bed.

      Having lived in Africa, I learned I can do without if I have to, and I do. Given my druthers, though, I’d pick all the comforts but sometimes they just aren’t a choice.

      I served in the PC with a lot of guys for whom those two years were draft deferred years.

      Cooler nights are a good sign!

      • Bob Says:

        In 1969 I choose to drop out of school and put myself in the draft lottery. My thinking was that 1969 would have the largest number of people in the lottery which would reduce my chances of getting drafted even if I drew a high number. If not I could always enlist in the Coast Guard and hope I would be guarding our coast and not theirs. I was lucky, my birthday was drawn #346 out of 365 birthdays.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        That was when I went into the PC.

        I remember we all watched the draft at our local watering spot. The guys were all holding their breaths that their birthdays would be drawn around the number yours was. One of my friends had a really low number and knew he’d be gone right after graduation when his 2-S deferment ended. He joined the air force instead of being drafted.

  2. olof1 Says:

    I can’t say I like the hole in the ground but it’s not like I’m moving in 🙂 It’s like You say, aim as good as You can and hope for the best 🙂 🙂

    I prefer not to know where I’m going to sleep at night and so far I’ve been very lucky, Especially in Portugal it doesn’t seem to be any bad places and their breakfasts are really nice. I’ve never slept in a brothel though 🙂 But In did share bed with a gay man since there were no other place to sleep and I slept like a baby that night 🙂 🙂 Life gets more fun and exiting that way 🙂

    We were expecting rain today and so far it would be a joke to call what we’ve gotten rain, more like a spit against the wind. I do hope we’ll get lots tonight and tomorrow. They predicted rain all next week but all we’ll get is tonight and tomorrow, after that we’ll get sun.

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      Sometimes the hole in the ground was a lifesaver if I had been on a bus a long time and needed to go.

      I was the same way in Portugal. We found great places to stay and had no reservations. I had a reservation in Vienna as it was Easter, and we wanted a particular hotel. Most times, though, we winged it.

      No rain for a while. It is supposed to be warm today but my house is still cold even with the windows shut.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I used to camp alone a lot. Just a sleeping bag for a bed and a waterproof nylon sheet for a roof if it looked like rain. Holes in the ground were the norm.
    Nowadays, I prefer my creature comforts. Flush toilets are much kinder on the knees.

    I sympathize with your busy week. Monday through Thursday and Saturday are booked for me. I have to call the water department and make a new appointment because they couldn’t do what they came to do last week. Maybe I can get one for Friday. 🙂

    The house is cool. My feet are cold in my flip flops but I’m too lazy to go find socks. The sun is warm so I’ll just stick my feet out in it for a bit and it’ll be fine.
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      True enough about the knees but I did okay in Ghana the last two summers. If you have to go, you have to go!

      I just got a call from my friend who is going to take me out to eat tonight for my birthday. We take each other to a really expensive place for each of our birthdays as we decided a while back we didn’t need any more things. The dance card is filling!1

      I just put socks on. My feet were freezing.

      Have a great evening!1

    • Bob Says:

      I believe that roughing it is Motel 6 🙂

      The last time I went camping was when I was 12 in the boy scouts. I hated it then and I hate it now.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        Both my parents were city-bred so we never went camping. I did some camping, but I miss having a shower every day and a bathroom close at hand.

  4. Birgit Says:

    I also drove a lot in the last days, but unlike you I liked it. I have a rental car for a week and it was the first opportunity for me to drive a car after I scrapped my old car last autumn. Usually I don’t really miss the driving, but I’ve missed listening to music while driving on the highway. Some music is only suitable for cars, not for train rides.
    I’ve seen strange toilets at campgrounds, no problem as long as they don’t smell awful.

    • katry Says:

      Birigt,
      I also used to drive a lot and liked it, but now the long trips make me stiffen up a bit. I drive all around town doing errands and don’t mind the short trips.

      I like talk radio, NPR, while I’m driving until I get into a new state or somewhere rural then I try and find a local station. I remember listening to a cow report.


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