Here I am in Lomé, the capital of Togo, the country to the west of Benin. I’m here for a conference with other embassies and DHS about fraud and how to detect it. Everyone wants to come to America, and some of them are not too honest about how they do it. Some of the attempts are amazingly bad, but some are quite sophisticated. I’m sure I’ll know more after Thursday and Friday.
Cotonou to Lomé is about 3.5 hours by car, which is how I went. A driver from the embassy did the driving. The road’s not bad. They’re trying to sell Lagos (Nigeria) to Accra (Ghana) as an economic corridor, so the road is paved and more or less maintained. Part of it is toll road, but no EZ-Pass.
The border is a bit of a zoo. First they check you out of Benin. Then you drive 200 feet, and they check you into Togo. As you cross the border, if you’re on a motorcycle or bicycle you have to walk your bike across the border…about 10 feet worth. Of course, the cars and trucks drive right past, and there’s a separate line for pedestrians. LOTS of pedestrians, and markets have grown up on both sides of the border. There are no traffic laws, and several places parked trucks and barriers narrow the road to one lane, one direction at a time.
For a good part of the trip, the ocean is in view, which is quite pretty. My hotel has an ocean view, but of course, I’m on the government rate, so I’m facing the other way! There’s a nice pool, but I didn’t know, so I didn’t pack a suit. Oh well. When I go to Frankfurt in December I can…wait…Frankfurt in December. Never mind.