Over the hill

Read / lees in : Nederlands

Lomé / Togo
Moments before the party in Lomé kicked off.

By now the years are starting to really count for me too of course, they’re almost eight now after all. Frequently I’ve been asked if I was over the hill already. But, where exactly lies that hill? And how do you determine if you’re over it? Do you consider the number of member states of the United Nations? Those are 193 (or 195). Or the number of sovereign countries? Those are 206. Wikipedia knows more about that, as always. So that’s not so easy to figure out. Luckily there is an important milestone that equals exactly what’s more or less the hill. A milestone which allows you to get respect, women, invitations from world leaders, television appearances etc. And that milestone is one hundred countries on your traveling resumé. There’s even a app club for that. Which you can then become a paying member of, with the benefit of having ‘bragging rights’. I knew I was going to pass that magic number of one hundred countries somewhere in Africa. So I started to keep track of it.

My two loyal travel buddies, both almost full.
Having your sticker on my suitcase is simply the best way to advertise your country.

On the safe side

Not counting the countries that are not really countries, like Nagorno Karabakh, and countries occupied by foreign powers like Tibet, Northern Cyprus and the Western Sahara, I came to the conclusion that the first country I’d visit after Burkina Faso would get my count up to one hundred countries. Therefore I had the choice between Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Niger. Because Ghana gave me a hard time getting the visa, Ivory Coast and Ghana were both off the list. Niger was too far off my route, so the honour was going be on either Togo or Benin. What followed were a couple of weeks of negotiating at the highest levels. Because, of course, it’s quite something. I mean: imagine what it means to a country to be number one hundred on my list, and on top of that number fifty six for the Edmobile! ‘Bragging rights’ most countries can only dreams of!

Cinkassé / Togo
The border officials were going nuts for joy!

To go or not Togo

In the end the Togolese offered me the most money. And I could’ve been very ‘politically correct’ about it, but at the end of the day I’d do anything for money. The booze, drugs and women aren’t going to pay for themselves after all, or are they? So when I crossed the border at Cinkassé it was, as you can imagine, a huge happening. From now on the 25th of July, the day I set foot on Togolese soil for the first time, is going to be a national holiday. The local presidictator issued a decree stating that my favourite dish (frikandellen, a Dutch snack) should be available for sale on every corner in the country, etc. etc. I can therefore say in all modesty: going from Burkina Faso to Togo was only a small step for an Ed, but a huge leap for mankind the Togolese.

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