Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A touch of Togo

Lomé, Togo is a hub for our area of West Africa.  It's a small country nestled in between Benin Republic and Ghana.  Lomé is the capital and largest city of Togo, with a population of about 750,000 and located on the Gulf of Guinea.  

Traveling around West and Central Africa is not easy - and there are not many direct flights to places you want to go.  It's hard to get from here to there - unless you go through Togo.   Charles had some business travel and I decided to tag along with him.  We flew Asky Airlines and on this one trip alone, we will go through Lome three times.  



Asky (A.Sky) Airlines is a small regional airline with a fleet of only 7 planes.  The parent company is Ethiopian airlines.  I check this type of information BEFORE I get on a new airline, especially in Africa.  :)  Asky was founded in 2010 on the initiative of a few West African governments after another regional carrier went bankrupt.  Asky has now extended to 17 locations around western and central Africa and hoping to add additional areas in the future.  




The planes we fly are small propeller and hold about 65 passengers.  




Surprisingly, we were served lunch on our 90 minute flight from Douala.  




This is a hot dog bun with a piece of sliced cheese along with a glass of water.  
We were happy to have it.  




We've traveled through Lomé a few times before and the procedure is always the same - and similar to other small African nations.  There are no walkways which connect to the airport in Lomé, so we disembark and walk down steps that they have rolled up to the plane.   We join our fellow passengers on a bus which takes us about 200 yards to the small terminal.   We go one direction if we are leaving the airport and another direction for transiting.  A health inspector dressed totally in white (including face mask and gloves) greets us at the entrance to take every passengers temperature, checking for possible Ebola infections before we enter the building.  We are also instructed to wash our hands with the provided hand sanitizer.  




Once inside the terminal, our passports and visas are double checked and we can enter the waiting area, where there are loads of 'Free' shops.  Everything is a low price, almost free! :)  The sign really means Duty Free.  

Like in all good African airports, we also have an opportunity to purchase items directly from vendors as they walk around and try to push their wares.  We were offered wallets, belts, scarves, fabric and lots of African art just in this small space. There were LOTS of money changers walking around too, and we could have exchanged a multitude of different currencies.  Each guy we saw had large stacks of cash!   
 After clearing security, there is a large seating area for ALL gates together.   
Thankfully they have a chiller (air-conditioner) and it is working!  
The toilettes are very basic.  

I'm sure that you wanted to see what a typical toilet looks like in a small African airport.  We are keeping this real! :)  This is a nice one! 

There is a man that stands outside the area and hands you a roll of toilet tissue.  You roll off what you think you need and give it back.  Upon exit, you dash him a few coins and everyone is happy.  If you forget, he will remind you! :) 
 This cute little visitor was curious and kept coming over to see me.

Since there are no monitors, we simply wait until our flight is called and get in line for the bus, which takes us on the tarmac to the plane.  
As we headed up in the air, we had some great views of Lomé. 
You can see the dusty roads.  
The green water is a local river.  
And a good view of downtown Lomé.  
The coastline was beautiful with incredible blue green waters.


From Lomé, Togo, we are flying to Accra, Ghana.  
We'll post more as we travel up the gold coast of Africa.  

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