At one time, Togo was the jewel of West Africa with its peaceful nature, laid-back beaches, friendly population, and vibrant markets. But sadly, in the 1990s, the country was taken over with riots and human rights violations. Then in 2005, after the corrupt president Gnassingbe Eyadema died and his son took over, hundreds of citizens were killed, the streets transformed into a battlefield. Many citizens fled Togo entirely. Today, the new president has been slowly winning the population over and peace in the streets has returned. Because of this, now is an ideal time to visit and discover Togo's diverse cultures, to watch its outstanding football team (which qualified for the World Cup in 2006), and to wander through its beautiful rolling hills and explore its many beaches.
Keep in mind that greetings are a little complicated and elaborate in Togo. Make sure you say hello to every person you pass by. Handshakes are essential. The national language is French and getting around the country is much easier if you know at least some of the language.
The national dish is fufu, which is made of white yams pounded into dough. Another staple is akume, made from corn flower. Both fufu and akume are eaten with your hands and they come with various delectable sauces, such as spicy tomato, peanut, or smoked fish. Plantains are also popular, especially grilled or fried. Tropical fruit is abundant in the markets, most notably mango, pineapples and papaya.
The capital city Lomé, Togo was at one time thought of as West Africa's 'Paris' and it's still easy to see why with its wide boulevards, craft markets, sizzling nightlife and palm-lined beaches. It's a little on the tattered side these days, but is trying hard to make a comeback. The Lomé Grand Marche—the market—is where you'll find everything you never even knew you needed, such as wax cloth and football outfits.
If you're looking for internet cafes in Lomé, Togo, you're in luck. They're everywhere and they're cheap, although most of the computers are slow. Although you can buy calling cards out on the street, it's cheaper for people to call you from North America than for you to call them from Togo.
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