Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cheapest tattoos ever...

The 5-hour Kpalimé/Mt. Klouto tour we did with Guillaume was the highlight of our 5-day stay in Togo.  He showed us around the grounds of an old German settlement (i.e. hospital, prison, cemetery) and shared his plans to get the government involved in restoring the buildings so that tourists can come stay directly on the mountain with great views of the valley.  At the age of 29, Guillaume speaks seven languages, has started his own local association that raises awareness of eco-tourism and helps local farmers plant renewable crops, and conducts tours of Mt. Klouto and the surrounding areas as demand dictates.  Um, how old am I again? 

Mt. Kouto itself is stunning – full of lush greenery (from nutmeg trees to mini pineapples), hidden waterfalls and swarms of butterflies (which Guillaume was a total ninja at catching).   Guillaume also has an intimate knowledge of each plant that produces natural dyes.  As the tour progressed, he’d stop at a completely ordinary-looking plant and next thing we knew he’d have bright red fingers or a yellow palm, which he employed as an artist would a palette.  The result?  A new butterfly tattoo for me (included in the tour price).  Another tattoo favorite:  the “tattoo fern”.  Pick a leaf off this fern, lay it on your skin and slap it – what remains is a perfectly shaped, white version of the fern.  Amazing.
You can contact Guillaume at:

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