West African Memories Ghana Part Two
This new/old series continues on from last week examining my first blogging adventure. Last week I reviewed my posts from the capital of Ghana, Accra. Today I continue on when I went along the coast a little to Cape Coast and Elmina, and ultimately back to Accra as my decision to go to the region appears to be somewhat flawed. It’s a chance to remember my mindset and the way the most challenging travel adventure I’ve ever had went down. The grammar and the punctuation are as they were in the day – especially my apparent disdain for the use of capitals! Enjoy!
i have been really struggling here, feeling good one day and bad the next. thinking of getting out of africa, well i was yesterday, but now im thinking i still want to make it to Dakar somehow, looks like I’ll try an abridged itinerary… though i havent exactly published it to anyone so you may not know the difference.
Going to try to get to Dakar by mid-february now, not going to Niger.
anyways ive been in Cape Coast the last few days which is a much nicer place than Accra. Yesterday I took a day trip out to Kakum National Park which is set in a beautiful rain forest, and has a suspended walkway 30 metres above the forest floor. This has 7 sections, mostly around 50 metres long each. It’s held up by cables which seem strong enough, however the mesh than holds rusty ladders with planks of wood on top seem anything but safe. This was very hairy, and my fear of heights did not help.
Today I’m off to Elmina for another day trip, where these is a caste/fort where slaves were shipped off to the new world from. I saw something similar here in Cape Coast a couple of days back… an eerie feeling indeed, and the waves truly crashed hard onto the rocks just outside the fort like I’ve never heard…. no idea how they sent ships through that. A ship out to sea struggled (lots of fishing ships) with its sail and mast which collapsed but i think they made it back alive….
What I like about this post, as me looking back, as that I was able to write a little about specific things that happened that would have otherwise been forgotten. I remember making a strong decision not to go to Niger, and then in a few days changing it. I also remember that I was to head north from Cape Coast into the centre of Ghana, to Kumasi and possibly further north. In fact I hadn’t really decided on a route through West Africa. I might have headed all the way north to Burkina Faso and looped around. It was all really up in the air but I decided to push through things quicker at this point because, well, I was finding it all a bit hard! In fact the was the hardest I’ve ever found travelling. Before or since.
A tro tro is like a cramped mini bus that seats five people across and is as uncomfortable as possible. I journeyed back to Accra today in one of them and survived… wasn’t all that bad really!!! Life goes on, Should be heading to Togo on Tuesday all going well touch wood…
yesterday i did a day trip to a place called Elmina, a delightful little fishing town (wish i could put some pics up for everyone) only 10 kms from Cape Coast where I spent the last four nights. There is another fort there, this one seemed bigger and had a better tour, and the whole place was really kind of nice.
Coming back to Accra i found myself not loathing it as much as last time. Maybe it’s cos it’s Sunday, or I know I’m only here to see the museum, get set and push on I’m not too sure…….
THOUGHTS: It’s interesting this one. The tro-tro took more than five people. That I distinctly remember as someone came on board before we departed and gave a short service. This one is pretty darned brief isn’t it? You can see that my mind was turned to shortening the trip.
Accra has quickly gone up with delhi as one of the more oppressive cities i found to travel in, but like Delhi in 2004 seems i cant get away just yet. My ‘visa touriste entente’ for many countries isn’t valid until the 26th so i have a couple more days here… so today’s plan is to go back to the Date Hotel and update the diary and read some of the Order of the Pheonix with a plan to finish the book before it’s out on film. Well it is a really long book. For a Harry Potter.
I’ve been wanting to write some sort of reflective piece for this blog for a couple of days. I even considered drafting it but then…. I didn’t. It’s very bizarre finally getting to Africa and finding myself reacting the way I have. Now the peanut allergy, for sure, has had a HUGE impact. For starters my diet has been well.. very limited out of paranoia. I have definately dropped a few kilos not from sickness, just have been eating not nearly as much as I am used. Bananas, bread and cheese, (bought a slice of ham today for around AUD 1.2o! can’t wait to slip it into a roll) occasionally rice or pasta have been the diet. Did I mention I bought this very heavy electric stove? Still unused. But expect to use it when i am starving…. So the new route I’m taking is designed to keep me close (ish) to supermarkets.
I met an Australian last night and for some three hours we chatted about the region (he’s sorta done my trip in reverse), cricket and tennis (Go Maria Sharapova!!!). Seems silly but thats what we chatted about and it was so nice to talk to an Aussie again. Only the second I’ve met here and the first lived her first 12 years in Canada. Travellers here are not that plentiful. The hotel has quite a few Nigerians, and there are a lot of Dutch roaming the country. But this isn’tike India or South East Asia in that respect, you do a lot of stuff on your own.
As you can tell with my frequent posting I’ve spent a fair bit of time on the internet. It’s a bit of a haven really and I don’t feel quite so isolated. Perhaps I’m not dealing with the stark reality outside the door, or maybe i just enjoy the air conditioning. It’s really a situation where MOST Ghanaians who talk to you in the street are after money from you. As a white person you are seen as a sign of wealth/money more than anywhere I’ve been.
Kids with the sheets have clearly been told to go up to foreigners and ask for money for their football club (You sign the sheet). The lack of actual shops means that a lot of stuff is just sold on the street, including Ghanaian football guernseys (the African Nations Cup has just started so everyone is keenly into that). The humidity is quite stifling though, but once I finally move north that will change. It will get hotter too, but a dry heat that will be easier to live with.
The (mostly) open sewers run along the side of the roads, also filled with rubbish as rubbish bins seem to be a rarity. Getting off the plane just over a week ago and into a taxi, whilst driving into town i had a beggar come up to me, i also had the same yesterday morning however that’s been the only times. Generally the homeless seem to tired to beg.
Myself, with the humidity and lack of eating I feel tired quite a bit, especially today, but at least i can return to my hotel or fly out if i suddenly want to. And yet a great deal of the population are genuiunely friendly too. The tro tros are a bit of fun as well, when taking them around town. (less so over longer distances)
So there’s a bit of thoughtfulness if anyone is reading. I know at least three people are thanks for commenting!!!! Still have to decide on Niger… also will TRY to get some photos up before leaving Ghana, if time permits and I can find a good place to do it!!!!
THOUGHTS: You know, with the passing of nearly 10 years, I’m sure Accra was not nearly that bad. I think the weather was what was ‘oppressive’, and I really could have done with a better hotel (with air conditioning) but actually I wouldn’t mind returning one day to Accra and seeing how it affected me a second time. It’s quite an adventure to get about. I remember that damned stove too – I lugged it around for weeks and never ever used it. What a waste of time and energy! This post is so long too, my longest to that point. I clearly wasn’t doing much with my days when I returned to Accra. I met an Aussie called Bill who was staying at the Date Hotel. He was a really positive person and this went a long way to turning my mood around and my determination to really get into the trip.