West African Memories Ghana to Togo
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Well here they are finally, a few pics for everyone to enjoy!!! The first is one of the wonderful waterways of Accra… trying to capture the bad side of the city but don’t know that I did. Actually not starting to mind this city, getting the hang of ‘public transport’, had roast chicken last night that didn’t make me sick.. what can I say?? Just went to the Memorial park for Ghana’s first Prime Minister – Ghana was the first African Nation to gain independence from their colonial occupiers so he’s quite the hero here!!
Second pic is the fishing village of Elmina, the thrid (clockwise from top left) is the fort at Elmina, St George’s fort, mostly in Dutch hands, the final is the 30 metre high walkway in Kakum National Park. Getting the pics on has been quite the effort!!
Tomorrow I’m off to Togo, barring bad things happening, for a short stop on the way to Benin. Niger looks likely at the moment. Yesterday visited the fine museum in Accra which displayed cloths – the patterns meaning a different quote. One read something like ‘If you have more than your neighbour, he hates you…’
I think I can see some improvement in mood here. Interestingly I didn’t mention Bill in this post, an Aussie I met staying at the Date Hotel in Accra. Genuinely nice guy and we hung out for a couple of days in Accra including at the museum. Two museums in fact. He had positive things to say about Togo, Benin and Niger which in the back of my mind was returning to my itinerary.
It’s amazing how one person can change your outlook on everything. I met a Canadian girl in Cape Coast who invited me to stay out in a tree house in a jungle with her and her mother. On a short random meeting. But her mother didn’t want some else along. And that had the opposite effect on my mood.
I didn’t mention the Kwame Nkrumah Museum / statue in Accra which was pretty interesting. In fact the history of the entire region is really interesting and its ripple effects across Africa as countries gained their independence.
Friday, January 27, 2006
here I am in a new country Togo. If you are wondering it is a tiny slither of a country between Ghana and Benin, where I am heading tomorrow. Actually I don’t mind it here, it’s actually quite pleasant, the rooms not too bad, the French speaking is taking a bit of getting used to but not as much as this darn keyboard, its all over the place. No idea how to do an apostrophe!!
The ride over from Accra was quite smooth, though the tro tro went to fast for my liking but at least half the road was in excellent condition. Border crossing was fine, had a nice Ghanaian help me out and the supermarkets here are tres bon. In comparison that is. Lome is a small city situated right on the coast giving a refreshing afternoon sea breeze. It’s more ‘colonial’ in style than Accra, and generally has more style period I think. Yes, I like the place. Not a lot to see and do though and tomorrow I travel to Cotonou in Benin which is supposed to be crazy, but with some interesting day trips.
The final night in Accra was hell. The electricity died at about one thirty AM so my fan stopped whirring as it does. I had the room with one window less than a foot away from a concrete fence so there was no ventilation. Sleep was soon impossible. The electricity was still off when I left before 9am to Togo.
Still I survived yesterday. There are lovely palm trees along the beach and one might be fooled into believing this is a tropical paradise on the strength of photos, but the beaches are reportedly a little dangerous; especially at night.
People still try to sell you the same crap off the street as in Accra, however its Monsieur! and Mon Ami that they call out. Some of the building are surprisingly postmodern here, there’s plenty of air con… its a different place.
Yes my mood was on an upward swing thank god. Two things, in retrospect, annoy about this part of the journey. One – I had made a decision in Cape Coast to speed the whole trip up. But as the tide turned, I should have slowed down. There really was no reason for the hurry up except that Africa was overwhelming me and I wanted out. But yet I wanted to say I did what I set out to do. As the stress lessoned and I began to enjoy my environment more, I could have decided to stop and enjoy where I was. I could have explored more of Ghana – now a big regret. I could have even hung out in Lome and got to know the place.
Two – I really didn’t blog properly from Lome. The cool vibes, the architecture of a bygone era when oil brought Togo a brief spurt of economic growth in the seventies. And ‘Le Galion’ – my hotel, bar and restaurant in one. A brilliant little spot with nightly jazz and decent French cooking. That was the best thing about leaving Ghana I think – the food improved a lot! But, I was soon to move on to Benin after two short nights in Lome.
More next time – for now – may the journey never end!