Today was our last day in Cape Coast!
While I’m no doubt happy to leave and get back to the United States, at the same time I’m sad to leave all my friends here in Ghana.
While it’s definitely been an adjustment, and it can get difficult at times, I actually sort of enjoy life here in Ghana.
Well, except for the stupid taxis.
And the mud.
God I hate the mud.
But what I’m really gonna miss is life at the Abusua house.
Well, that and kebabs.
I love waking up and seeing everyone sitting around the breakfast table first thing in the morning.
Didn’t quite love the rooster though…
I love how we come home from work every night and just hang out.
Whether we’re watching a movie, listening to Mike play guitar, eating Fati’s delicious meals, playing beer pong, or just sitting around and talking, I always had a good time.
I love all the characters in the house.
There were people from all over the Anglosphere.
And Hong Kong.
And I can honestly say that every person was so interesting and so much fun to be around.
However, all good things must come to an end. And that end is today.
Since we didn’t have to go into the office today, we all woke up at a leisurely time, ate our breakfast, and finished up packing our stuff.
Then Catherine, Victoria, and I went to go pick up our clothes that we had gotten made.
Much to our dismay, however, the seamstress was not done with Catherine and Victoria’s dresses.
Should we really have been surprised though?
T I A
Luckily for me though, the tailor had finished my shirt, so I was able to take mine home.
He did technically do what I asked him to… but I guess I just was imagining something different in my mind.
It’s a bit too short and a bit too wide, and the cuffs are a bit too big.
But whatever, it’s my first piece of original, bespoke clothing!
Today’s the big day!
In a little less than 24 hours, I will be in Delhi.
I’ll have to endure a 2 hour flight to Newark and a 14 hour flight from there first though.
Needless to say, I’m quite excited.
(For India, not the plane ride.)
I’ll be trying my best to update my blog as often as possible, so stay tuned for two and a half weeks of once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
It’s Monroe County Fair week!
I’ve definitely worn this exact outfit a number of times this summer: big, thick-rimmed glasses, tank top, and corduroy shorts. Yes, I get my style advice from fat ginger nerds.
In the past that meant swine judging contests, pork steaks, and tractors. I looked forward to it all summer long.
Friday night—demolition derby night—is the social event of the summer for Monroe County middle schoolers.
Everyone wore their newest American Eagle or Hollister clothes to impress the middle schoolers from the other schools and all your classmates you hadn’t seen since school let out.
So many fond memories.
This year it will be a bit different however.
Since no one in my family shows pigs anymore, I won’t be going to any of the swine judgings.
And ever since we grew out of the whole “stand around in a circle” thing that tweens love to do, the demo derby has lost some of its allure.
(Maybe next year, when we can do that “drink beer legally in public” thing it’ll regain some of its original luster.)
The biggest thing keeping me from the Fair this year though is the fact that I have a 25-page research paper due at the beginning of the school year that I haven’t really started, and since I’ll be gone in India for most of August, right now is crunch time.
But I can’t act like all I’m going to be doing this week is sitting in front of my computer.
Tomorrow night some friends and I are going to the Cardinals game.
Always a fun experience.
Then Wednesday is my 20th birthday!!
I’m going to dinner with my parents to where else but an Indian restaurant.
(The best one in the city!)
Then my friend is having a birthday party for me at her house.
Thursday is the Kenny Chesney concert. Everyone is going. I cannot wait.
There are few things I love to do more than sit outside on the grass surrounded by people listening to country.
So yeah, in spite of the fact that I’ll be spending most of my time writing a paper this week, I’m also getting done a lot of the things I was hoping I’d get to do this summer while in St. Louis.
Namely, go to a Cardinals game, celebrate my birthday with my friends and family, and go to a country concert.
Oh also, I got my Indian visa in the mail today and I bought the backpack that I’ll be using throughout the country.
It fits a lot, but I’m still gonna have to pack light to save room for all the souvenirs I’m gonna buy over there!
Also, shout out to the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood MO. Everyone was so friendly and helpful!
Sorry I haven’t been posting on here as often as I was hoping I would. Since getting back to America and getting my computer fixed, I’ve been quite busy with everything: unpacking, research, friends, trips, etc. I wish I could tell you it hasn’t been very exciting so you’re not missing out or anything, but it has been. I’m having a blast. I love summer.
Anyway, after months of procrastinating, I finally bought my ticket to India. So now it’s completely real and there’s no going back. In two and a half weeks, I board a plane for Bharat Ganarajya, the Republic of India for the trip of a lifetime.
Needless to say, I am pretty excited.
Today was probably my favorite day in Ghana so far. The perfect combination of exploration and chilling.
We woke up early this morning to go on a canopy walk at Kakum National Park, a protected rainforest located about 30 minutes north of Cape Coast.
The experience was amazing, if not a bit terrifying.
[Okay, extremely terrifying.]
We ascended a hill and then climbed up a platform that was connected to seven other platforms through a series of thin wooden bridges suspended between the platforms by little more than a wire and some rope.
The views of the rainforest from 130 feet in the air were breathtaking.
Like true Americans, everything we instantly related everything we saw back to some movie.
George of the Jungle and Avatar were two of the most frequently referenced.
The bridge did bring out a bit of my inner acrophobe, but I gotta say that I think I did pretty well.
Words can’t do much justice to how it felt and what it looked like to be up there, but once I get my computer fixed I’ll update my posts with some photos so you can see what it looked like.
In the meantime, here’s a photo of me and a photo of our group taken by Jenny, one of our housemates here in Ghana:
Since we went to the canopy walk so early, by the time we got back to the house it was only noon, meaning we had enough time to do something else.
So of course, we decided to head back to the beach!
I was determined this time to get a tan, and it seemed like all the factors were working in my favor.
Alright, well there’s really only one factor that you need to get a tan, and that’s sunniness. And it was sunny. So all one factor was working in my favor.
But that was more factors than our past beach days.
It’s so annoying. It’s never cloudy whenever we decide to go walking around the market. Nope, on those days the sun decides to beat down as hard as humanly possible.
The only time the clouds are out is when we decide to go to the beach.
But today was different. The sun was out.
So we went back to Anomabo [our favorite beach] and I didn’t put on any sunscreen. I laid out for a bit, played a bit of soccer on the beach, and did some body surfing in the ocean.
I should become a surfer, I could do that shit for hours without getting bored.
But even after a few hours playing in the sun, I still didn’t get a tan!
People aren’t even going to believe me when I tell them that I just got back from Africa.
The beach and the canopy walk were both just so much fun.
But only one more week left in Ghana!
- Canopy walk through the rainforest.
- Catch a sick wave body surfing duude.
Get an African-caliber tan. Get any tan at all.
The Abusua staff took all of us to Ko-Sa Beach today.
The beaches here are beautiful.
I could get used to this.
Except I have yet to get a full-body tan.
I can’t believe I came all they way to Africa and didn’t even get a decent tan!
After the beach we went back to the house to have a bar-be-cue, a bi-weekly event that the Abusua staff throws for all its interns.
And we watched the UEFA championship soccer game.
Or “football” as they call it here.
We had fried rice, a huge delicious grilled fish, and my favorite: kebabs.
If you ever come to Ghana, you have to get a kebab.
They put this amazing reddish-orange powder on them that is the perfect blend of spiciness and flavor.
I need to find whatever that powder is and bring it home. It’s amazing.
Ghana has some of the best party music in the world. Currently obsessed with this song.
Such a productive day at work today! The business plan is so close to being done.
Good thing, because we only have a week left…
We wanted to experience the real authentic Ghanaian nightlife, so tonight we decided to go bar-hopping [or “spot”-hopping, as they call bars in Ghana] with some of our new Ghanaian friends. [Shoutout to Francis!]
So we all got dressed up and looking nice for the first time since we’ve been here.
Did you know the girls on our trip were pretty?! [I jest. Of course I knew y’all were pretty.]
But for real, it’s amazing what a little bit of eye makeup can do.
Our first stop for the night was Hacienda, a strange name for a bar in Ghana, especially since there was absolutely nothing uniquely Mexican about the place.
Nonetheless, we all had a few Stars [a Ghanaian beer that’s actually pretty good] and danced to a DJ who was using a desktop PC and monitor circa 1995 to spin beats.
After that we went to where the real party was: the Ghana Oil Company station [or Goil for short].
Yup, that’s right, we partied at a gas station.
But it’s nothing like what you might think of when you hear “party at a gas station.”
[I was imagining a few dudes sitting on the curb outside of a QuikTrip pounding some Natties in brown bags.]
It was nothing like that. This was a legit, full-fledged African party.
There was a full, a stage, a live band, bumpin’ music, crazy dancing, and a huge crowd of people.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love an outdoor party, and this one was great.
We spent the rest of the night partying it up at Goil.
We even went up on stage for a bit to play and sing with the band.
And by “play and sing with the band” I mean Mike actually played some legit music on the keyboard while the rest of us [okay, mostly me] jumped around like crazy people with a tambourine in our hands, screaming into the microphone every once in a while.
All in all, it was a great night, and the perfect way to start off our last weekend in Ghana.
- Attend a rager at a gas station.
Went to the tailor today to get my shirt made out of my African fabric.
I don’t quite think he understood what I was telling him I wanted.
Interested to see what I end up with…
It’s Africa Union Day!
Apparently, that’s a national holiday.
So we took off early and went to Oasis for lunch and drinks.
Even though it rained on us, it was a pretty good time.
Also, there are a ton of new people who have moved into the house.
It’s quite fun meeting all these new people from all over the English-speaking world.
So you may be wondering why I haven’t had any photos in my past few blog posts.
And if you weren’t before, now you are.
Well, it’s because life likes to shit on me from time to time.
Last Thursday my MacBook started acting wonky, saying that there was no free disk space [even though there totally was] and refusing to save my Word documents.
Then Chrome stopped working.
Then my applications wouldn’t open.
A little worried, I hoped this was simply a weird thing that would be fixed by restarting my computer.
After restarting my computer, the screen stayed blank. I could hear the start-up chime and could mess with the backlight on the keyboard, but there was nothing showing on my screen.
Perfect. My MacBook decides to break down the one time since I’ve had it that I have been more than 20 miles away from an Apple Store.
I tried all the different combinations of keys that you can hold down to sometimes fix situations like these, but to no avail. The screen stayed blank.
This is a bad situation.
I can’t really do any of the work I came here to do without a computer.
I tried to make do on Friday and Monday without a computer, but I was essentially useless. I needed to get this computer fixed.
I had heard that there was some sort of Apple store or something in Accra, and I figured that was my only chance of getting my computer fixed. So I looked it up on my iPhone [thankfully there’s WiFi in the office], called them up, explained my situation, and asked if they do repairs. They said they did, so I told them that I would be coming over the next day.
So Victoria and I set off to Accra this morning at 8:00am with the sole mission of getting my MacBook fixed.
We got to Pedu Junction at 8am and found a tro-tro to Accra for 5 cedis each. We then waited for an hour for the tro-tro to fill up.
While we waited, a man came up to our tro-tro, stuck his head in the door and started saying a prayer.
At first I enjoyed what this man was doing. He started out with a prayer, saying something along the lines of, “Last night, everyone in the world went to bed. However, not everyone woke up. We were lucky enough to be among those who woke up, and for this we should be eternally grateful. We should spend this day thanking God for giving us the gift of life.”
I really enjoyed that part of the prayer. I found it pretty thought-provoking.
But then he started talking about how if God sees in in His plans for us that we should crash the way to Accra, then so be it.
Well shit, I hadn’t even thought about dying in a car crash until you mentioned it dude. Thanks a lot.
Is the ride that dangerous that preachers find it necessary to give the last rites to every tro-tro that leaves for another city?
Then the man started giving a homily or something like that. Being the respectful gentleman that I am, I gave him my attention by looking at him when he talked.
Apparently no one else was looking at him, so he ended up focusing the homily directly on me, staring at me the entire time and making this strange smile that I wasn’t sure whether to reciprocate or not.
So I sat there for 30 minutes, staring at this man, awkwardly smiling and nodding my head every once in a while as he preached at me and incessantly asked me whether I had accepted Jesus into my life.
Finally the last person got on the tro-tro and we left for Accra.
The ride was completely uneventful and was actually pretty nice.
Much nicer than the bus.
And the same price too.
We got into Accra around noon, about 2 or 3 hours later.
We probably should have figured out where we were supposed to go next beforehand, because neither of us had any idea what to do once we got off the tro-tro.
Thankfully, a friendly Ghanaian helped us out once again and told us which tro-tro we wanted to get on next.
Ghanaians are so friendly and helpful.
2 hours and 3 different crowded tro-tro rides later, we finally arrived at the mall.
5 total hours of travel, just to get my stupid computer fixed.
There was another preacher on one of the tro-tros, but I made sure to avoid his eyes this time.
That didn’t stop him from spitting on us as he preached though.
The mall was quite an interesting place. It actually looked a lot like a mall you might see in America somewhere.
In fact, the entire area around the mall was much more developed than anything else I had seen in Ghana.
If you had drugged me and kidnapped me and put me in the mall to wake up, I’m not even sure I would have been able to guess that I was in Africa.
[Well, I guess maybe the fact that the majority of the people in the mall were black might have given it away a little, but even then, there were a lot more Westerners there than anywhere else I had seen.]
Inside, the actual mall wasn’t much to write home about though. All the stores were pretty boring or stupid, including the Apple store.
In fact, it wasn’t actually even an “Apple Store,” in the sense that someone from America would be used to, but rather an “iShop,” an “Apple certified premium reseller.”
Nonetheless, I was excited finally get done what we had come all the way to Accra to do.
I walk up to the lady working at the counter in the iShop and tell her exactly what’s wrong with my MacBook Pro. As I’m talking to her, I quickly realize that she knows nothing about computers.
She tries turning on the computer herself, and for some reason seems surprised when it doesn’t turn on, even though I just told herthat it wasn’t turning on.
When she says she’s “never seen anything like this before,” I realize I’m pretty much screwed.
While this isn’t exactly a common occurrence with MacBooks, it happens enough to where someone at an Apple store should be familiar with at least some of the simplest steps one can take to remedy such a problem.
When I asked her what could be done about it, she said they’d have to take it in for 48 hours to perform a diagnostic test on it.
Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa! Hold up. What? It took me 5 hours to get here, there’s no way I can make this trip again 2 days from now.
I explained to her my situation, how there’s no way I could wait 48 hours to run a diagnostic test on my computer [not even the repair, just the diagnostic!], and she told me she was sorry, this was just policy.
Why they didn’t tell me about this policy when I was on the phone with them the day before is beyond me.
Seems like a sort of important policy to tell someone about who’s planning on traveling all the way to your store from Cape Coast.
There was nothing she could do about it, she told me, and when I asked if it was possible for me to talk to the manager about possibly making an exception, he was conveniently “at lunch.”
It was almost 3pm by that time.
Not knowing what else to do, we went to the food court to have lunch ourselves. We ordered a large pizza with tons of toppings and had some Smirnoffs while we waited.
Don’t judge. I had had a hard day.
An hour later the pizza finally came out.
Service is so slow in Ghana, it actually wouldn’t have been that surprising if the manager actually still was at lunch at 3pm.
After lunch, we went in and tried pleading our case again. Once again, the manager was conveniently missing, this time he had gone out for a walk around the mall, but “should be coming back soon.”
We decided to go to the grocery store that served as one of the mall’s anchors.
No Macy’s or JC Penney or even Sears at this mall…
We bought some cookies and chocolate for the house, some Asian noodles for Mike, and some ketchup for Katie.
And some vodka.
We went back to the store to try one last time.
Everyone groaned when we walked in.
I didn’t even ask for the manager this time.
Still no luck.
Complete and utter fail.
And so we began our journey back to Accra, MacBook still broken, the only treasures from our day-long journey an unfinished pizza and some groceries.
We took a series of tro-tros back to where we had begun in Accra and once again had to sit and wait an hour for the tro-tro to fill up.
This time, instead of a long-winded preacher coming up to our door, we had an entire revolving catalog of goods being presented to us: converters, remote controls, flashlights, cookies, huge educational posters [why would I ever feel the urge to buy a 6 foot poster with the names of various body parts on it?], water, soccer balls [we actually did buy a soccer ball], and a million other things.
Everyone assumed that since we were obruni we were going to buy stuff, and they were extremely aggressive.
“Come on obruni I know you want something.”
“No thanks. I don’t have any money. [I actually didn’t.] And even if I did, I wouldn’t want to buy your cookies anyway. Please just leave.”
It was a long day.
We finally got out of the station at around 6:00, but the traffic leaving Accra was so bad that it took us nearly an hour to get out of the city.
This ride wouldn’t have been too bad either if it hadn’t been for the woman next to me deciding that she didn’t want her daughter to sit on her lap anymore [even though she hadn’t paid for a seat for the girl], forcing me to sit on the metal bar that divides the seats for an entire 3 hours.
My butt was literally sending out shockwaves of pain.
And of course, the lady was sleeping so I couldn’t tell her to move her child.
Plus, the little girl was sleeping on me, and if I hadn’t been in such pain, I might have even found it cute.
Finally, after a particularly forceful slam of the brakes shook her awake, she moved her daughter back to her lap.
I slept the rest of the way back to Cape Coast.
- Go to Accra
- See a developed part of Ghana
- Become a tro-tro-riding master
- Buy alcohol legally!
Get MacBook fixed in Africa
We all decided that we were in desperate need of a beach day today, in order to recouperate from our crazy past few days. So in the afternoon we all took a tro-tro to Anomabo Beach Resort, located about 20 or 30 minutes outside of Cape Coast.
All I can say is the place was beautiful.
Like for real, the place was up to Western standards.
The buildings and restaurant were all spotless and the beach was like something out of a postcard.
We had a delicious, if not a bit overpriced, meal at the restaurant and then went down to the beach to lay out, listen to music, read, and relax.
Except I never actually did any of that, because I was having too much fun playing in the ocean.
I’m like a child.
But it was so fun.
And so beautiful.
I don’t have any pictures of it beacuase I didn’t want to get sand in my camera, so you’ll just have to imagine.
If you’re having trouble imagining, just Google “tropical paradise.”
That’s what it looked like.
Anyway, there are few things more relaxing than spending a chill day on an empty beach surrounded by beautiful palm trees.
- Spend a day in a tropical paradise.
There’s nothing better than starting your day off with a shower of warm running water.
[My standards for what constitutes a good start of a day have been lowered significantly since being in Ghana.]
Even though my standards are lower, the breakfast they served us-one tiny scrambled egg and some white bread toast-still sucked though.
On a brighter note, the previously-mentioned constipated person finally had a BM during breakfast!
Said person was greeted with an enthusiastic round of applause upon return from the bathroom.
After breakfast it was off to Kejetia Market, the largest market in West Africa. We decided to split up into two groups, since keeping 8 people together in the massive crowds and tiny lanes of the market would be nearly impossible.
Hell, we can barely stay together when we’re just walking down an open road…
So Victoria, Catherine, and I set off on a determined mission to find fabrics with awesome African prints.
Nony, Rae, Mike, Katie, and Eileen set off with what I assume was a much less determined mission.
It took us a while to find the fabric section of the market. After walking through the soccer kit section, the watch section, and the school supply and home goods section [I got an Obama notebook!], we finally found the fabric section.
In the 45 minutes we spent walking up and down the rows of fabric we collectively managed to spend more than 100 cedis on fabric in total.
Shit’s awesome though.
But since we had agreed to meet the other group at 11:30, we were on a bit of a time-crunch and didn’t have enough time to make it to the curios section.
I really wanted some damn curios.
The market was such an awesome experience though. Crazy crowed, hectic, and exciting. Pretty much anything [off-brand or counterfeit] you would want they have. And for cheap. I just wish we had had more time.
Anyone who’s planning to go to Ghana, be sure to plan to spend at least half a day in the market in Kumasi. As my guidebook says, it’s definitely a “must-see.”
Then it was time to meet up with the other group at the National Cultural Centre to get our education on and learn about the Ashanti people. Somehow we all had perfect timing, because the other group’s taxi arrived at the same exact time as we were walking through the gates.
But as soon as Katie and Mike stepped out of the taxi, I knew something had happened, and we weren’t going to be getting our education on.
They looked like they had both been through Hell.
So if you want to hear the entire story I advise asking Katie or Mike to tell you what happened, but this is what I gathered from what they were saying:
So apparently Katie and Mike had been walking out of the market when Katie felt someone tugging on the zipper on her backpack. When she turned around to see what was happening, a woman behind her was pointing to a man running across the street.
As Katie and Mike began chasing the man down, a swarm of Ghanaians got to him first and took the man to the ground.
For some reason Katie thought the people were chasing her down though and started freaking out…
From the way they tell the story, it all seemed pretty intense, with lots of people yelling, patting the man down, feeling in all his pockets, and trying to figure out what was stolen.
Ghanaians don’t take lightly to stealing.
Katie was in such a fluster that she couldn’t figure out what had been stolen from her front pocket, so finally they let the man free, albeit a bit more bruised and bloody than before.
But before you start to feel bad for the man, we found out later, once Katie had calmed down a bit, that he had in fact stolen 20 cedis.
After all the chaos of the market and Katie and Mike’s crazy experience, we decided that we had had enough excitement for the day and limited our time at the cultural center to a browse through the craft shop and a quick water break. Then we headed back to the bus station.
Of course we somehow got to the bus station late once more and again there were barely any seats left, save for one row in the back that was empty except for an old half-naked man in the corner.
When we asked if the man could maybe move to one of the open seats further up so that we could all sit together, he started going on and on in some language I couldn’t understand.
But apparently he was going on about how this seat was his and he wasn’t going to move and blah blah blah.
Alright then, that’s a little rude but I guess that’s okay…
We quickly realized it wasn’t okay.
As evidenced by his behavior and the half-empty bottle of schnapps he was drinking from, he was obviously wasted.
Poor Victoria was stuck next to the drunk man for the entire first 3 hours of the trip and had to endure his obnoxious comments, touching, smell, and constant insistence that he buy things from or for her.
The surprising thing about the whole situation for me, however, was how the rest of the people reacted.
As evidenced by our earlier experiences on the trip, most Ghanaians are extremely friendly and eager to make travelers feel safe and comfortable.
But none of that “save the helpless travelers” shit happened on the bus.
Instead of helping us when we were clearly making it known to the other passengers on the bus that we were extremely uncomfortable and the man was being very inappropriate by both American and Ghanaian cultural standards, the people on the bus simply encouraged his behavior by laughing at his antics.
All we wanted was someone to tell him in his language to knock it off and mind his own business.
By the third hour Victoria could hardly handle it anymore, and when the man stood up to scream more drunken ramblings to the rest of the bus, he fell on top of Victoria, who subsequently screamed, “Would you please STOP IT sir!!!”
We figured it was time to relieve Victoria of her duty and when we got to the next rest stop I insisted that I switch places with her.
I told her I’m really good at being a dick and ignoring people.
So I sat next to the drunk man, resolutely reading my magazine, ignoring all his overtures with an emotionless gaze that looked straight ahead and never flinched.
Well, except for once when he started poking me and saying, “Hey white boy! White boy!” and then saying more stuff I couldn’t understand.
But besides for that, I did pretty good at ignoring what he was saying.
The bus driver must have finally gotten tired of him though, because finally after he had made the bus stop for the umpteenth time so he could get off and buy something, the bus quickly sped off before he could get back on.
Don’t worry, I’m sure he was fine, and he wasn’t stranded too far out of the city anyway.
When we finally got back to Cape Coast, we all headed straight back to Oasis, an aptly named hotel and restaurant catering to Westerners and ex-pats looking for a respite from the constant chaos that seems to define life in Ghana.
Completely randomly, we happened to run into a number of other Penn students who were staying at Oasis for the night, and we sat with them while enjoying some nice pasta and wine to take the edge off of our hectic day.
- Walk through the largest market in West Africa.
- Haggle for items like a local.
- Survive for 5 hours trapped in a bus with a crazy drunken old man.
One part of Ghana that my guidebook called a “must-see” for tourists is the city of Kumasi, the capital city of the Ashanti people and also the home of the biggest market in West Africa.
Since our time here in Ghana is so limited, we decided that we should take part of this weekend exploring this city.
We also figured they’d have a great selection of fabrics.
So this morning we woke up early to get a few hours of work done, then we headed off to Kingsway to catch a bus to Kumasi.
When we got to the bus station at Kingsway, there was an enormous line at the ticket counter.
Luckily, our friends were already in line, so we went to go stand with them.
One of the ladies who worked in the ticket booth came up to me and asked me how many people we had in our group. As I replied, “Eight,” the entire crowd erupted into protest.
I had no idea what I had said that made these usually friendly and peaceful people get so angry.
Is “eight” a curse word in Fante?
One lady from the line started getting into an intense argument with the ticket lady.
She seemed pretty angry.
A man in line near us translated what was being said.
Apparently they were fighting about us.
The ticket lady was saying that they should be friendly and hospitable to Ghana’s visitors and guests, while the other lady was saying that we should have to wait in line like everyone else.
I guess both of them had a point…
We decided it would be best to just wait in line like everyone else.
Sitting in a crowded bus for 5 hours full of people who resent us might be a little awkward.
When we finally got on the bus, it was nearly full, meaning that we all pretty much had to split up and sit by ourselves.
I got an aisle seat and the kid next to me was pretty skinny and slept the whole time, so it wasn’t really that bad for me.
I was even able to finish the copy of Freakonomics that I had found in the house!
Unsurprisingly, the bus didn’t have A/C, but as long as it was moving and air was flowing through the windows, it didn’t really get too hot.
The scenery on the ride there was absolutely gorgeous though.
Absolutely breathtaking rainforest landscapes!
We got to Kumasi around 5:00 or 6:00 and took an overpriced taxi to our hotel.
[He charged us 1 cedi (about 67 American cents) for a 7 block taxi ride, that freakin’ scam artist!]
Walking into our room in Sanbra Hotel was like walking into heaven.
… and only 14 cedis!!
[That’s less than 10 American dollars!]
After chilling in our chilled room [get it? because it had A/C?], we decided to scope out the market for a bit so that we could shop strategically the next day.
But first, we had to find it.
You’d think the largest market in West Africa would be easy to find, but we never actually did find the actual market that night.
Then it was time for dinner, and there was no question about where we were going: Vic Baboo’s.
Described in the guidebook as having “burgers, pizzas, grills, curries, Chinese, vegetarian, and Indian” and touting A/C and an extensive cocktail list, we couldn’t get there fast enough.
Now normally I am the type of person that would feel bad going to another country and then eating food not from that country, but the thing is, after being in Ghana for a week I really don’t.
The reason is that Ghana only really has like 6 unique dishes, and a week is more than enough time to experience them all.
Even more, the dishes are all pretty basic and taste more or less the same from restaurant to restaurant.
I was more than ready for something that didn’t have bones or rice in it.
So I ordered some mac and cheese, a cheeseburger, and since they “didn’t have cocktails,” a nice cold beer.
That’s another thing about Ghanaian restaurants, they never actually have half the items listed on the menu.
Very frustrating, especially in this case, where they had literally 6 pages of cocktails.
I can’t tell whether they actually don’t have the items, or if they just don’t feel like making the items.
Nearly an hour later [the restaurants are all very slow], my burger finally came out.
It was just meh.
As was the mac n cheese.
I have no idea what they were using for cheese.
Even though the food was mediocre at best, I still left the restaurant extremely happy and satisfied.
Back at the hotel, we ended up talking about what has become one of our favorite subjects of conversation in Ghana: bodily functions.
It’s funny how spending literally every waking hour [in fact, every sleeping hour too] with a group of people in a foreign country for a week brings down pretty much every wall of socially taboo conversation topics.
I probably know as much about the 4 people in my group from this one week of being with them as I do about some of my closest friends that I’ve known since freshman NSO…
Anyway, after a particularly long conversation about one person’s bowel movements [or rather lack thereof], we decided to go out.
It was only 9:00 at night, but when we stepped out of the hotel, it was like we were stepping out into a completely different city.
On the same streets that just an hour and a half before were filled to the brim with hecklers, shopkeepers, taxis, and pedestrians were now completely empty.
Equally as nonexistent were bars that were open.
9:00 is the time in America that most bartenders are just getting prepared for the night. In Ghana, 9:00 is the time that most bartenders are making the last call.
Finally we found some happening nightlife a few blocks away from our hotel.
[Okay, it wasn’t exactly happening, but there was a band and beer so we were happy.
We sat outside on the street, drinking Star and listening to the live band. This guy came up to use and started talking to us, and while at first I thought he was just a friendly guy, I quickly realized he just wanted to sell us his art.
Hurt that he just wanted to be my friend for my money, I told him I wasn’t interested and he left.
But then when I found out that he was only selling the paintings for 10 cedis, and that they were actually pretty good, I decided to buy one from my new shallow friend.
After sitting around for a while more we decided to go and dance, and the second we hit he dance floor, tons of random Ghanaian men instantly swarmed all the girls in the group.
While they were aggressive at times, for the most part they were also pretty respectful, and I don’t think anyone ever violated or unsafe.
[Don’t worry parents, your daughters are in safe hands.]
Then some random guy came up and started teaching me dance moves, only to quickly find out a bit later that he too was simply being friendly to me in hopes of me buying some of his art.
This must be what celebrities feel like when they try to make friends with normal people.
Does no one want to be my friend for my winning personality!?
Everyone just wants me for my money and good looks…
After a good night of dancing with friends and Ghanaians, we went back to our hotel and goofed off for a while before falling asleep in luxury.
- Visit Kumasi.
- Party with the locals.
- Buy art from a struggling artist.