recap on the last few weeks
May 6, 2009
Well we enjoyed a good week and a half on the beaches of Butre and Busua. The weather was fantastic, met some great people from Germany, USA, Canada, Iceland, Sweden and of course some locals. After enjoying the beaches we decided to head out for our next destination... Cape Coast.
Last week we spent 4 days in Cape Coast, Ghana. We visited slave castle there as well as another in the neighboring town of Elmina. The castles are pretty impressive structures for the time in which they were built. They are super elaborate and it really made me wonder how the people could undertake such huge projects with very limited materials, manpower and the language barriers between African and Europeans. Surely it was not an easy task.
We got a little history lesson on the slave trade through these castles. The concept of pulling women and men from their communities in Africa to put them to work in foreign countries against their will is really quite messed up. We walked into the dungeons where probably thousands of slaves bound for the Americas and Europe had been kept before being boarded into ships. From these castles, slaves and gold from the area were to be traded for western goods with local groups in charge of capturing these men and women. Unbelievable things went on there and it's hard to imagine that this type of activity can be carried out by humans.
On a lighter note, we took a day trip to Kakum National Park. There we walked on bridges suspended between trees as high as 30m up in the air. Some of the bridges and tree platforms were a little rickety but we survived. One of the platforms started to teeter as too many of us were standing on one side of it. Got the heart jumping a little.
Beaches there are not nearly as beautiful as what they were in Busua and in Butre (west of here). We made the mistake of walking around on a stretch of beach and had to walk through a maze of golden nuggets and brown snakes. Oh and there were pigs, chickens and goats roaming everywhere. Robin and I studied chicken mating behavior as we were sitting at a pick-nick table enjoying delicious frozen chocolate milk treats. Quite educational.
We met some fellow Canadians also last week. Three guys were from the University of Sherbrooke (in Quebec) who were here doing a research project on education in Ghana. We also met a dude from Edmonton. It was really nice to talk to them and to hear their stories as well as to share ours. The guy from Edmonton came here to learn to make drums.
As for now, Robin and I are in Kumasi. By far this place is definitely the most advanced African city I have ever been too. The streets are clean, there are taxis everywhere, we can pick up wireless internet with our laptop (just need to buy a timed voucher). And there is a huge variety of street food! In the morning I can walk down the street and get some amazing fried eggs with red and green onions on bread for next to nothing. Some of the food combinations seem a little random but they are filling and delicious. For example, yesterday we got 2 fried eggs, rice, avocado, and hot sauce with a bit of lettuce mixed in. Last night we had a delicious meal of fried rice, heinz baked beans, fried chicken, hot sauce, lettuce, cabbage and onions. Everything is put into plastic bags and we spoon it out with utensils we brought along with us.
Kumasi has what is supposedly one of the largest outdoor markets here in West Africa. It's super chaotic but surprisingly well organized. We had no idea where we were going so we would be walking for 5 minutes, I'd turn around, check back to make sure that Robin was still in sight and them we'd keep on trekking through the crowds of people, dodging carts loaded with flour sacks, plastic bowls, plant fertilizer, sugar cane, you name it. Then there are the thousands of little shops and stands that are selling the same products just like in Liberia but on a much larger scale. We found a really small stainless steel water kettle and some cups so that we can make coffee, beans, and itchiban. If anyone has any good recipes that can be cooked using a water kettle, please forward them to us ASAP. Robin and I are so pumped that we wont have to go out for absolutely every meal. Would be nice to find a guest house or hotel with a kitchen available to guests. We would really like to be able to cook a few of our own meals with a full blown kitchen.
Anyways, that's what is going on as of now. We are thinking of staying here in Kumasi for the weekend. We were strolling down the street last night and got invited by a group of Ghanian ladies to sit with them. They bought us each a beer and we chatted for about an hour. The one lady owns a beauty saloon (no, not a salon) and wants to take us or have her kids take us out clubbing! Should be fun! The people here are really nice and we've really enjoyed our time here so far. From here, we're thinking of going to check out a crater lake not too far. But anyways, my entries seem to be really long winded so I must put an end to this one!
Until next time!
Jerome and Robin