Sunday, December 07, 2008

Recovered from my bug, I really enjoyed the run on the beach this morning - what a great break from dank, dark and dreary London! A colleague and I extended the business trip a couple of days to see a bit of Ghana. I had my doubts as we said goodbye to our driver and his lovely air conditioned vehicle, and moved pretty down-market in hotels, but it was great to see a bit of the country. It would have been a pity to go home only having seen the beach, a conference room, our western style hotel and the drive between!

Well, it was great except for the 3 hr drive to Cape Coast in a taxi with no AC, in horrible traffic (both ways!!) What a miserable journey, choking down petrol fumes and sweating! I guess one really needs to travel very early or very late to avoid the Accra congestion. Sometime we didn't move for 10 minutes, as people came up to the car trying to sell us everything from drinks to a dictionary (really!) But the music on the radio was reggae or West African highlife music which I'm going to search out at home!

But as we began climbing up into the rainforest at the Kukum National Park, I knew it was all worth it. The canopy walk, a roped bridge 40 m up in the trees was the Ghanian equivalent of an amusement park for masses of school kids, but it was fantastic all the same. We were dripping sweat as we waited our turn on the forest floor, it felt like 100% humidity! But high in the trees there was a breeze and what a view!

Then we visited the British forts at Cape Coast and Elmina - sobering and horrific reminders of the slave trade. I’ll never forget standing in a lightless, airless stone cell that held women in incredibly overcrowded and inhumane conditions for months before they were boarded on ships never to see their loved ones again.

I wandered around the market at Elmina by myself for an hour and chatted with women at the Kente cloth stalls, and explored the noisy fish market. I really wish Billy had been with me to photograph the impossibly ordered chaos!

Home now with lots of souveniers of Ghana, necklaces, paintings, cloth and other suprises that will re-appear on Christmas morning. I do hope I get to go back to Ghana again!


Irish Blue said...

It's always fascinating traveling to other countries and experiencing the culture.

Enjoy putting up your tree!

crossn81 said...

Thanks for bringing back some good memories of my trip. Sounds like we did the same tourist bit on the coast!

Dan said...

I bet the canopy walk made the long drive seem worth it! You have some nice photos on your blog. Happy New Year!