The Crocodile Sancutuary near Kakum National Forest was sortof a bust; this was the only croc I got to lay my eyes on, and it was pretty docile for my taste. More of a log than a man-eating beast. The restaurant at this place was pretty idyllic, even though the food was overpriced and the service was bland. I could tell the workers have had their fill of tourists and are pretty much over it.
Where to begin in my overseas odyssey, I have no idea. As for what I’ve been up to on this trip thus far, my journal has become a jumbled mess of misinformed dates filled with a fantastic swirl of sites and sounds. Here are my pictures and journal entries from the last week, or weeks or…. I don’t know:
Aug. 22 – Sarah and I ditched the orphanage for the weekend and hitched a ride on a rattling trotro for five Ghanaian Cedis, which is like three dollars, toward Cape Coast. Cape Coastis home to a castle where the British held slaves during the trans-Atlantic slave trade before shipping them off to various countries in the western hemisphere. Today, the town is a mix of charred-out colonial buildings that now house curbside markets, corrugated metal roof shanties, beachside slums and palm trees. On the way to our hotel, a group of children waving live chickens followed us hollering “Obrone , give me one Cedi. Obrone give me one Cedi” before the manager ran them off. Our hotel, Sammo is a clean-cut , multicolored, modern sortof joint with a labyrinthine sortof feel. Shards of glass acted as barbed-wire protection against potentially crazed locals out to mob the many Euro-tourists lodged in its private rooms. The place is cool. It’s way more comfortable than the orphanage. We share a single room with one bed, a small-mirrored dresser and a bathroom with one toilet and a shower all to ourselves. It’s luxury.
Yeah, the beach near Cape Coast Castle is this beautiful.
Aug. 22 – Making friends in Ghana is easy, especially if you’re a tourist who looks like you can afford plaintains and other edible fare. I forget the name of the girl I’m posing next to in this picture, but she followed us for about half an hour, posing in most of our pictures. I admire her.
Another cool kid at the Coast.
Aug. 22 – The strange thing about this place is how gorgeous it really is. It’s weird seeing parents take snapshots of their kids posing next to the female dungeon or inside the male prison cell, grinning all wide-eyed like they’re standing next to the mouse at Chuck-E’- Cheese. It made me feel gross with guilt posing next to the cannons or spectacular oceanview when I thought of the tremendous suffering that took place here. It’s like grinning beside a coffing, or a lynching.
Fisherman at work near the castle.
Day 2 of our weekend excursion:
Kakum National Forest is Alice in Wonderland meets the Secret Garden magical.
Aug. 23 – Yeah, I walked 125 feet above dense forest on a canopy held together with sticks and rope, just like Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and all I got was this one snapshot since my camera decided to give out mid-route.
Aug. 23 – Driving to Elmina Castle the day after our Cape Coast venture was wild. Elmina’s another town in Ghana that houses a castle which once held slaves and now acts as a tourist attraction/historical museum. Traffic via unregulated, smog spewing vehicles is a regular scene in this country. There are no rules on the road, making crossing the street or even walking on the sidewalk a hazardous, ball-breaking task. But there’s something to be said about the beauty of a bustling storefront community in Ghana. I just won’t say it now.
There’s the castle in the background. Elmina is another grand fishing town in Ghana – a great site.
Through the Door of No Return countless slaves were led to boats bound for Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and numerous other destinations, never to return to Ghana again. It’s wild seeing the fishing boats outside of the door and the wide open sea which must have seemed like a wicked uncharted territory to the numerous people who braved its shores, and survived. I’ll admit, I cried a little during the tour.
Aug. 23 – She’s a shrewd and vicious bargainer not afraid to use her mounting age as a weapon against potential hagglers like myself. She may be unrelenting with her prices, but Sabina’s goods are pretty great, and I spent a hearty amount on her handmade designs.