The best 20 pesewas I ever spent

Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
1
14
18
Trip End Jul 17, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of Ghana  , Ashanti,
Friday, July 8, 2011

Up at the crack of dawn to be on the bus at 5:30 am.  A big shout out to the CAS Journalism students staying across the courtyard who woke us all up at 3:45 am.  I didn't need that extra 45 minutes of sleep - a** clowns.  On the bus, which unfortunately today did not have a safari mural on the side but hey you take what you can get.  We were heading to Kumasi, the center of the Ashanti kingdom in Ghana.  The scenery out of the city was rather pretty when we started to head into the mountains toward Aburi.  The two lane paved road passed through many small towns and villages which meant lots of speed bumps.  People were out and about doing business early in the morning selling palm oil by the side of the road or heading to church services or a funeral (Ghanaian funerals are almost always held on Saturdays and are a huge deal here is an article from the NY Times about funerals in NYC http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/nyregion/12funerals.html?_r=1&ref=deathanddying ).  After about 2 and 1/2 hours we landed at Linda Dor truck stop which for the very reasonable price of 20 pesewas (about 15 cents) you received a receipt, a small roll of tp and access to a proper (cleanish) bathroom.  Aaaaah relief.  You could also procure snacks which is very important when you have been awake for about 4 hours and haven't eaten anything.  A Coke light, some hobnobs and a bag of plaintain chips will just about do it.  Back on the bus!  Another 3 hours!  I found a comfortableish position and managed to nod off for about 45 minutes or so. 

We pulled into Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana, to find it fully awake and running full steam.  We headed to the National Culture Center to first grab lunch and then some shopping.  Lunch was ok but the most memorable part was when Heather went to go sit down at the table and said "There is sh*t on that chair.  I'm not sitting here." and then quietly pushed it back in.  I thought she was being a princess but lo and behold there actually was an animal (non Homo sapien) sized poo on the chair.  The chair was removed and we all had a good, slightly nervous and disgusted laugh.  Needless to say it wasn't my favorite meal.  After lunch we ventured out into the craft market.  It was much smaller than the market in South Africa last year which was almost overwhelming.  It was maybe one or two notches less pushy about selling you things.  I purchased some souvenirs and was almost out of money which is probably a good thing.  Back to the bus.  Next stop Manhyia Palace.  This building was built by the British as a gift to the Asantehene Nana Prempeh I who had just been returned from exile in the Seychelles in 1926. The Asantehene is the king of the Ashanti kingdom and the current one Osei Tutu II lives in a palatial home right behind the Palace (he also apparently drives the world's most expensive car).  The palace contains a small history museum with incredibly life like statues of the kings that lived in the home and their successors.  There also was a statue of Yaa Asantewaa who led a rebellion against the British in 1900.  She was captured and exiled to Seychelles where she died and she is revered as a hero because she stood up to the British. 

Back on the bus and on to the hotel.  We were going to another craft market but decided that we needed the hotel more.  The hotel was really nice.  Our room was clean, huge and had a good a/c.  There was free wi-fi which didn't really work that well but there were 4 or 5 computers in the lobby with Interwebz.  We had some time before dinner so it was nap time!  We met up to get on the bus to go downtown for dinner.  We ate at the Sanbra hotel restaurant.  It was pretty good, actually it had the best grilled chicken I've had so far in Ghana and because of stomach issues I've eaten a lot of grilled chicken.   Outside the hotel were these two little kids, probably about 4 or 5 who were so excited to see the Obrunis pull up in a bus.  Little kids go crazy a lot when they see us. It makes me feel like a celebrity of sorts, plus little kids jumping up and down waving and yelling "Obruni, Obruni!" is just adorable.  We were all so exhausted that we passed on the nightlife and just went back to the hotel.  Down the street a little ways there was a restaurant that had a band playing but everyone was soooo exhausted the only music I wanted to hear was me snoring.  Night night time!
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