From Akosombo to Kumasi

Trip Start Mar 11, 2005
1
16
28
Trip End Mar 27, 2005


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Friday, March 18, 2005

Today we are heading to Kumasi from Akosombo. Normally this would mean going back to Accra as there is no direct public transit between the two places, but Daniel has come through for us once again and has hired a van through the Methodist church to take us and all our stuff to Kumasi. It should take about 6 hours and will cost 455,000 - we gladly give them 500,000 and everyone seems happy. We are to leave Daniel's in Akosombo at 8AM and the van arrives at 7:30 - what's this all about? These guys mustn't be real Ghananians, cause nothing ever happens early here! We packed up all our stuff the night before and we are ready, having fed the kids some breakfast. Daniel is so disappointed in us at not eating his food but his pears are just disgusting and we are all afraid of eating too much coconut knowing full well what a natural laxative they are. I don't even try to eat any to be polite. Andrew still declares the pears to be the absolute worst food he has ever tasted. So bad, that it almost didn't stay down and this is the kid that will eat/try anything (as long as there are no olives visible).

We are all waiting on Daniel and we finally get away at 8:30. Just before we left the kids each gave Daniel a gift - a watch, a pen set and a coffee table book of Canada. He seems embarrassed to receive the gifts and I am glad we went with the plan to leave the other things we brought him on the table in the bedroom. We left him a Canada ball cap, 2 Canada bath towels, a golf shirt and an Our Canada magazine and a calendar of Canadian pictures. His daughter Esther had left us a welcome note and some beads so we left her the pencils and chalk we had brought for her class and a pen and pencil gift set for her. We were disappointed, and so was Daniel, that we didn't get a chance to meet her as she had been out of town, in Kumasi actually where we were headed, and was returning as we were leaving. We probably passed her on the road.

Willie hops aboard for a ride out to the main road and cozies up to Kailey. I better keep an eye on those two - Willie has already asked Kailey to marry him! We pass a woman on the road and I hear Willie say to Kailey - "That one they call Gladys". Shawn has a bucket hat to give to the pensioner - Big Man From the Hospital as Daniel calls him - that we met yesterday. He's this cute little round man who just grins from ear to ear. Kailey hopped out and ran up to his house to where he is sitting on the porch to give him the hat. He proudly puts it on and the biggest smile crosses his face. Oh, why didn't I have the camera out? He's smiling and waving with both hands as we leave.

The ride is not too bad although I am worried about Andrew, he doesn't look well, his face is all red and he hasn't been eating. I'm hoping it is just the heat and keep pushing water on him. My stomach is upset again and I've taken more Gravol, hoping I can last this trip. I think if I just had some time to relax I would feel better, seems like we are just always on the go, and it is just so bloody hot all the time. Staying at Daniel's without any air conditioning has taken a toll on all of us I think. We're actually leaving a day earlier than we had planned.

Daniel is along with us on this trip and as per usual, he needs to make several stops along the way. We just want to get going! At one spot he makes us all get out at a market along the road so we can look at Ghananian produce - enough already - no one is buying anything - let's get going. I hear Daniel tell the driver we Canadians are more used to sitting and driving long distances than they are. We are booting along and making good time until we hit road construction. This is where we loose all the time. We marvel at how strict our highway laws are compared to here. Trucks are running with flat tires, some trucks don't have tires on all their rims even. A couple of trucks have rolled over onto their sides, spilling their loads onto the roadways. I notice a change in the roadside stand offerings - now they are all selling plastic jugs of liquid. Daniel says it is palm oil which is what everyone uses to cook in.

We pull into our hotel - the Silicon Hotel and Conference Center and I dash into the reception area before Daniel can join me, hoping it is OK that we've arrived a day early and that they have a room for us. Luckily it is no problem. We unload the luggage, say our goodbyes and Daniel and the drivers are gone. Air conditioning here we come! We go to our rooms and find a mistake. They've given us two 2-bedroom suites when I only booked one at $89 US a night. The beds look really tiny and although the boys plead to keep the second room, I decide to save some money and see if we can't get a cot. Turns out we just wheel a sofa bed in from next door and voila beds for us all. There are two bedrooms with a bed each and now we have two sofa beds. The maids are checking to see that everything is OK and they spy a house lizard on the wall in the hallway. They bring their little broom and try to scoop him up. All they end up doing is knocking him onto the floor, where his tail falls off and starts wiggling across the floor in one direction while the lizard heads off in another. Cool trick! I checked out the beds - soft pillows. I swear his pillows were just pillowcases on bags of concrete mix at Daniel's house!

We ask at the desk were the nearest store is to get some pop etc to have in the room and we meet Prince for the first time. He leads us all down the road to a Shell station. He tells Shawn not to buy beer here as he will have to pay the deposit for the bottles. He will sell him bottles from the hotel to keep in our fridge in the room. We buy some cans of pop and Prince insists on carrying the bag back to the hotel.

OH MY GOD!! A Bathtub! Haven't seen one of these in too long. I have a nice hot bath and I am horrified at the water - it is completely black! I had no idea I was so filthy dirty! I couldn't even see my legs in the water it was so dark. The boys head to check out the computers but since we're five hours ahead of home, no one is on MSN yet. Kailey takes a dip in the pool and before you know it, it is time to eat again.

Thankfully, Andrew is looking much better - now I know it was just the heat. Just in case I had joined the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers and had names and numbers of English-speaking Western-trained doctors in Ghana in case we needed one. So, where to eat? Out comes the guidebook and Vic Baboo's is highly recommended. The book says it is central and a popular restaurant that has a menu that would take weeks to work through - burgers, pizza, grills, curries, Chinese, vegetarian, and you won't be disappointed in anything you order. After Daniel's it sounds like just what the doctor ordered - a good ol' pizza. We hire a taxi from the hotel to take us to the restaurant. We're not exactly sure where our hotel is in relation to the city center and we find out we're about 15 mins from downtown. Too far to walk anywhere. We do the right thing and negotiate a price before getting in the cab, about 25,000 or 30,000. The driver insists he knows were the restaurant is. I also show him on the map in the guidebook. Off we go, hanging on for dear life as usual. We drive, and we drive, all around the city. Finally the driver takes us to this restaurant and says this is it. Hmm, doesn't look like what I had in mind, looks rather dead or maybe closed. No sign out front either. Shawn goes to check it out. He's gone a while and finally comes back out. Nope, it is definitely NOT the place. He tells me later he walked in on some kind of "water buffalo" meeting. He says he was the only white guy in the place and since it was kinda dark, all he could see was the whites of their eyes glaring at him. We finally ask some people and get to the restaurant where we get into a fight with the taxi driver who is demanding more money because it took so long. Hey - he was the one that was lost! A few people are starting to gather so we throw 50,000 at him (he wanted 100,000) and rush inside Vic's. Now this seems more like it. The place is full of white travellers. We grab a table in the corner - bring on this big menu! When he gets around to it the waiter finally appears with the menus. This doesn't take nearly as long to get through as the guidebook has suggested, but we want pizza. When he finally saunters over again to take our order, we're told they are out of pizza. WHAT? Now we're disappointed and nothing seems to appeal to us. We end up ordering burgers, Kailey gets a hot dog, and Kelan gets some sort of beef and green pepper steak. What did he know that we didn't? Turns out they didn't have any hot dog buns so they gave Kailey another type of bun. The burgers were a huge letdown. The benches are really hard to sit on, the shape of them just doesn't fit your body. Kailey has to go to the washroom which is upstairs. Shawn takes her and they both come back looking distressed. Shawn says the washroom is so disgusting Kailey won't go. The toilet is plugged, it is dirty and there is no soap to wash etc. I told him to take her into the men's room but he says it's worse, and there is not even a sink in there. Eww! So, to recap, the food is crappy, the washrooms are disgusting, we got into a fight with the taxi driver to get here, the service was poor, the benches hard to sit on - oh yeah, the AC was broken too. The owner (I presume) helped us get a taxi to take us back to the hotel after we told him what we went through to get there and he negotiated the 25,000 rate for us. Seemed we were back to the hotel in minutes. Time for bed!
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Comments

blkluvla
blkluvla on

Ghana travels
I enjoyed reading your blogs. I'm in L.A. but used to live in Ghana. I think what really gets to western travelers in places like Ghana is how unreliable things are and how episodically they work, if at all. Every once in a while something is really brilliant, but the rest of the time it really sucks. It often doesn't appear to matter to people that things actually run smoothly or on time.

The other beef is the toilets. Oh my goodness, the toilets. It's beyond us why they are such a mess, and I've never been able to understand why it's not revolting to them. I am wondering if the thought process is that it's a filthy business anyway so it might as well take place in filthy surroundings. I don't know.

actwright
actwright on

i want to work with you
I am student at the university of science and technology and i like tourism i therefore want to work with you so i will happy if you will send me the details of employment.thanks

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