Trip Start Apr 04, 2006
80Trip End Oct 23, 2006
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Where I stayed
We had breakfast in Winneba at the Lagoon Lodge - a charming place that is listed in the cheapest section of the Rough Guide to West Africa. The manager was really kind to let us leave our bags on the premises while we were in town. A description of the festival from the guide reads as: "actually involves two hunting groups competing to bring back a live antelope
We followed the crowd that was heading into town. The next thing you know, we were in the middle of carnival. Seriously, it was like a Jouvert in Trinidad, Four-day mornin' in Barbados, & any other mud/paint mas' in the other islands of the Caribbean. Men were covered in coloured paint/mud; everyone was dancing the same way as we do for night mas; and people were singing. Key similarity: Some men were dressed in women's clothes --- All the way that you would see it at home - simply amazing!. The only difference: There were no music trucks or instruments. I was in awe - we really have our roots here!!! & you can only imagine how much I wanted to jump on the road. I spoke with a few people on the streets and none of them had heard of our diaspora having similar ways of celebration.
After a break in the celebrations, apparently we would wait for the chiefs to arrive in a couple of hours. We decided to forego that spectacle & head toward the seashore. It was a quiet afternoon on the beach before deciding to continue our travels west to Cape Coast - 1.5 hr ride
To reduce the stress of trying to push for a seat on a tro-tro (minibus or maxi-taxi), we hired a taxi. Half way through the journey on a really rocky, gravelly, construction road (where evenb the paved parts had vicious pot holes), the rear passenger tire got a puncture. Naturally, there was no spare so we pull over to a tire shop on the side of the road. Well!! ...
This tire shop was a hut - a shack - on the side of the road that had enough room to hold a compressor on the floor & 2 persons standing next to it - one in front of the other. And, is not like the shack could stand up to a really stiff breeze. Outside, on one side of the shack stood the apparatus that would take the tire off the rim. Ont the other side was one old tire on the ground that balanced a half of another larger tire - concave side down. The balanced 1/2 tire was a holder for tire grease/oil - some sort of liquid. The men proceeded to patch the puncture; used an open flame top seal/melt the sealant & dry. Then, the tire was put on the rim again and given back to the taxi driver to put on the car. As you can imagine, with complete nightfall now around us & more gravelly road ahead, there were more than a few prayers from me for this patch to hold for another 45 mins - knowing fully well that the driver had to turn around and drive all the way back to Winneba after he dropped us off
We had a few problems finding somewhere to stay within our budget (that would be Jenn & my budgets). Those places were full; guess that more than a few people have the same guidebook :-) Finally found a place to splurge at $18 USD per night that will be split between 2 persons.
One more obstacle: The municipality has no running water! So we bathing wid bucket ... are you sure that I am not in Guyana?
As hotel staff willingly fetch buckets of water for us, it is the end of Gene & Charu's 2nd day & I think that they are ready to throw in the credit cards for the 5-star treatment ... lol!