Monday, February 14, 2011

Running on empty...

We did, at one point, have plans to see Ghana properly. That was prior to the two months we spent in West Africa…

We spent a few days in Accra complaining about the poor quality of the hotel we decided to splurge at (yes, we’re talking about you Afia Beach Hotel) and rejoicing at finding an ATM that took our Mastercard. We visited Nkrumeh National Park (although only from outside the gates as we couldn’t figure out how to pay our 2 cedis to get in) and met a crazy Kiwi who owns, of all things, an amazing sushi restaurant in downtown Ghana called Monsoon.

Next up, Kumasi, the seat of the Ashanti King. Did we make an appointment to meet the King? No. Did we see West Africa’s largest market? Yes, but on a Sunday. It was still impressively labyrinth-like and full of women surrounded by giant vats of peanut-paste so maybe we still have street-cred?

Finally: Cape Coast. Our visit to the Cape Coast Castle was the sad and depressing experience we’d been expecting (but didn’t get) at Ìle de Goree. Underground chambers that held thousands of slaves standing in their own waste and a long tunnel stretching to the “Door of No Return” where they boarded ships bound for the Americas. Really depressing. Although, ironically, our guide seemed more excited by the plaque presented by Barack and Michelle Obama during their visit in 2009 than he was by the fact that he works at a beautifully-restored 17th century slaving fort full of history.

As we leave West Africa, I feel a little bit like I did when I left Egypt. I’m glad I came but I secretly hope I don’t ever have to come back again…don’t tell Juan.

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