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Friday, December 31, 2010

Ghana December 2010

Dave & I decided to embark on a new adventure to Ghana, Africa, about 10 days ago. We'd been wanted to go for a while but couldn't find the right "window". One day the cards fell correctly for our flight tickets to be purchased. We called both our mothers to ask them if they thought they'ed miss us too much over xmas if we went. Neither of them seemed overly bothered so we went ahead with our plans. 
The cheapest hotel we found for our first few days in Accra is a place called "The Lemon Lodge". Because the name & dingy description in The Lonely Planet makes us laugh we lean towards this place more than the others. Online we found very little about it save "the pink-walled Lemon Lodge (2nd Mango Tree Avenue; 21/227-857) is not nearly as bad as its name may imply".  So after giving the Ghana consulate in NYC some other fake hotel reservations (we need to give them these as references in Ghana for some reason)  we were able to pick up our visas with no problems. 
Now we just need to get our anti malaria pills & we are set.
PS-all the dates on this "diary" are messed up as I kind of worked backwards. But we spend just under a month in all in this incredible country.
All our gear


The heat is just overwhelming in Accra. What with this and the tiny clammy room  with fan we took at The Lemon Lodge we were in for a pretty grueling 3 days. Somehow I think we thought that because we were in exotic Africa there would have to be insects & bugs crawling over you at night. We learned gradually that this is not the case & that you can have a full night's sleep with no bugs or mosquitos touching you. 
We spent 3 days in Accra tramping the hot dusty streets. The whole ordeal was not that appealing as an introduction to Ghana, & we were keen to find the bus stop in order to move on.
We took off to Kumasi on an air conditioned bus (only 1 1/2 hrs late in leaving) & had a very bumpy 5 hr ride to this lovely town. 


Always weird to see xmas trees in the searing heat

This room turned out to be the most disgusting room we stayed in Ghana. Roaches ran into my bag on the chair & huge insects scaled the walls

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kumasi Day 3

We alighted the bus from Accra & pretty quickly found the Presbyterian Guest House we were planning on staying at. We hadn't realized it was going to have a shared bathroom but despite this is was as clean as could be & pretty cool once the fan got going.
The town of Kumasi was quite devout as were most of the other towns we were going to be staying at we later found. Hymn singing emanated from various buildings & it was really rather pleasant. This peaceful ambience was in stark contrast to farther on into town where the madness began. The madness I mean of Kumasi MarketOn Sunday the town pretty much shut down & most people would go to church or market which still covered the streets downtown. This was a surprise to us as it was such a huge frenetic market you wouldn't think they'ed want this coinciding with a day of rest. It wended it's way through a myriad of badly maintained streets lined with "shabby chic" decrepit colonial buildings. We finally got lost in this madness & even the police mis-directed us out. It was through sheer luck & Dave's compass that we finally stumbled upon the main road. 
on th'bathroom curtain
hospital in Kumasi

shop style
We decided to move on from Kumasi after 3 days even though we did love it there. We bought tickets for the bus early in the morning & showed up before it was supposed to leave at 8am. We were inexperienced at this point & had no idea that 10am could mean anything. After sitting on the bus benches for a couple of hrs an announcement was finally made that the bus wouldn't be coming in until 2pm. So off we trundled to Vic Baboo's for some breakfast.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


So far Kumasi has turned out to be an absolute haven from the burning dustiness of Accra. We really were happy to get out of that sprawling dirty place. I shall post more when we get to another internet spot.

These are some of the dried out small dead creatures that you

The corrugated roofs of the market stalls

Monday, December 27, 2010


We reached Tamale at around 11.30pm & so were a bit worried about finding a place to stay. We'd been calling various hotels from the bus but hadn't been successful. This was partly because we were just unable to get through on some of the numbers which was due to the fact that the area codes had changed throughout Ghana recently. (We were later able to find a list of all the area code changes for future hotel bookings). Luckily there was a lovely girl on the bus who knew of a hotel, Al Hassan hotel, where there'd be rooms available & she led us & a few other backpackers to it. It turned out to be in a great location as all the other hotels needed cars it seemed.
There is no clear reason to stay in Tamale, just a stopping point to go on to Mole National Park, but we spent a couple of nights here anyway.  

Tamale is just a four lane highway for a person with a backpack. The city sprawls for about 10 kilometers. The hotels are generally for NGOs and the other hotels on the outskirts of the city are more like motels for "other activities"

Our room
Door to our room. The lock was actually hanging on a thin piece of rusted metal.

Fan Milk guy-a kind of ice cream sold from a cooler which you suck out of the corner of a sachet.
It is the perfect thing for cooling you down.

Open drains run along the sides of the roads. Children bathe in them, animals eat from them...


 Obama everywhere

Pre fire festival celebrations. The local lads march through the town waving machetes!

We did not see many cows

Water girl-Drinking water from sachets is a lot cheaper than bottles, about 3 cents per sachet

Very typical-newspaper given to you for a few cents which is tossed around the room after use for the ants & flies!

On a bus journey you will never go hungry

Road to our hotel