Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Kakum National Park to Big Milly's Backyard, near Accra, Ghana, January 30, 2019

We camped in Kakum National Park so it was easy to get to the canopy walk-

Leanne enjoyed the walk.  She is from Northern England and left home 7 years ago and has been travelling ever since, working in various countries along the way.  Currently she lives in Iceland and works in a hotel.  She has a degree in geology which is the real reason she is in Iceland.  She's spent time working in China, Australia, New Zealand and Norway.  She's definitely a cold weather person and the idea of being in Africa for so many months is somewhat daunting.  She is a lover of rocks and history.  This is her second overland, having travelled in South America in 2014.  When she's not travelling, she likes to read obsessively, collect rocks and hike.  She wants to be single forever because she despises children with a passion!

Looking down at the top of the trees which besides a couple of butterflies is all we saw-

squirrel was hanging out around the lodge.  His tail would look great on a hat-

After the canopy walk, we stopped to wash the truck on our way to Cape Coast-

Unfortunately today is Rhona's last day because she has to go back to the UK to work-

Rhona is from the west coast of Scotland from a town called Kilmarnock but she now lives in the north west of England where she works for a company that makes submarines.  She's a project manager which means she manages the contracts between the builder and the customer's requirements, ensuring her company is commercially covered.  This is her fifth overland - she did UK to Oz in 2011, Calcutta to Katmandu in 2012, South Africa in 2015 and Mongolia in 2016.  When she's not travelling, she's training for triathlons - she did a half Ironman this year.  She watches movies, reads and socializes with friends.  Weekends she's usually on the road, going somewhere in England to see friends.  Rhona was one of my French students and did very well, in spite of her Scottish accent!

We stopped at the Cape Coast Castle which was also used to trade slaves.  I didn't visit this Fort - if you've seen a few they all start to look the same.  I had a leisurely lunch and so did Thomas, but he also visited the fort and naturally didn't make it back to the truck on time.  When he did arrive, he didn't apologize or say anything and that ticked a few people off.  The yelling and insults began, and Thomas, rather than realize he's pissed a few people off, became belligerent and missed a great opportunity to make friends.  Oh well.  

There is always someone, usually a woman, selling something that is precariously balanced on her head.  Eggs with hot sauce anyone?

After a few wrong turns, a too tight corner and low hanging wires and trees in the way, we pulled into Big Milly's Backyard at dusk.  In the morning, we are off to Accra to check out a couple of embassies for visas.  Hoping for a quiet night.  

Accra, Ghana, January 31, 2019

What a horrible sleep!  The ground was super hard with rocks sticking up, there were lights on everywhere, a woman and man were having a huge argument outside the walled area, roosters were crowing, birds were making weird noises and at 4:30, a choir started singing and didn't let up.  Needless to say I was awake from 3:45 onward which was okay because we had a 6 am departure for the Equitorial Guinee embassy which is 35 km away in Accra.  We were advised by local taxi drivers that it might take us a few hours to get in because of traffic.  We got there in no time but were hugely ripped off at 150 ($39) instead of $13.  Oh well.  Once at the Equitorial Embassy, we were advised it would be better and cheaper to get our visa in a country closer to E.G. so we decided to try for another visa at the DRC embassy.  They too advised us to wait and thank goodness because there it cost $250 US, for a place we will only be a few days!  We were only 1 km from the National Museum so a few of us went there.  What a bust!  They are renovating so they only had a few photos of the city on display.  Our next stop was Accra Mall where believe it or not, there's a Second Cup!  I bought a pound of delicious coffee and am looking forward to drinking that!  I also bought a new cell phone, at least for half an hour or so.  In order to set it up with my iCloud account, I had to get a verification code and of course because I don't have the use of my home telephone number, that was impossible.  I tried with my credit card but they could not verify it so after a painful 20 minutes, the manager refunded my money. I paid with credit card but the bank the store uses does not refund on the POS machine so the store had to pay me cash.  That was a win for me because I needed to withdraw money and there are no "plus" debit machines in West Africa so I have to get a cash advance on my Visa.  I made the mistake last time of not having the money already in my account and even though I transfered some in the next day, it cost me more than $10 in interest!  

After another scorching day, I checked into the Marriot-

Wow is all I can say.  I'm so looking forward to AC, a big beautiful bed, a shower whenever I want and on and on!  I planted myself on the bed and that's where I spent the rest of the day!  Looking forward to exploring Accra again tomorrow!

Accra, Ghana, February 1, 2019

What an awesome sleep!  And there's a kettle in the room so I had my new coffee!  And a shower!  OMG.  Sometimes I ask myself why I'm punishing myself doing this overland thing but it certainly makes one appreciate the finer things in life that I so often take for granted!

I have been emailing Lillian Heidel who is Cindy Bartko's sister in law.  Lillian and her husband Bernie moved to Accra last May and I golfed with her in North Battleford this summer.  We had discussed my Ghana visit so we got together today.  Her driver Isaac picked me up at 10 at the hotel.  We went to Lillian's house which is only about 10 minutes from my hotel.  They have a lovely home filled with great African Art-

The view from their balcony-

We decided to tour the city.  Flagstaff House, also known as Golden Jubilee House was completed in 2008 amid huge controversy.  It cost tens of millions of dollars to build and is the office and residence of the President of Ghana.  It's built to represent an Asante Golden stool-

Jamestown is a slum with 5000 people crammed into a small, filthy area-

They have a school-

And of course a fishing port-

They smoke a lot of fish so the place was quite smelly-

 There is a communal shower-

The community was built around the 17th century British James Fort-

The nearby prison just closed in 2007-

There is also some great street art-

An obituary was posted on the wall of a building-

The shops have such interesting names.  Yesterday we saw "Friends and Lovers Restaurant" and today-

They are very religious too with churches practically on every corner-

There's also a lighthouse-

After Jamestown, we went to the Artist's Alliance Gallery which was four floors of paintings, masks, fabric, furniture and jewelry.  There was a lot of nice stuff including these paintings-

We stopped for lunch at La Palma Resort-

Then I came back to my hotel room to enjoy it for a few more hours. I'm meeting the truck at Second Cup tomorrow at 9:30 as we head towards Togo.  

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Crazy Africa! Some of my Favorites!

What will you give us to cross our bridge?  

After waiting an hour or so, the water dropped enough for us to cross-

Searching the truck in the police compound at the Nigeria/Cameroon border-

Our home at the Cameroon border when Cameroon wouldn't stamp us out-

The armed posse that rode with us from Mamfe, Cameroon back to the Cameroon/Nigeria border-

Wiring in a hotel room-


Our "camp" in the police compound at the Cameroon border.  We set up with the truck "protecting" us from the nearby jungle.  About a month before we were here, rebels had been firing into the compound-

Many stores have interesting names-

Jane's birthday-

Our guard while we walked in the jungle looking for gorillas...

Our armoured escort to Mamfe-

And the best for last, my family-

Kakum National Park to Big Milly's Backyard, near Accra, Ghana, January 30, 2019

We camped in Kakum National Park so it was easy to get to the canopy walk- Leanne enjoyed the walk.  She is from Northern England and left h...