In last week's post I discussed walking everywhere to do everything. I have made a couple of friends who have cars (yay), but I can't call them up every day to hitch a ride. Walking is good exercise, but after a while a person just needs some wheels. A couple of different people had offered to help me find a good quality bike at one of the local markets, but they just weren't moving fast enough for my Western-minded self. As the hostel manager, Mr. Selasy and the carpenter were in my room helping me set up my mosquito net, Mr. Selasy offered to help me find a bike in the city. Not knowing my way around Ghana, I thanked him and took him up on the offer.
|The carpenter helping set up my mosquito net (this is my hostel room by the way!), August 16, 2014|
|He may be the one to thank for protection against Malaria! August 16, 2014|
|I was happy for the map and this vendor was happy for the business! August 20, 2014|
Hopefully the map will help with my navigational skills of the country. Mr. Selasy suggested searching for a bike in Ashama since bikes and other goods are imported in Ashama directly from other African and European countries. After bargaining with three different street side vendors, I finally settled on a light blue women's bike from the first vendor. Culture shock hit again as we waited and waited for the little second hand bike to be repaired. The owner of the shop had to run to another store to find a basket, then another store to find a screw to fasten the basket on, then another thirty minutes to oil the bike up, then another twenty minutes to put in the bicycle pedals, and so on. Through all of it, I just took a deep breath and waited until they finished. And once they did, this little used blue bike made me pretty happy. It took nearly a whole afternoon, just to get a used bike. But the next morning, as I placed my book bag in the basket and made my way to the international student building, I was ecstatic! Riding it that morning took me back to my undergrad days at the College of Charleston (boy do I sound old). I was very thankful to have it as it saved a lot of time and a lot of foot work. Not to mention going down hills now is like a mini roller coaster!
|Bicycle shop owners fixing my new/used (recycled) ride, August 20, 2014|
|What were you expecting-a motorcycle? August 20, 2014|
|More bikes! August 20, 2014|
In addition to purchasing a brand new used bike, last weekend I made my first visit to Cape Coast. The dirt road to Cape Coast was lined with palm trees that swayed in the cool beach wind. Mansions and shacks alike were nestled high on leafy green hill tops. It's every bit of a beach town.
|The breathtaking beach town of Cape Coast, August 22, 2014|
On Friday after taking a much needed nap, Mr. Quansah's kids took me to some local fun spots including Kakum Canopy Walk and the Ostrich farm. After taking the long walk into the forest through a rain storm, I was pretty tired. But once we reached the top and I saw the beautiful walkway, I gained a second wind. As I stepped onto the the Walk, Gloria asked me if I was afraid. I certainly wasn't! I had read about the Canopy walk in my travel book and couldn't wait to walk across. We decided to be dare devils and took the long seven course way around to the end. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The beauty in the heart of the forest was calming and incredible to take in.
|Posing with an elephant skull and some of Mr. Quansah's children and grandchildren: Don, Manaeow, Thomas, and Kofi at Kakum. August 22, 2014|
|A hot and sweaty me suspended in air on the Canopy Walk after a rain storm, August 22, 2014|
|Hanging on for dear life! August 22, 2014|
|Will I make it? Yes! August 22, 2014|
|Hands up (Manaeow is so cute here)! August 22, 2014|
|Amazing moss growth and root system on this tree, August 22, 2014|
|Male ostrich flapping his wings, August 23, 2014|
|A hungry male ostrich, August 22, 2014|
|Hungry female ostriches, August 22, 2014|
|Kofi admiring the sharks. I'm keeping my distance, August 23, 2014|
|The road to Cape Coast Castle, August 23, 2014|
|Living conditions for some in Elmina, August 23, 2014|
|Incredible view of Elmina's fishing village, August 23, 2014|
|Entering Cape Coast Castle, August 23, 2014|
|The tour guide briefs us on what we're about to see. He was excellent, August 23, 2014|
|The tour guide said church used to take place upstairs and slave auctions occurred on the first floor. Some church this was. August 23, 2014|
|Shackles, August 23, 2014|
|This is a peep hole in the Portuguese church-funny! August 23, 2014|
|Apparently Europeans got whipped for resisting, too. This skull marks the spot where Europeans would get flogged or receive lashes for disobedience or being too rowdy in a drunken stupor. August 23, 2014|
|Old cannon ball in the castle courtyard. Yes, that's my foot! August 23, 2014|
|I think my expression says it all, August 23, 2014|
|Kofi was having a blast taking "snaps" with my camera, August 23, 2014|
|Posing for the camera, August 23, 2014|
|We met this gentleman, Isaac, as we entered the castle. On the way out, he found us and presented this shell to me as a gift. Kofi said he was just trying to get money out of me, but I thought it was a sweet gesture! August 23, 2014|
|In front of Baobab House, August 23, 2014|
Gloria and Kofi invited me to join them for Mass the next morning. It would have been nice to experience Mass in Ghana, but I declined for not having packed the proper attire (aka church clothes). By the time they made it back home, the family looked so nice, I asked if I could take their photo. As they posed for the camera I thought, man, what a great looking family!
|What's for lunch? Tasty groundnut stew with chicken and yam. August 24, 2014|
|Posing with Ms. Julianna and Mr. Quansah, August 24, 2014|
|Family photo of the Quansahs after Sunday Mass: Mr. Quansah, Ms. Juliana, (pet Jupiter), Manaeow, Gloria, Louisa, Vincent, Kofi, and Thomas. August 24, 2014|
After photos, exchange of contact information, and lunch, it was time to head home to Accra. The kids gave me a lift to the station, and I was off again down the palm-lined dirt road. That Sunday afternoon I was feeling great. Despite all the uncertainty of the strike and being in a new, exciting, and strange land, I felt I was doing okay. I had gotten my mosquito net put up for protection from Malaria, gotten some wheels, and had made some new friends who had already invited me back to their home for the big September festival (stay tuned). I am learning more and more about the people of West Africa and making the best of it. This thought helped me drift off to sleep as the little white van twisted and turned, taking me from the beautiful beach town of Cape Coast back to the hustle and bustle of Accra.