Tuesday 17th March 09 Green Turtle to Cape Coast continued,
Okay so I did leave and headed on to Takoradi. On the way through I spotted a place advertising Gas and so I thought I’d try and get my Camping Gaz bottle refilled. The guy said he did bottles and took a look at mine before confirming he could do it and when I asked for butane he could do that too. The cost for the refill 1.8 Ghana Cedis or about 90 pence!!! I will put up the GPS for this place as they were nice. N 04.55.460 W 001.45.278.
The road was fine and I decided to call in and see the famous Elmina Fort which the tourist board plug as the oldest European building in Africa south of the Sahara. Clutching at straws a bit I think.
Today’s humour is in the use of Christian messages or references to name buildings or businesses. My 2 top ones for the day are ‘Finger of God Welding and Fabrication’ and ‘ Hotel Messiah, A little glimpse of Heaven’.
I will, I’m sure find some more. Oh, here it is ‘In God We Trust Roofing supplies’!!!!
The fort at Elmina is a monument to the shame of the slave trade. I went on the guided tour but ducked out part way through as I have never liked tours particularly in the heat. The pictures tell part of the tale but it is a place where a lot of Americans come to see where their ancestors were kept. One part of the tale was when slaves had misbehaved and were sentenced to death they were just kept in a cell till they died and if there was a group they would keep them there till they all died. One lady asked why they just didn’t shoot them. No reply was given but I passed on the information I had heard before that it was economics and they considered it a waste of powder and shot.
Not pretty but a sign of how brutal those times were.
I met the first of the Dragoman trucks here and they were on their way to drop off the tour. Apparently a few will not miss each other, surprise surprise!
Off then to Cape Coast and I arrived at the Oasis Beach Lodge. This has seen better days but it looks like the current owner is trying to work on the upkeep and various works were in progress. The food is pretty decent and prices not outlandish. I indulge a little and have the mixed grill which is very tasty even if I have never seen a hot dog cooked that way before………….
Wednesday 18th March 09 Cape Coast.
Yesterday I made an attempt to use the internet and today’s attempt is just as frustrating. I finally manage to get a couple of blogs but there is no chance on photos. I met a bag seller called John outside and he is pleased that I remember his name. The bizarre story of the day is almost the same as I experienced in Russia when it was still U.S.S.R.. I went to buy a couple of items in a large store and the girl by the products gave me a ticket with the stock numbers of the items on it. I took this and the goods to the cash desk where the details were punched in and I paid. I then had to show the receipt to the lady all of 2ft away to get a carrier bag, then I was stopped by the shop security a whole 3ft further away and asked for my receipt which he stamped. All this and there were no other customers anywhere near. Quite strange but typical of the sort of slow bureaucracy that is a leftover from British colonial rule. The paperwork has remained in the past. Marc (French family) calls, they are in Ghana. We arrange to meet at Kokrobite near Accra tomorrow. I spoil myself here with the lobster dish which needs 4 lobster as they are so small. Off to bed early to the strains of a bad Gospel choir taking over where the Muslims left off in keeping me awake!
Thursday 19th March 09 Off to Big Millys
I head off early and am quite soon at the famous Big Millys (or Wendys). It is a bit of a Rasta place. I meet Marc and family and we talk a few bits of business before relaxing ready to move tomorrow to the other side of Accra and negotiations with shipping companies in Tema. Gerald the trucker is here. Small world, he goes home Saturday. Late in the day a small woman probably around late 50’s to early 60’s introduces herself as big Milly. She is tiny. It turns out she started off in Ludlow, Shropshire. She then went to London and on to Ghana when she married a Ghanaian. She asked if I knew Dennis Rollins as she knows him from her days when she ran a place in Camden. I sent him a text with her best wishes. Round the corner there is a place run by an Aussie guy. Guess who was there? Roo. We hear from Kevin and Lorraine who are now also in Ghana. We arrange our move for tomorrow telling them we will be in touch when we have a suitable meeting place. I eat at the restaurant which serves good food but seems to wait for all the clients before any food comes out even though we all have different times for our food when we order. Food is good and okay for price and I then settle in for an early night. Before I forget, today’s strange encounter. I go to top up my phone and the young man asks the usual questions about where I am from. He then asks if I have children and when I say know proceeds to tell me I should and I must think about it as there is joy in family. He becomes annoying particularly as he is 20 and has no wife or children and is telling me what I should do even though I tell him several times that I have thought about these things. He asks if my Mother is worried about me not having children but seems not to consider it a covering option that some of my siblings have children.It is nice for people to be interested but not for them to try and tell you how to live your life. I am pleased when another customer arrives as I slope off while he isn’t looking.
Friday 20th March 09 To Tema
We set off early today to try and get the ball rolling on the shipping. We negotiate the roads through Accra and get to the harbour area but have no idea where the agents may be. Where we pull up there is a guy in a new pickup and I take a punt and ask if he knows where the shipping agents are. He turns out to know about shipping and takes us under his wing so thank you Mr Francis Kofi Donkor. He takes us on a trip round the shipping lines and we have a quote for a container but need to get clearance quotes for each end. The kids are getting tired in spite of having a little more space as Hugo is my navigator for the day. We head for a waypoint I have called Comme Ici. We leave the family there and Marc and I head into Tema again to try and get this side sorted. Kev and Lorraine turn up as we are heading out. I hope that they will look for an alternative while we are away as the site is very poor. The journey back in is smooth and I leave Marc to go in and do the talking. They will come back to us with a quote on Monday so we are now to sit and wait out the weekend. On our way back we spot a supermarket and pick up a few provisions. It is expensive but I decide to treat us to desert and get some ice cream. We check put alternative places to stay and get a message from Kev to say they have booked in somewhere and we can park up and camp for free. We head to drop Marc off with his family. On the way we pass a small youth brass group having a practise. I return after dropping Marc off and have a bit of fun with the group. It is one of the few musical encounters so far.
We arrive at the hotel and set up then go to the outside restaurant for dinner. The menu is quite large but only about 4 items are actually available and we ask for about 4 dishes before we give up and ask what they actually have. They also have no running water as the nearby mine blew up the water pipeline by mistake!!!. It is a crazy continent. After dinner I head to bed.
Saturday 21st March 09 Pram Pram
I am woken at 5 am by people making a big party noise on the way to church. What can you do? The rest of the day is quite lazy and I do internet stuff which is only charged in complete units of 1 hour. I cook the chicken I bought yesterday at lunch as I need to use it and Marc has invited me to eat with them tonight. There is football on the TV and I watch a little of the Newcastle, Arsenal game. I also get lots of bites and have a relatively uncomfortable night with itching. There are some strange characters coming and going and I am sure it is a bit of a knocking shop but this is normal in African hotels. No real news today so I’ll get this one sent off and carry on tomorrow.