Ghana Travel Stories, Page 3

I am Pretty Set in my Ways

"You have your way. I have my way.
As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

I am pulling your strings, it is impossible for a Hobo to become pretty set in his or her ways, because the way I used to do it was left at the last bus stop. The world traveler one day accepts the old ways are "gone with the wind."

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This is Kellie; she is the daughter of Maria who manages the Las Palmas Hotel in Grand Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire.

I am afraid, that Cote d’Ivoire --- my Ivory Coast, the culture I knew and loved is gone with the wind.

Ghana, West Africa --- Saturday, April 2, 2011

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A little girl in Port au Prince, Haiti, this building collapsed in the earthquake, the place where she is standing is no more, and it is gone with the wind. I am not sure, is my friend alive or dead?

Today is Tomorrow
I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.
-- Scarlett, in the movie "Gone with the Wind"
Today is tomorrow in Ghana for my friend Bah, she can no longer think about it tomorrow, she is thinking about Cote d’Ivoire today.

On Wednesday, she talked by cell phone with her sister inside Cote d’Ivoire, and was told that the Alassane Ouattara rebels had removed the windows and doors from her mother’s home. Bah started to cry, it was the first time she truly cried since the rebels stole her mothers home. A month earlier, the Alassane Ouattara rebels took Bah’s mothers home, with all of Bah’s clothing, possessions, and the Certificate of Graduation, what was Bah’s, is now possessed by the rebels.

I asked her,
"Why are the windows so important?"
Bah says,
"Without the windows and doors, I can never live in that house again."

Cote d’Ivoire a.k.a. Ivory Coast
But as some countries open up, others shut down.
Paul Theroux - New York Times

My friend Ray contacted me on Yahoo Messenger, pointing out this link. It was a pleasant and ironic interruption, sometimes life has too many paths, and sometimes we need pointed the way.

To be releases around May 1, 2011 or something like that…

The Tao of Travel
Paul Theroux has written another book, "The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments From Lives on the Road," which will be published in May by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

OK OK OK Paul I see the Sign
I am holed up in a room here in Mampong, Ghana, with a Cote d’Ivoire girl; I have vowed not to leave until I finish my first book. There are people who point the way, we are not obliged to follow, however, wise and well-traveled Hobo knows, it is best to observe all signs along the way.

Kumasi Market inside Bus Terminal

Camptown Race
I am lying in bed, Bah is walking around the room, suddenly she starts to hum and sing a few lines from the song below. Now, the world is a small place, it can even be considered lonely, but how does a girl from Cote d’Ivoire know this song is way beyond the reach of my imagination.

I am Pretty Set in my Ways

Living on a Budget is a Lonely Planet

Please, I challenge you, stand up and say,
"I am cheap."


Stand up and say,
"I’m a big spender."

"OK" is the most common word on the planet.
Calling a person "cheap" is the most common insult on the planet.
Saying, "I am poor" is the most common complaint on the planet.
Wanting to be a "big spender" is the most common goal on the planet.

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Méchant is the word Cheap in French
This translations of cheap into French explains how people view people who are cheap.

Cheap in French:
(normal) pas cher; (nasty) méchant; (mean) pingre

Ghana, West Africa --- Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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Math Skills + Common Sense = Travel Budget

Living on a Budget is a Lonely Planet,
Travel Budgets by Country

We sold our first photo today for 25 US Dollars, this is great news for the company of Boy Genius from India made the photo sales system, then Jane from the Philippines labeled it, which allowed the photo to be indexed by the search engines.
Ruby Roasted Clay

What that means, is somebody searching for Ruby Roasted Clay could find the page, and for some reason decided to purchase.

Thank you, Boy Genius and Jane, this is good work.

What is size bus is becoming the standard size on planet?

Living on a Budget is a Lonely Planet

The Luxury Lifestyle in Ghana

The main reason I live outside the USA is for the life of luxury. I often wonder if I will become like my friends and family in the future, will I sit around worried about doctors? The majority of my friends over 50 are afraid to live more than one-hour from their doctor.

This is Jonathon, a young man who carried a heavy bag of purified water to our Hotel room, this luxury cost 30 cents U.S.

I like to live in luxury, it took me a long time to learn how to use money in luxurious ways, but this photo is good example of me living the life of luxury. My parents are old, they need the conveniences I experience on a daily basis, and now take for granted.

I call this a luxury, because it is by definition a luxury, it is non-essential, it is an indulgence, a convenience that makes my life better.

Ghana, West Africa --- Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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How much does luxury cost?
I have worked hard all my life, I have made some bad decisions, however for the last 13 years of my life, I have made some great ones.

This air conditioned microbus cost four dollars, for the four hour trip from Cape Coast to Kumasi, Ghana.

Watching movies can be Luxury
Bah my Ivory Coast girlfriend is good at being lazy, it comes naturally to Africans. It is part of the the culture and custom here to sit around doing as little as possible, she does not feel guilty.

Yesterday, I said, let us watch a movie, she wanted to watch,
"Indiana Jones."
She knows I am from the state of Indiana, and thought it was a movie about Indiana, I let her believe this, because time is of no value here.

So we watched "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Bah cannot understand English movies, so I downloaded the French subtitles using a recommendation from Craig of This site is the easiest to use, with the least amount of confusion.

She really like the first movie, so a little while later we watched,
"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

Many people watch movies instead of working or doing chores, while me and Bah watched movies for something to do, because we are not busy. I believe the primary goal of all humans should be to have a surplus of free time.
Take a look at the photo of Jonathon above, and ask these questions,

Why did Andy take his photo?
Why did Andy know his name?
Why is this entertaining to Andy?

The answer is simple, I have the luxury of time, I have the freedom and the time to learn the names of people around me, it is a luxury you deserve.

The Luxury Lifestyle in Ghana

Travel Must be an Escape to a Better Life

Encouraging people towards a better life is responsible, encouraging you to endure torture is irresponsible.

Change is a horrible experience, I have been watching the face of Bah, she is in agony and pretends she is not. She left her home in Ivory Coast, took a bus to Ghana and is living in a Hotel; the last week has been torture. Maybe I should say, she is on vacation, or traveling, I have encouraged her to travel and I feel bad. I encouraged her to move to a better situation, for a better life. It always feels the same to me, today she is still in agony, she needs to stay in one place for a week, and if her life is truly better, she will be grateful.

There is a war in Ivory Coast, and she is happy to leave, however, I until she stops moving, adapts, the travel equation is still lopsided.

Best Travel Movies?
I have an area on this site where I write about travel movies, a few minutes ago, I realized how prejudiced and biased my list is, there is little objectivity, and the list assumes you love travel.
Best Travel Movies

I would guesstimate, the Chevy Chase or National Lampoon's Vacation series alone, which portrays travel as constant problems was more popular than my whole list of movies. I try to separate and explain that travel is both good and bad, however normally travel is lumped as one, as if travel life is always good, while in reality there are three aspects to travel.
National Lampoon's Vacation series

Three Parts of Travel

1. The time it takes to travel to the destination. (BAD)
2. The time it takes to adapt to the new destination. (BAD)
3. The enjoyment of the destination. (GOOD)

3 > 1 + 2

Ghana, West Africa --- Monday, March 28, 2011

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The Travel Equation

3 > 1 + 2

The enjoyment of the destination needs to outweigh the negatives of the emotional pain of the trip there, and adapting to the new location. Translated, a one-week trip to Thailand from the USA could be the worst week of your life.

Bah purchased four bars of soap in Cape Coast, this is a Rubik’s Cube moment for me. I asked her again today,
"Why did you buy four bars of soap?"
She replied,
"Long time."

I believe this to mean, she wants to guarantee we have soap for a long time. Now please try to understand, Bah’s first language is French. Therefore, I talk with Bah 75 percent of the time in English and when I want to be sure she understands, I talk in French. This means I am never positive I understand her, especially when asking simple questions. I have been asking too many questions for years, and I know people do not enjoy trying to justify or explain their small decisions. I used to believe that everyone thought about decisions, however now I believe 90 percent of decisions are reactions to temptations, and only 10 percent were well thought out.

I believe she had the money, was tempted, and purchased enough soap that she would never feel insecure. She likes this soap, and I believe she wanted to feel safe, four bars made her feel safe, and I am happy, she feels affluent.

Three Ghana People have Called
I have not used my Ghana SIM card for three weeks, within the first two days of turning on the cell phone again three people in Ghana called me. I know they do not read the Blog, therefore this was almost eerie in nature, and do these people sit around calling numbers for something to do?

How many Parasites in Ghana Water?
There bags of drinking water in Ghana was tested.

Seventy-seven percent of the samples contained infective stages of pathogenic parasitic organisms. Common pathogens identified include, Microsporidia sp 14/27 (51.2%), Cryptosporidium parvum 17/27 (63.0%), Cyclospora cayetenensis 16/27 (59.3%), Sarcocystis sp. 18/27 (66.7%). Rotifers 5/27 (18.5%), and Charcoat Leyden crystals 12/27 (44.4%). Ninety-three percent of the samples contained unidentified impurities/artifacts. 29.6% of the samples contained at least one type of parasite, 14.8% contained at least 2 types of parasites, 25.9% contained at least three types of parasites, while 29.6% contained four types of parasites.

Travel Must be an Escape to a Better Life

Am I in Love with a Pretty Face in Ghana

I published my second Podcast today, recording answers to questions is a bigger challenge than I anticipated. I can write the Blog, or type on the computer anywhere, while to record my voice, the room needs to be quiet, and the bigger problem, I must be happy and ready to talk. I like to type in the morning around 6:00 am, however I am not ready to talk until about 9:00 am. Nonetheless, I will soon develop a rhythm and rhyme to my day until this feels normal, and not awkward.

Today’s Question - Five best places in Central and South America to spend 6-12 months?
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Am I in love with a pretty face in Ghana?

A pretty face does not easily sway me, however this pretty face I am traveling falls in love with things that are pretty. It is difficult to be practical when your partner wants to buy frivolous items, I am glad this is an African and not an American girl. 90 percent of the things she looks at cost less than five dollars, while an American girl would have a five with a zero on the end.

"But I don't want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe."

- Billy Joel
I want to thank all the concerned friends and readers who have written me personal e-mails warning me to be careful with Bah. I do not want anyone to think I am ignoring you, or that I have "lost the plot."

There are a few types of warnings,

1. She wants a Visa to America.
2. She wants your money.
3. What does she give to you?
4. Do you want a girlfriend?
5. She is trapping you.

I am receiving about three e-mails per day or comments like this, they make me feel insecure and vulnerable, I am fully aware that if everyone around you tells you are crazy, maybe you should listen. I decided to ask Bah again,
"Do you want to go to America?"
She looks at me as if I am stupid,
"Why would I go to America, I do not want to go."
"Why do you keep asking?"

This is a rice cooker; I took the photo in Taiwan.

Yes, I am having a huge problem with infatuation, but nothing to do with me, Bah is a sucker for a pretty face. A good marketing presentation and she wants to buy, this is a horrible characteristic for a traveler, but she is not a traveler, and wants nothing to do with travel. What she wants is this, an apartment with a kitchen and something she can say is hers.

Believe it or not, I had to sit around and listen to a sales pitch about a rice cooker. I wanted to find an electric hot plate, and in typical Ghana fashion, the store started showing us a rice cooker, which is about the same as crock-pot, this thing is too big to carry in a backpack.

Africa culture is the king of bad decisions, however, the more money a person has, the bigger the bad decision. Therefore, the USA citizens are the ones who buy a house they cannot afford, while Africans may buy a rice cooker, with no electricity in their home.

Ghana, West Africa --- Sunday, March 27, 2011

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360 Square Foot Apartment in Ghana
I looked at an apartment in Senegal for 60 dollars per month, it was smaller than our Hotel room here in Ghana, however,
"It was called an apartment."

Bah told me,
"I want an apartment."

We are in a room that is 12 X 30 feet, there is 360 square foot of floor space, and this includes the shower.

Included in Hotel, but not included in apartment.

2 double beds
2 lounge chairs
Ceiling fan
Large freestanding closet
Desk chair
Coffee table
Eating table

I have to be careful here, she wants to hear the word "apartment," or maybe "house," while all I care about is being comfortable. After moving into roughly 1000 Hotel rooms, it is second nature for me to make a good choice for a Hotel room; I can find the best room and value quickly.

When I enter a hotel room, I am trying to decide if the room is good enough for month, while she is only thinking about one night, she is still in tourist mode.

You are crazy,
I waved at people from the window of our bus as we passed, Bah says,
"You are crazy, you say hello to everyone…
You say hello to everyone.
You are crazy."

This is a crazy comment about Syria.
I was reading Yahoo news, and I am always amazed how naïve writers are, they believe that people that have never known, or lived in a democracy can somehow want a democracy, it is not possible to want what you do not know.
What are the protesters' grievances?

Like their counterparts in Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries in the region, the protesters want democratic reforms--for instance, more freedom for political parties--as well as a more open press, an end to corruption and cronyism, increased economic opportunities, and stronger constitutional rights.

- Syria on Yahoo News
Am I in Love with a Pretty Face in Ghana

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Listening to Bah in Ghana

On my last trip home to Indiana to visit friends and family, I asked Mike, a close friend a question,
"Have I changed because of my travels?"
He said,
"Yes, Andy you have become intolerant of annoyances, if there is a problem you leave."

The Travel Myth Dispelled
That was not the answer I wanted to hear, however, it was the answer I wanted to hear.

I wanted to hear this romantic answer,
"Andy, you have become kinder, wiser, since you started travel you have become content and happy, you are a better person."

Mike gave me what I wanted, an honest opinion, not some hokey, make-me-happy-lie that would give me a warm feeling until I realized it was a lie. Mike was a good friend, he told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. I am grateful to have Mike as a friend.

Ghana, West Africa --- Thursday, March 24, 2011

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What my friends want from me?
My friends want me to listen to them and to be entertained, they want to hang out together and share the good times. They want me to assist them in being happy; normally this is a long list of ways to help them.

I have been listening to my friend Bah, and needed to say to her last night,
"Bah, you want many things."
"What are you going to do for me?"

Why I came to Ghana?
My came to Ghana for one reason, I wanted to stop worrying about Bah. After a lot of thinking and deliberating, introspection and weighing the pros and cons.

I then inserted this problem into the "Serenity Prayer."

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
. I use the Serenity Prayer as a way of making decisions.

I want to stop worrying that Bah would die in the war in Ivory Coast.

Can I change Bah situations, and stop worrying?
Or do I need to accept the situation?

I had the wisdom to know that by coming to Ghana, Bah would leave Ivory Coast and be safe, and I could end my worry. Bah is out of Ivory Coast, my worry has stopped, I have achieved my selfish goal. It cost me about 1000 US Dollars to stop worrying whether Bah was going to be killed, and some time, I have an overabundance of time, however the money is tight.

How did I convince Bah to come to Ghana?
It was extremely easy, I just said I was returning to Ghana, and she came. However, as I type this, I realize there was an implied offer to Bah.
"I will take care of you."
"I will supply enough money."
"Maybe I will marry you."
(Do not be anal here, by returning I am saying that option is on the table.)
"Maybe I can give Bah a half-white baby."

I have been listening to Bah for the last day, and she wants to collect on here list of wants, dreams and wishes.

Did Bah want to leave Ivory Coast because it was dangerous?
I think the answer was no, she wanted to leave only if her life became easier, it had little to do with danger. Danger is an amazing thing, people block it from their minds, and they refuse to accept it exists, in spite of all the evidence.

1. The Allasane rebels killed her uncle.
2. The Allasane rebels took her mothers home.
3. Gbagbo closed all the banks and there is no money to live.
4. Normal people have set up roadblocks very few miles, they carry big clubs and if a cars to not give them money, they will beat or kill them.

I looked at this way, she was standing on the railway tracks, a train was coming and I decided to run and tackle her so she was off the tracks.

New Danger Story
The Allasane rebels sent a letter to the chief in the village where the mother and father of Bah lives. It said, more or less you must leave the village, we are coming and will kill you. Bah said to me, her mother says no, she is tired of walking.

I said,
"Please call your mother and say goodbye."

Listen to First Question and Answer Talk Show

Bah Arrives in Ghana from Ivory Coast

Bah arrived in Ghana from Ivory Coast yesterday,
"A day late." (She did not show up the day we agreed.)
"Three hours late." (She did not leave the next day as agreed.)

I am not sure where to start, or what to say, real life is full of small lies that can turn into big lies, and on rare occasions a person learns is an obstruction to love. My friend Bah is on the wrong path, I told her when she arrived,
"I do not want to listen to lies on the telephone."

I do not care if people lie to me, I wait on them, I expect them to lie to me, it is the normal human condition. I just had a chuckle, the Ten Commandments is a list of the ten things humans do on a daily basis, and telling us to stop doing them. These commandments are not the rare issues of humans; they are the normal day-to-day sins of humans.
(Six is not normal.)

I live one day at a time, my first goal is to be a good boy all day, and then after I know I am behaving, maybe I try to do something.

If we have more we will be happy.
Last night Bah says,
"I want a house, I do not want to live in a Hotel."

I can feel the challenge; there is an implied request,
"Make me happy."
I thought about it, and when she wakes up, I will say,
"Go find a furnished one for 150 dollars per month, with no deposit."

The average person in Ghana pays about 30 US Dollars per month for their apartment, if they are not living in their parents homestead. Therefore, I am offering to live five times better than normal, but for half the price of the Hotel.

I am sad, I did a quick inventory of all my friends, I do not have one friend that I believe is content, they want, a never ending list of wants, and this list includes my family.

Ghana, West Africa --- Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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Eat Pray Love becomes number six of the "Best Travel Movies"

I watched the movie "Eat Pray Love," I enjoyed it, my friend Mark had warned me,
"It’s a Chick Movie." (Chic or Chick? Which is correct?)

It was good, it would be entertaining to know the percentage of divorces that could be directly related to married girls watching this movie, I am positive there are many.

il dolce far niente
Eat Pray Love, is generally entertaining, and I have already forgotten most, the only lasting memory I want to keep in long-term memory is this phrase offered up by the movie.
"il dolce far niente."

I would translate:
"The feeling of sweetness experienced, when we can accept that it is ok to do nothing."

I want the USA people include this as one option or choice…

My friend Bill in the USA used to say,
"I am catching up on my nothings."
The Bible says to rest on the seventh day; it does not say we MUST go shopping. The word must, need, have too, etc. are the problem words.

Doing Nothing is the Goal of Andy Graham
I am not sure when I realized this was my goal, I think it was after a friend of my bragged that he worked 14 hours per day for the last month. My sister April said one time,
"We work so we can go play."
"We do not play, so we can go work."

Work is an annoying thing that disrupts my ability to enjoy life, I accept that I need to work, but it is not the most important thing in my day.

Hmm, people work 14 hours per day, I thought to myself,
"Yes, you are very very very stupid, you are not smart, a truly smart person could make a million working two hours per day."

I sometimes think I avoid Americans, they want me to feel guilty for doing nothing, while the underdeveloped countries like Ghana do nothing all day, without a single feeling of guilt. I believe that happiness has little to do with work; it is just the cessation of guilt that allows the remainder to be happy.

Note: The book the 4 Hour Work Week is the analogous book to Eat, Pray, Love, but for men, they both are fantasy based, and unrealistic, a temporary belief, the promise, that an average person can live a dramatic life, at the end both are selling the soap opera.

Page Explaining American Guilt.

Best Travel Movies

Internet Radio Talk Show with Andy is Coming
I told Boy Genius he needed to get something on the table; I have all the pieces of this puzzle and hope to put it together today.
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Bah Arrives in Ghana from Ivory Coast

2011 March 21 left Senegal entered Ghana

I am in Cape Coast, Ghana, Bah my girlfriend did not show up yesterday, She picked up the Western Union money at about 10:00 AM in Elubo, Ghana. She called me at 6:00 pm and said the van broke down, and there were no others all day. Blah Blah Blah Bah…

I left Senegal where the locals treated me with indifference, as if my presence in the country annoyed them. Ghana has many problems, however on the Richter Friendliness Scale, it is way above Senegal. Ghana is about a 7-8 on the friendly scale, while Senegal is a 3, they are not really unfriendly, they just are not there, a nothing. However, Ghana has some radical pain in the butt men who sometimes believe they are God but the majority of people are great.

Journalizing is so unfair, one bad apple, one bad person can make a country come across as horrible. However, it would be ridiculous to ignore my feelings when writing in my diary. I have had months to complain about Ghana because I stayed "in country," however, as you can see I fled Senegal after 15 days, enough was enough in many ways. We do not leave places we like, even if we are complaining, leaving is the ultimate complaint. Returning means there is something good about the place, even if at a conscious level is seems difficult to know.

Love is never leaving, it is a lack of action, the inability to stop, it is a good addiction, and when you are ‘in country" you feel stronger.

I debarked the plane in Accra, Ghana, cleared customs, airports generally suck on planet earth, therefore, nothing worth talking about. I took a taxi to the Kaneshie Market for 20 Cedis and entered an Air Conditioned "Ford" vans to Cape Coast for 8 Cedis.

The girl above came to sell me a sachet of water for 5 pesetas, then she stayed to watch. I needed to call Bah in Ivory Coast, therefore I had already purchased a five Cedi MTN prepaid card. I was in the process of trying to scratch off the area that covers the code, the pleasant girl took the card, helped me scratch it, then loaded the credit onto my cell phone. I was happy, the directions are in about number 6 font, too hard to see for me.

I kept admiring her, truly a beautiful girl, the photos makes her look bad, but in reality she was a small girl, maybe 16 or 17, just becoming a big girl. It felt warm to have someone pay attention to me, nobody in Senegal cared, I was amazed at the coldness of the manager of the Auberge Via Via, she was a queen ice cube, all the right manners, but nothing there, a zero, truly without a soul.

This "Small Girl" had a soul, she was nice, when I say "Small Girl," I am more or less saying not ready to get married age. I gave her one Cedi, in one swoop she made 20 times what she could make selling one bag of water.

I have an ear for souls, I instinctively feel the good souls around me and avoid the bad ones, I am always amazed when other travelers talk with souless people, this is very dangerous.

Ghana, WestAfrica --- Monday, March 21, 2011


I am in Ghana, I keep thinking about a reader who wanted me to give Senegal a chance, maybe outside of Dakar the people are culturally better. However, if a person visiting New York did not like it, they could not come to Indiana and suddenly like the people of the USA better. Yes, Indiana is a little warmer, but not radically, foreigners generally cannot suss out the small nuance.

Cultures change at the borders of countries, cultures change when the language changes, the culture changes with religions. Indiana was in a way a country, then it because a state, but all is blurred now. It is a lot of work to look for good in people, it is much easy to say, this is not obviously a nice and warm culture, then leave, there is no obligation to give a country a chance, this truly does not obey the "prime directive of travel."

Ghana is obviously friendlier, engaging, wants to talk, smiles, and generally overall a better place to visit than Senegal,

Wiping Butt in Senegal

2011 March 21 left Senegal entered Ghana