I guestimate it would take 9.2 hours to get to Elubo, I am still 3-4 hours away and I have already used 9.5 hours getting to Takoradi.
I left Mampong at 7:30, arrived in Takoradi at five in the afternoon, the four hours of waiting at the bus station in Kumasi is what causes the delay. The bus stop is interesting; there is a never-ending supply of activity.
Takoradi, Ghana West Africa --- Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I did not get an early start because the electricity was off; I needed to wait until the sun rose to pack. However, the Video City Hotel at 10-15 Cedis, about 8-10 Dollars is truly great. I paid Apia the reception guy one Cedi to carry my back the 150 yards to the Tro Tro Station. (Vans). A taxi is only two Cedis, about 75 cents USD.
It has taken me 10 years to finally just pay people to carry things; it took me 10 years before my Macho, I-do-not-pay-for-help exterior came off. Hard to say what happened, but having Sciatica in my spine makes me know that 75 cents is worth the money. I am still stronger than most people around me, but one wrong twist and my left leg has shooting pain for days. It is getting better all the time, but needs another two years. I have a ripped muscle in the lower back.
The cost from Mampong to Kumasi was 1.5 Cedis or One US Dollar. I have been learning to buy the front two seats, double the price and pay two dollars and you can control a couple of essential problems. One is air, I can always have fresh air, the second is smells, West Africans shower good, but that occasional stinker can cause hours of emotional pain with body odor. I can take photos easier through the front passenger window. The down side is this seat is the most dangerous, the drivers usually have the music up, and I get to watch the constant tailgating by the driver.
While I am writing about it, I purchased the front seat of the Van ride from Kumasi to Takoradi, the man passed another car and sideswiped with the mirrors.
This van mirror folded back to the van when the driver hit another car, I had to push it back into place. The lower small mirror is now broken, generally the Ghana Tro Tro are always following too close trying to pass because the normal road between cities is only two lanes. If I owned a car, there would be the same problem, but in reverse, they would be tailgating the car I would drive, so there is no way to stop this problem. The most dangerous activity traveling is being in any car, the safest is a train, followed by being in the back of a full size bus.
There are signs on the Ghana coastal road that tells you how many people were killed.
I often ask myself why I do not feel scared, sitting in the front seat of a van while in a line of cars passing with head-on traffic coming, then hitting another car is a recipe for a 10 car accident. The drive was going about 75 mile per hour when he could, then would constantly need to slow down for slower car, then pass with nerves of steel or no brain, one of the two.
I feel my life is complete, if I die, I die, no reason to worry. I am not sure how I feel about this, worry and fear is something done by people who listen to other people. I listen to my own advice first; I rely on my own opinion and only slightly care what other say. Generally, to be afraid, I would need to buy into the fears of the world. I think the world is petty; therefore, I do not listen to the opinions of the world. I will listen to one person, who I know and can weigh with better accuracy.
I want to show this video before I forget, Dorothy a very intelligent eight-year-old girl in Mampong made a request, "Please bring some white children to Ghana."
Empathizing with her, I thought, she is right, the world is so afraid of Africa; there is almost no average people here in Ghana. Generally, only the project workers or NGO’s trying to save the world and cannot save himself or herself, there is a skewed representation of people here in Ghana. The American Black close to refuse to come to Africa like it is an insult to remember or be associated with Africa, I ask many Black American to come, and the answer is normally,
Walk from Mampong Van to Takoradi Van
The Mampong drive told me I needed to go to the next bus station to catch a van to Takoradi, he said I needed to walk there was no van. I am not sure how far I walked; maybe three quarters of a mile, when I arrived my T-shirt was soaked with sweat.
The problem is this, there are maybe 300 to 500 vans loading, there is maybe 5-8 different van parks, each park is going to a different area. The Ghana people will help, but truly are not sure themselves where the vans are, and are more than willing to guess and point anywhere. It makes you want to slap people, giving me wrong directions is a horrible feeling, this is normal for most countries, no sense of truly help, just talk.
There does not seem to be any people working as supervision for the Kumasi Bus Station, so it is just wander around until a person finally finds the correct stop. I probably asked 50 people before I finally arrived. It is organized, but there is no way to understand the organized system until after you would come to the bus station maybe 10 times, so a zero benefit system for a tourist.
This next video was funny to me; I was trying to walk in an area that was not wide enough for the width of my backpack. I got trapped in by cars, and needed to walk between two vendors areas, the one had underwear hanging up, I asked the lady to help, she said something like,
"You want me to help?"
I think the processing of thoughts is lost; there was an implied threat by me,
"I am going to walk through, either help or watch things fall."
I do not think anything fell, but I did not look back to check, and truthfully do not care, if a person will not help themselves, so be it.
Joseph owner of Video City Conversation
Joe the owner of Video City Hotel in Mampong lived in England for six years, and is truly a wealth of wisdom on explaining Ghana in an interesting and enlightening way, he said to me:
T.I.A. --- This Is Africa
He said also,
"Ghana makes many rules, laws and has no intention of enforcing."
"A policeman will stop an overloaded truck that is in danger of going over the side of a mountain corner and killing the driver. The fine the driver and send him on his way, with full knowledge the person can be killed. Great, they fined him, but they did not solve the problem."
Joseph traveled to many African countries, when you experience and suffer from silly situations long enough; you become clear of the contradictions. Making rules in a place where nobody obeys the rules is frustrating, I am not from Ghana, and it would take 50 years to understand what is acceptable, the easy way it to just ignore them. The Peace Corps people leave and try to never look back… The Ghana people, who immigrate to another country, look back and pretend it was perfect, never accepting there was a reason they left and living abroad. I cannot allow comments on videos because of the nasty things they write.
Joseph from Ghana said,
"Patronize me, lie to me, or I will get angry."
Note, this is mildly dangerous to write and show in real time, I have received many threats in the past. The best place to hide money is in a book. (Joe)
Your Not Allowed
I cut the next video recording off right before a man came up and said,
"Do not take videos, it is not allowed."
If in doubt about rules, make them up as you go, always works for me. Change happens when we see something we do not want other to see become public, the newspapers and television news is slowly cleaning up the planet, as people clean up their dirty laundry.
I think West Africa may have some of the cutest, warmest and friendliest children on the planet. This is how it works, I look around, I hold my hand out, and they will come and hold my hand. Sometime they are nervous, so I just look away, this boy was brave.
I took about five photos of him, they are on the photos. He just continued to put his small little hand on my large hand. They will often touch the hair on my legs and call me a monkey; Black Africans see hair as a monkey, so I am a monkey, fun stuff, but always pushing the Political Correct, too-stupid-for-words envelope. We have some great conversations; the only one where I get very strict is when they call me "Master." I stop this and say it is unacceptable under any condition; I am Mr. or Sir, never Master or Boss.
I spent four hours waiting for the Van to Takoradi to fill up, I think there is a South Market, and in hindsight, a taxi there would have been maybe a good idea.
Nothing to do, time to make another video, just trying to show the experience. The majority of travelers in Africa drive cars; they miss Africa, sort of like this,
"Go hang out with the rich folk and pretend the masses do not exist."
A long day and lot of typing today. I will hang out for another day in Takoradi before going to Elubo, I think all the hotels in Elubo are worst than camping.
I love Africa
Africa is alive, vibrant and a joy to travel, it is sad to me, that a place so safe can have some simple problem to solve and does not. I believe investments would be 10 times great in Africa if they would allow Visas on arrival. Then the backpackers would come, their parents would follow when they realized it was safe, some boy would marry a Ghana girl and invest.
Africa is changing fast, but we still have leaders like the present situation in Cote d’Ivoire. It to me is the best place for Backpackers on the planet, the only place that does not feel like a tourist trap, something natural and real, but it will not last more than another 5-10 years, then it will be sold to the tourist industry. (Congo, DRC?)
I made it Takoradi Ghana in Nine Hours from Mampong