Ghana Travel Stories, Page 21

Travelers Reprieve

Travelers Reprieve
Cape Coast Ghana
Saturday, August 19, 2006

Reprieve, I wish to use this word, a reprieve is a temporary relief from harm or a postponement of punishment. Traveling is punishment, banishment sometimes from normal life, like an atonement of my sins only granted if I can also endure the punishment.

I am granted the right to travel, because I agree to accept and pay the price, I am punished along the path; I have to run a gauntlet of hardships. If I will enter the gauntlet, keep my complaints to a minimum, I can continue, if they overwhelm my spirit, I will need to go home. Many persons recommend I go home and stop traveling when I am blogging complaints for too long, however they do not see, as I do that this is the enduring nature of travel, it is gauntlet ran through hardships to pay the price of entering the game.

I am not clear in my mind why I feel the word reprieve today, maybe because I know here in Cape Coast I have internet, I can stop worrying for a day. I was also able to purchase two large economy size, hunky books to read in English here, and there is hope of replenishing my supply. I am on a 2-3 day cycle of reading books. Every 2-3 days I start a new book, this is fine with me, but carrying the weight is onerous.


Travelers Reprieve


Cape Coast Ghana

Cape Coast Ghana
Friday, August 18, 2006

I am now in Cape Coast Ghana; I arrived from Shama on a small van, maybe called a TroTro for 1200 Cedi. There many obtuse and convoluted names for the same thing on the planet, it becomes tiresome. I am a strange collector, thus I have a list of types of transportations on the planet, and hopefully one day it will be a list with a photo next to it.

The cost to travel with Tro Tro between small cities is less than a bus ride in a major city on the planet. It is cheap, too crowded, cultural, and an experience that defines any country. Traveling with the locals will make you know the country.


Cape Coast Ghana


Africa Instinctual Perceptions

Africa Instinctual Perceptions
Shama Ghana
Thursday, August 17, 2006

I try to figure out or analyze how I make decisions, at best I call it fuzzy logic, somehow taking a bunch of fuzzy situations and clustering them, then deriving a decision where there is no clean, clear decision.

FUZZY LOGIC - I stole from somewhere I read.
- Fuzzy Logic, in computer science, a form of logic used in some expert systems and other artificial-intelligence applications in which variables can have degrees of truthfulness or falsehood represented by a range of values between 1 (true) and 0 (false). With fuzzy logic, the outcome of an operation can be expressed as a probability rather than as a certainty. For example, in addition to being either true or false, an outcome might have such meanings as probably true, possibly true, possibly false, and probably false. - (2)

This is painful for many people, they want one or zero, not maybe situations, they grab on to yes, when the answer is maybe. This can be extremely dangerous as a person headlong commits to yes, they said yes, they cannot turn away from yes, and become no, it is not maybe, the continually move in a maybe and if the situation changes turn to no. I take off to travel today to Cape Coast, if there is a problem, I downsize the option and go to Elmina, I have secondary options, and it is even possible to completely return to Shama. The over-zealous from the Elubo to Cape Coast, leaving at 2:00 in the afternoon as recommended by an American Missionary from Kansas was just a big zero, he said no to any dangers, go straight for tourist zone Cape Coast and avoid danger; however, he radically would increase his chance or my chances if I took this advice. Sounds good, go for a safe city, but I only go to safe city along or with a safe travel plan. Arriving in a new country in a new city after about 10 hours of travel is extremely dangerous; however, he does not even see the train coming, so there is no danger for him. If you cannot see it, does not mean it not there, however until they are hit by the train they will continual to feel safe.

The numbers of times I have had trouble with crime, theft, or whatever is so minimal it is not even a factor in my travels. I worry about forgetting something; this is a bigger real problem. However, I make obviously good decision, the longer I travel without having my whole backpack robbed or the computer, camera or big anything, the more proof is in the pudding.

I trust my instincts, I do not override them, and I obey them before I obey my too logical dangerous thinking brain. It is raining, I am running out of books, I may as well type and talk to myself.


Africa Instinctual Perceptions


Possible to Backpack Africa

Possible to Backpack Africa
Shama Ghana
Thursday, August 17, 2006

Is it possible that West Africa become some new South America backpacker trip, sometimes I think?
- Yes for sure. -
Then I think,
- Hmm, I had better be careful, there are some real booby-traps in these countries that does not exist in South America. -

Thailand and Southeast Asia is so safe, hard to have a problem in these areas, thus continually more travelers or tourist dressed like backpacker, now becoming trolley travelers.

Yes, for sure I think as far as this trip proceeds, there is no reason to not take a one circle path I can see and smell.



This above circle, although as presently not traveled by me is tentatively I believe an easy trip. The Visa are quick in Abidjan, with the Visa Entente. I am going to try to sniff a little of Nigeria, the Visa is easy or difficult, who knows. The talk of the danger of Nigeria is rampant; however, I see or hear from many West Africa that Nigeria is modern and rich. It seems to produce a lot of music and leads West Africa in new ideas or movements. Not clear, more of an instinctual perception.

Possible to Backpack Africa


West Africa Moving to City

West Africa Moving to City
Shama Ghana
Thursday, August 17, 2006

The small village of Shama is about one-half hour to one hour from Tokoradi, a city of 250,000 plus. I try to empathize on how a person lives, where they work, how they find a wife, what they do at night to relieve the daily boredoms.

BOREDOM
This may not be the correct word, maybe not the correct way of thinking about this; it may be closer to correct to say,
- Tokoradi is exciting. -

Excitement, mental stimulation, the desire for money, a way to leave the mother and father and have freedom. There are many reasons to move from Shama to Tokoradi, or at least go and work in the city. Fishing is the number one industry in Shama, it is my opinion, and however the farming around here seems scarce.

There is a worldwide fashion, desire; I am not going to say need to move from rural areas to cities. The demographics of population are changing, and it is hard to know when it will reach saturation.

People are trapped when they migrate to the city or another country, their pride says they cannot return, and they burn their bridges, or just do not have enough money to return home. In addition, even if they do return home, the life would never be exciting again, it not necessarily that the excitement was fun or enjoyable, it was even violent and stupid, however it was better than doing nothing, it was different.
Solutions to this migration away from rural is difficult, the only way these people will stay in their small village is if they are offered a job better than they could ever get in the city. Placing factories in cities in many ways destroys the nuclear family and dooms a society to an inner city ghetto. With an overabundance of factories the city thrives, with too few there are bigger ghettos. I tend to think they should put all the large factories in extremely rural areas or the world will slowly become a bigger and bigger ghetto.


West Africa Moving to City


Ghana No Left Hand Waving

Ghana No Left Hand Waving
Shama Ghana
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I had a gentleman last night says, to know the local custom, you should know it is not good to wave with your left; you need to use your right. I had another girl I think confirm this; she did not care, but sort of said, yes better with right hand.

None of this was in that good of English, the English dropped here to the bottom rungs compared to Tokoradi, I am finding only a very few, (the owner of the small grocery ) that speaks English. Most can only say,
- Hello, how are you? -

My guess is most people or travelers do not have the wave problem, as they do not say hello to anyone. I have and always will, usually say high to anyone making eye contact or willing to make eye contact.


Ghana No Left Hand Waving


Shama Ghana

Shama Ghana
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

4500 Cedi from Tokoradi to Shama
Shama is about a one-hour or maybe a little more trip from Tokoradi, it is 15 minutes if you had a car, but by small van or big bus, getting on and off, finding the buses, or whatnot can take longer than the trip.
I paid 4500 Cedi, in an over packed but maybe faster because it did not stop for every person walking by van. I got here and I see a big yellow, very nice bus that says, 3000 flat rate on the bus and it goes directly from Tokoradi to the center of Shama, it does not drop you off on the road 4 Kilometers from the center of Shama. I do not know where this bus came from, but one has a big sign on it, Tokoradi. Big, yellow and modern, the best buses I have seen so far, more of an inner city transit bus than a long-trip with storage bus.

Shama is nice, has a small but in the center, close to water old Portuguese Fort that is nice, quaint, and small village feel. The children fall me around constantly hollering.
- Abroni -
Or White Man in English, but this is the Fanci language, they say Fancy to me, and not Fanti, but that is my hearing.


Shama Ghana


Describing the Neighborhood

Describing the Neighborhood
Shama Ghana
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I am working on my Hobohideout.com project; I need provide a way for people to describe a Hotel, Guesthouse or Room whatever they want to call a place where people sleep.

I guess this is the problem, there are so many ways to describe so many aspects of a hotel it becomes overwhelming.

NEIGHBORHOOD

I am presently in a small city about one-half hour East of Tokoradi, it has the name Shama. Ok, there are maybe three or fours hotels maximum in this little village or town, this is not many, not much selection. Well, one bad choice and I am spending two days of crap instead of two days of cultural enjoyment. I caught myself doing a neighborhood inspection, or really a small city inspection before I rented a room. Strangely, everyone told me to live in the Applause Hotel like it was the only one in town. I do know there is a guesthouse for sure, whatever that means to a Ghana person. There is also suppose to be the Shama Hotel, it cannot be convenient to the water or the Portuguese Fort or I would have walked by it, which does not mean I will not find it and discover it is very convenient, actually, the Applause may be the same, the Shama Hotel and the name has been adjusted.

While on the Island of Anguilla in the Caribbean they had a few extremely expensive Villas they rented, I believe 90 percent through travel agents and the internet. Of course, I guess this is true of most of the Caribbean, however maybe I could say they rented 90 percent over the internet. This means a travel agent, tour operator, or anyone else made no inspection of hotel, the only person who gave a recommendation for this hotel was the hotel.

I saw a few Villa across the street from trashed homes or junk properties, like a big construction or destruction zone. I was laughing, that serves them smart tourist right who always believe that price guarantees a good room.

The neighborhood is more important to me than the hotel, or the location is the most important thing about a hotel. It is amazing how person can choose a Hotel though in the most dangerous location. West Africa or for sure Ivory Coast and Ghana, Niger the only countries I know so far, has a big tourist population that drives cars they own. Most of the tourist may be more of a live in the country and go visit places tourist, like NGOs working here and playing all the time, or in some places you have French Military or United Nations working and playing or going traveling all the time. These people have large Toyota Land Rovers and such, they drive to a Hotel.

I can sense the guidebook writers has access to cars, they could drive around and scope out the neighborhoods and choose hotels that I would consider extremely dangerous to walk to in the night or even in the day, but was not a factor to them, they forgot, I am driving a car, this would be a dangerous walk.

Walking or Driving is major consideration here in Ghana or West Africa, a person has to take great care they do not just blindly follow the guidebook if they do NOT have a car. The higher priced hotels can be dreadfully dangerous on foot and isolated a great target the tourist becomes because criminals like dark and isolated areas to operate. Probably the worst problem would be the constant trying to over-charge or cheat you by the taxi or any transportation. I have learned, if I put my bag on a bus, they are going to try to collect two times the cost of the trip for my bag, I must tell them they are nuts and no, and not even give them the time of day. They are asking for money for nothing, and if I pay, they think they are smart, they like this.

I am in the Applause Hotel here in Shama, cost 75,000 Cedi or 8 U.S. per night, it is nice, quiet and has a fan, the shower is not hot, maybe the more expensive one have the hot water heater connected to the electricity, I do not care, I can cook water for a shower.

The Hotel is just up the street from the Fort, on the edge of the business zone and has a good third floor restaurant bar view of the whole area. I can walk out the hotel and instantly walk to a stand and buy water or some snacks, or in less than 100-200 feet, there seems to be the majority of food places. There is some type of bus or taxi drop safe walk from the hotel. I am inside theā€¦
- There is enough business to be safe zone. -

I can walk around most of the time and someone is watching me that is a neighbor or a good neighbor, there are no troublemakers around watching for opportunities. It is not like there is these trouble makers in Africa, there are less really because there is so few tourist, but there are few big boys looking for trouble.

Shama is exceptionally easy, the only worry may be the Police Station could sit around or try to ask questions to be a pain, they are very close. An American can tend to believe and is prone to believe it is safer to be close to a police station, I have learned I do not get near the Police when I am traveling, they are my biggest danger. I just left Ayame in Cote D-Ivoire because the local police or military ask me questions. I do not stay when the local government wants my numbers, I may have big trouble in Russia.

How to walk around in a neighborhood safely and know you are in a safe area is very difficult, the reason I am working on this for HoboHideout.com is so we can have a questionnaire for the person who already lived in the hotel to answer that can describe the neighborhood.

Sadly this seems to too low on the priority list for the normal tourist, most long term Expats spend a lot of time looking for the good hotel location. Then stupidly they will buy a home or something and leave all their best locations and friends, next thing you know, they want to leave the country because they are not happy.


Describing the Neighborhood