Ghana Travel Stories, Page 7

I do not Need the TV and Fridge in Takoradi, Ghana Hotel

I am on the fourth floor of the Arvo Hotel, I am paying 25 Cedis for a large room, and this is 16.40 USD per day. I am over budget, this room has a TV and Fridge, which I do not need, but I am not going to move to a cheaper room for business reasons. I know works well in this room, and one of the primary reasons to be in Ghana is to make business calls.

Hotel Arvo, it feels like a floozy girls, smugglers hotel.

I am able to do the math in my head, I know 25 Cedis is roughly 15 dollars, I knew I was 10 Cedis over budget when I rented the room. Before I enter a country, I study the money, I get on the currency converter site: Full

Note: I just realized one way to know you are becoming a traveler, if you bookmark the full list of currencies, you are moving outside the tourist bubble. When went to Iraq, I walked off the "Lonely Planet," level of travel, or I went beyond the guidebook.
Are you a Traveler or a Tourist?, I updated this page and add the currency distinction.

Takoradi, Ghana West Africa --- Wednesday, January 26, 2011

--------------------------------- saves me from needing to do the math in my head, but the truth is, I do not need to get on, I just need to know the dollar to local currency rate, I am good at math, people need to know their math abilities, and stop pretending. The problem with currency converters is to find the level that gives a full list of currencies, you know you are a traveler when you use the full list.

I set my high budget, my high budget in Ghana is 25, my target budget is 15, and I am under budget when I pay 10. To stay in budget, a person needs to know their high budget which for me is 25, but that is not what I can afford, it is the budget for Ghana.

When I was in the Caribbean, the high budget was 75 dollars per night, with a goal of 25 dollars per night, but on average, I paid about 50 dollars per day. Africa is expensive compared to all the other cheap countries, therefore staying on a 5-dollar target budget takes more work. What people want is a great room with no work, this is maybe the number one reason why people will never be able to live "Location Independent," it requires work to travel. While at home, they just looked for an apartment one time, while I may need to look and work.

I need to feel I am getting a good value on a Hotel room, there are Hotel rooms that are bargains at 300 dollars per night, hard to find, but they exist. It is location, location, location with benefits, benefits, and benefits. However, paying for benefits you do not need, use or want is rather silly, but a normal thing to do.

Yahoo News is Getting Market Share

Yahoo News is getting a rather large market share of news traffic, I am not sure they deserve it, but they are doing it in a clever way.

When I was in Tela, two rather naïve internet users told me about current news. Both of the people had read an article about the price of an apartment in Central America. They asked me,
"Did you read the article?"
I said,
"No, but I read CNN today, where was the article?"
They could not remember, well the next day, I looked into Yahoo Mail and there is this pop up like the graphics above, and there is the article about Central America Apartments. I ignore pop up look at the Yahoo pop up and my way of paying Yahoo to have free e-mail. They give me a free e-mail account because I agree to look at their advertisements.

Friday I go the Ivory Coast Border Soon
I will make a 2-3 hour trip to the Ghana / Ivory Coast border Friday morning and check into the (Edited Name Out) Hotel again in Elubo. It is humorous, I am looking forward to this Hotel, it has a lot of immigrants a.k.a. smuggler types, people from Nigeria who left Cote d’Ivoire and other strange and nefarious types, the wonderful part of a border city and everything a tourist tries to avoid by staying in expensive hotel. It is getting to grovel around at street level, and know how the other half live, or truly how the 90 percent of Ghana people live normally.

Ghana is a mud hut country about 70 percent of the time then you have some islands where they have more concrete. Because we seek out our comfort zones, many people have a rather blurry eye, rose-colored glass view of a country.

All countries have the Rolex level of money, I first learned this 11 years ago in Managua, Nicaragua, I went to a shopping mall, and there was a Rolex shop. It was dirty, dusty, truly ugly on the bus to the shopping center, and at the end of the road, a Rolex shop with many other expensive stores.

There is a tendency to attribute one standard to the whole country, I try to find the average, and call the country, and the sample needs to exclude the very rich and very poor. Ghana is not poor in my eyes; there are not many places where people are living in squalor. I suppose it exist in the overpopulated Accra, they move there, then complain because they live in squalor, I say to them move back to the village, but they just do not get it.

People moving to highly populated cities is a rat race, they all run for the excitement of the city and never stop to think they are living in insane asylum.

Cynthia Returns
I said I had a 30 percent chance she showed up last time, she showed up. This time I have a 90 percent chance she arrives, and this is good odds. She is my Cote d’Ivoire girlfriend that I like enough to become very angry with; this is a rather strange emotion. I am not familiar with high levels of anger. I am always at a low level of frustration anger in these under-developed countries due to culture fatigue, however I seldom go as high as what a girl can accomplish.

I know this is my responsibility, not hers, maybe my mind has wrapped itself around why I became angry and will deal better this time. There are an unlimited number of small compromises needed to walk down the same path with a lover. No compromise and you will never have love, you will have complete control, maybe take a hostage, but to me love is a continuous compromise with a need to say I am sorry, and the other person saying, they are sorry.

There are people who refuse to say they are sorry, like it is a sign of weakness, it is not, and it is a sign of strength, especially when backed up with a very large stick.

Text Message to Bah - Bring Books
I am going to stop calling her Cynthia if I can remember her name in the village is Bah and I like a lot better than I like Cynthia.

I just sent a text message to her:
"Buy FUN books and bring with you to Ghana."
There is an unrealistic understanding of self --- idea --- to study, like study is something good and needed, I truly to not like being near another traveler or tourist with a textbook with them. They will read one page in day, and call it studying, then carry it around for months. There are also travelers who buy these intellectual books and it takes them six months to read because they hate. I can read between 1 and 3 books per week, while these other people never actually read, they just look at their books.

I want a hidden camera in a pair of sunglasses; does anyone think these things work?

These would be perfect for making videos, the problem is I purchase this stuff and it depressing when it just does not function. Moreover, I want it here, how do I get anything sent to Africa safely?

I do not Need the TV and Fridge in Takoradi, Ghana Hotel

No Ghana Visa in Lome Togo Ghana Embassy for Non Residents

I am in Takoradi, Ghana now; I did a sudden rush to use my expiring visa run to Ghana, and left Lome, Togo yesterday. Truly, travel in West Africa is crazy for Visas. Travel in West Africa is has become more difficult in the last few years, it feels as if West Africa wants to stop travel or tourism, it continually becomes more complicated, not easier.

Maybe any developed country can fly to Senegal or Togo and get a Visa on Arrival that works, and USA citizen’s maybe can fly to Equatorial, Guinea. USA people used to be able to fly into Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, but they stopped that a year ago. West Africa is not making any sense for tourism; they are making life for India and Lebanese people in a way, and trying to gouge the developed world where the big money resides for tourism.

The present system is only good for one country tourism.

Option -- Use Visa Service that Arranges Visas
I am thinking, maybe I send my USA passport from Togo to Washington DC with DHL overnight which takes three days or more. I then use, pay them a fee and they get the Visa for me in Washington DC. Expensive, but effective, and I used this company to get the Cote d’Ivoire Visa, I know they work and are professional. The would overnight it back, this would take about two weeks, then hopefully I get the passport back.

If not, I become a person who lost their passport.

It is risky to send my Visa by DHL, the company is half-crooked, and will come up with fees for strange reason. I am thinking about cutting open a book, and putting the passport inside a hidden cut out area in a book, to hide it.

Comparing size of the USA to West Africa?

Multiple country trips in West Africa makes good tourist sense.

Do tourists go to Europe and only visit one country? Do European tourists travel to the USA and only visit one state? I am not sure, but to pay for incredibly expensive plane tickets to West Africa, then go on Safari is nuts in West Africa. Please, West Africa ate all their animals, there are just small animals here. We have a country called "Ivory Coast" with no elephants.

There is almost zero to see in West Africa for tourist, their true value in coming it to say, I was in 4-5 countries. Girls is a good reason for Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, and Benin, but they should not be promoting this, this is a not a good idea.

Push the Poverty Tourism
What is easy to do right now it "Poverty Tourism," to come to Ghana and say?
"These people are so poor, wow, we need to help them."

Projects and give me money tourism thrives; telling the whole world, we are poor, come and visit, and this advertising scares away all mainstream tourism. The only photos the majority of people see about Africa are wars, genocide and poverty.

Takoradi, Ghana West Africa --- Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I Entered Ghana on a Loophole Visa
I paid 50,000 CFA for a three month multiple entry visas in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. I had about 10 days left on this visa before it expired. I went to the border yesterday and they gave me a 30 days stamp, effectively giving me more than three months

I have 30 days of travel for Ghana, I will need to get all my Visas in Accra arranged, and truly, I am spending a lot of time working on Visas. Nigeria wants me to return home to the USA to get a visa, this is not possible, and I am hoping they make some extra fee (hehehe) visa. If they only give me a Transit Visa, then I need a Cameroon Visa to exit Nigeria.

Fly to Senegal Option
I could fly to Senegal, do all the small midget countries, and then fry from Cape Verde to Brazil, providing I can find a Brazil Embassy in a one of the countries.

I am always trying to avoid a 1500 - 2000 one-way plane ticket to exit Africa.

Working on My Hobo Social Network
We are working on the Hobo Social network called "My Hobo."

This is my Profile; helpful suggestions on how to evolve this are wanted.
Gadget is Andy Graham the Hobo
I like Gadgets, therefore my Hobo name is "Gadget is Andy Graham the Hobo"

Please help My Hobo with your personal opinions, write me direct, or I can call you by telephone. I want to know how we at can help you, what do you want to do by joining our network? Do you want to be able to contact other travelers? Profile your webpage, put up 50 photos, make list of countries, what do you want?

Johnny Talking Again of Coming
Johnny the private pilot is talking again about coming, he would fly into Togo, but now I realize we cannot go to Ghana, where this USA, non-French speaking person could speak English.

Africa Good One Day, Next Day Bad
I got a ride from an angry Lebanese man who paid for a Visa and they somehow lost his application and kept the money at the Ghana Embassy.

He said in very bad English.
"Africa good one day, next day bad"

It is like the rain, you never know what will happen the next day, this is normal for me, this is my life, this is my rush, but for tourist, this is not what they want or need.

Late Arrival and No Hotels in Takoradi, Ghana
95 percent of the time, I arrive in any city before 2:00 pm; this allows me to find rooms without a reservation. Well, I made this 10-hour trip from Lome, to Takoradi yesterday, I was not able to leave Lome until about 10:00 am, and I arrived at the Amenla Hotel at 8:00. The brain-dead night reception guy says there are no rooms; I try to ask some questions. And in typical African business, there are no rooms, therefore there is no reason to talk mentality.

I went to the every crazy Arvo Hotel, closer to the market, and was lucky to find a room. I had to really push for a good room. It is the custom of Hotel to take tourist to the worst rooms in the Hotels and try to say, this is the only room.

The man showed me a horrible room, I say, I do not want it, do you another and he lied.
"No, this is the only one."
I went down, and said, I want another room, the man gives me the keys to another room, it is amazing how this country who says they are religious continuously will lie continually for stupid reasons.

It would be easy to be great in Ghana, just do the minimums.

Electrical Charge on Belly
I want to know why my computer gives my stomach an electrical charge sometimes. I will put the computer on my belly while lying in bed and it will give me a small charge.

I am in Ghana to get Visa, to go to Elubo again to meet Cynthia and travel with her, and to make using the Internet by way of the MTN USB Wireless Modem.

Just one hair faster than the Togo Wireless network and Skype is better.

No Ghana Visa in Lome Togo Ghana Embassy for Non Residents

Travel From Cape Coast Ghana to Lome Togo

Cynthia wants to travel to Togo, and I think the only reason is that she wants to speak French. I have done at least five of the maximum two-question probes on why she wants to go Togo, I think she has made up her mind, now her body is going to pay with "seat time." She will be sitting on the seat of a van in Ghana for approximately 24 hours, in a five day period. This is cost a traveler pays for chasing the hope, the problem is she is not a traveler.

She is not happy eating the food of Ghana, I think she believes the food will be better in Togo, she wants African food, I do not know, I try to avoid typical African food, I have been known to say on many occasions,
"Hands that touch Fufu, do not touch me."
(They eat Fufu with their hands, no fork or spoon, truly a messy affair.)

This is a photo of Cynthia eating Ah-tee-Kay or Couscous Cassava with Fish in Cape Coast, this makes me weak watching, and then again, if I smell fish, I want to gag. She eats fish in the room daily; I have yet to negotiate an understanding that fish is not a food for inside a hotel room.

To travel from Cape Coast, Ghana to Lome, Togo we must first take a "Ford" van from Cape Coast to Accra for 7 Cedis. Then somehow, transits to another van going to Aflao, Ghana and walk across the border to Lome, Togo. This is an eight to 10 hour trip, and I do not want to make another long trip, I am tired of moving, I do not want to "Travel." When we arrive, she can only stay for four days, and then she must take a "Direct Ford" from Aflao to Elubo, another 12 hour trip, I think it cost 7000 CFA or maybe 14 USD, I am not sure she understands how much travel time this is, or how tired she will be when she finally arrives back in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The 12 hours is just from Aflao to Elubo, she then needs to go from Noe, Cote d’Ivoire to Abidjan which is another 4-5 hours. I will stay in Lome, and apply for a Nigeria and Benin Visa, I hope…

This is the first time I have experienced the use of "Ford" or American made vans for public transportation. Generally, in most, the countries I visit cars from America are hard to find, this is a rare experience, and the American car industry does not sell cars worldwide well.

Map showing the eight-hour trip to Lome, Togo from Cape Coast with a transit in Accra. Then the 12-hour direct trip from Alfao to Elubo for Cynthia.

Cape Coast, Ghana West Africa --- Monday, January 10, 2011

I Have Been Warned by African Women
I was in Cape Coast a few years ago, this pretty woman was washing my clothes, and she took up a pair of my underwear and said,
"Make sure you count them, many women in Africa will steal them."
I said,
"What do they want with my underwear?"
"They will take them to a sorcerer and put a spell on you, and you will fall in love with them and never leave."
I said,
"Please only take one pair."

Second Warning Today in Cape Coast
Cynthia says,
"When a woman in Togo, Benin, Nigeria or Cameroon offers you food, please refuse."
I say why,
I say,
"They will do something, and you will not be able to remember me."
"I will call, and you will say, who are you?"
"You will not be able to remember who I am.

There is almost no Voodoo that is obvious in West Africa, however there always these winds blowing, I have no idea where they come from, but there is an old and ancient story being repeated.

I Want to Take Photo of Cynthia
Cynthia is one of the prettiest girls I have ever seen in my life, the proportion of her legs, arms, the width of her waist and muscles in her back are perfect. The only flaw is her teeth, and is she wanted braces would fix them in less than six months, at age 24 I feel she could easily be a fashion model.

She does not like photos taken of her, and because she is controlling, I have stopped trying, it is not worth the argument. However, I have been trying to explain that it possible she could get a job as model. When she first came to Ghana, she showed me about 10 photos of her in a bikini at some beach, the photos were propped, and had a B movie quality feeling, like they pushed her up against a tree and took a photo, complete with wig.

Now this is the enigmatic part of taking photos of people, she does not want here photo taken, however will carry around 10 photos of herself to show me. There is part of her psyche that wants to have photos, and there is part of her that says no.

I am not good at taking photos of people, I seldom catch the essence of their personality, and if I do, it is by accident. However, since the invention of the digital camera, it has become easy to make accidents happen, I could take 500 photo or more and hope to get 10 excellent photos.

I am not fond of models, or vanity or the idea of promotion of physical beauty, there is a sabotaging effect that occurs when a person is beautiful. When I was younger, I was able to turn on my charm, blue eyes and blond hair when I was young, and get what I want, this stops people from taking you serious, and it enabled me to maneuver and manipulate people.

Cynthia is almost unaware she is beautiful, as best I can see; she does not use her beauty to maneuver people. On the other hand, I am not sure the African man cares much about women, they are more interested in other men, the seem to savor the idea of talking sports and hanging in a group. This is also a British behavior, the men look for the appreciation of men and discount women, I will stop there, and I get enough hate mail.

Well, the bottom line, I am making photo progress, it is possible I can convince her to buy a white bikini in Lome, Togo and allow me take photos on the beach. Her skin is black, I think there is only one level more black skin than her, if she tanned in the sun, she would be charcoal colored. I want her to buy a white bikini and allow me take photos, what a striking contrast.

I see a photo and want to take it, I take photos I see, and I do not take photo unless I see the photo in my minds eye. It is difficult to look at her without seeing a photo, she is constantly pouting and pursing her lips, truly good photos if I could capture the essence. I am not sure if she is too fat for photos or not, she may be 10 pound too thick for photos, she is cut, her muscles sort of bulge out of her clothing. There are people who look awkward in clothing, in many ways this is her, the clothing in Africa is generally used, second hand clothing sent here from Europe and the USA, it is not easy to find proper fitting pants, and people quickly accept what they find.

My life is not a game, and Cynthia’s life is not a game, often readers write me in a tone as if I should or would do anything for money. I know why, because most people will say and do anything for money. 99 percent of writers patronize their readers, try to write what the readers want to hear, and take cliché photos. Vanity and the desire to be famous is horrible, insidious and corrupting element that is growing. I do not approve of people putting 50 photos of themselves on Facebook, this just reeks of self-absorbed, and selfish behavior.

I am reluctant and feel yes sometime and no sometimes, I feel like I have some type of Greek Goddess, an African Queen walking around in the room. However, I do respect her privacy and it is her choice, she does not have a Facebook page, and as best I can sense, she has no desire to start a Facebook page.

What does Cynthia focus on, well she wants four children, three girls and one boy, and she asked me last night,
"Will I be able to cook in Lome?"
She has no desire to travel, she calls me a Nomad, and sort of berates me for roaming around the world, and she does not see travel as a worthwhile pursuit.

I kind of feel as if there is a piece of art in my room walking around, I am not sure if I am supposed to allow the world to see it, or if I am suppose to lock it away, and be selfish. Truly this is here choice, I am just a bystander watching the world walk by.

The United States of West Africa
There is 15-16 nations in West Africa that have formed a union, it is caused ECOWAS, this union is similar to the European Union, it allows people to travel, and I believe work without many restrictions. The majorities use the CFA as currency, however Ghana does not, which to me is foolish self-importance.

This union is important, and you could in a way, see these 15-16 countries as one nation, with many truly anti-progress rules separating them. They all make the Western world get a visa, which hamstrings importation, exportation and investment. Tourist is almost stopped.

I believe that if Ghana allowed a visa on arrival for 90 days, they would increase their investment in the country would double, and their tourism dollars would be five times higher. The government officials could still collect their fee of 100 dollars, and put in their personal pockets, but allow the people to benefit. This applies to all the too silly for words Visa situation of the ECOWAS nations.


The acronym in French is: CEDEAO

It is a union, the benefit to me, is Cynthia can travel between these nations without needing to jump through the Visa hoops. I am presently in a Visa problems, I cannot get a Visa to Nigeria without begging, and if I enter Togo, it is a real possibility I may need to get another Togo Visa, even though I have a multiple entry visa to Togo. I also have a multiple entry Visa to Ghana, and should be able to cross back into Ghana. I do not trust Ghana to respect the Visa. Therefore, I cannot just come and go, they can put me in Visa black hole, I must always allow 15 days of extra days on my Visa, so it needed, I could rush to the Embassy of an adjoining country. I applied in the USA for a three month Visa to Cote d’Ivoire and they gave me a year. I tried to get a six-month visa to Ghana and they gave me three months. I entered from Togo into Ghana, the woman asked me,
"Why do you need to stay longer than 30 days?"
I wanted to say,
"Because I paid for a 90 day Visa."
I told her this long and elongate story, about traveling back and forth to see friends, etc. but in the back of my mind, I paid for a 90 day visa, give me what I paid for, I am not going to live in Ghana.

If you get on the Lonely Planet Thorntree, a forum that allows question, you would be able to realize that length of time for visas is not predictable, a person cannot just plan a multiple country trip across Africa, and travel without thinking about Visa. Truly, there are countries that step on their "D333cks" and other that jump up and down on it.

West Africa jumps up and down on opportunity for investment and tourism dollars, they truly piss into the wind. Writing this could get me banned from Ghana or other countries, however it needs to be said, the people of the country are losing millions of dollars of revenue because of their leaders.

Travel From Cape Coast Ghana to Lome Togo

Taking a Black Girl to the Cape Coast Ghana Slave Fort

Cynthia and I went to the Cape Coast Ghana slave fort yesterday, one of the main tourist attractions in West Africa. I am reluctant to encourage anyone to come to West Africa; this place is only for special types of tourists. It would be a great place for people who are familiar with these pages of Tribe, Subsistence, Gatherer / Hunter, Ethnology

However, there is one obvious tourist attraction, the Cape Coast Ghana Fort used as a central location for chiefs to trade slaves and other goods with the European merchant ships.

This is a photo taken from the beach outside the Cape Coast Fort in the city of Cape Coast Ghana, about four hours from Accra, the main airport for Ghana. Tourist need to get a visa to Ghana and all the countries of West Africa before they leave, except for Togo, this alone makes tourism almost none existent. Generally, there are about 10 countries on a mental list of countries to visit, and they normally choose the easy ones first, meaning Ghana is not chosen.

Ok, I, Andy, a white guy from the USA taking a Black girl from Cote d’Ivoire to a former slave fort, and then having a tour guide explain atrocities for an hour or more is not a good way to endear myself. I was controlling, and steered her to this Slave Fort because I felt it would be open here eyes to an understanding of this whole region of the world caused "West Africa."

Cape Coast, Ghana West Africa --- Sunday, January 9, 2011


Why slavery existed?
To have a discussion or intellectual inquiry into why slavery existed, is a no-win situation, this topic is so overlaid with anger, guilt, and blame giving that even the most intelligent person stops being objective. I believe Cynthia was in a funk for close to an hour after leaving the fort, brought up the subject later in the afternoon and she said something like,
"That was before, not today, stop talking about it."

Please, try to empathize with our situation, she speak horrible English, I cannot speak French well enough to discuss the intricacies of feelings. She had almost no opinion on slavery before we came here, and now her mind was forced to listen, see, and focus on slavery for one hour. She was very adult, never avoided or laughed, or created any ego defense mechanism moves to stop the observations.

I counted the number in our group, I believe there was 26, in this group, I believe nine were Black, and the rest were White. I do not think any European or American Blacks were in the group, I believe all the Blacks came from "West Africa." Although there was one women from New Jersey who was born in Accra, and spoke Ga or Ashante. I took a photo of this couple and recognized manners and idiosyncratic behavior of an American, and finally asked her where she was from.

Why did slavery exist?
I personally believe it was rather simple to understand, 500-2000 years ago, the simple way of controlling construction labor was to control them by force. Most building constructed over 200 years ago used some form of labor that could be construed to be forced, mandated, conscripted or just out and out slaves. Maybe they created an army, and forced the soldiers to do the work, or maybe they shanghaied groups of people, took away from their homes, paid them almost nothing and kept them working, maybe an indentured servant.

The world needs large groups of construction workers to build buildings; most of these buildings were for religions, and a few to bury people. The Mayans had huge alters built by something like slaves to offer human offering to the Gods, while the Egyptians built pyramids for their dictators called Pharaohs.

As long a there exist a king, a queen, a chief or dictator, there will be people forced to work against their will, these people believe they have the supreme right to tell others what to do, and feel they must obey.

4 in 5 Black Humans Property Died
This was told to the group by the guide, it is difficult for me to believe, that slave traders allowed 4 out of 5 pieces of property to die, that is an 80 percent spoilage.

The Black African Chiefs brought the human product to the Cape Coast Fort, and sold the humans to the white traders. The traders then transported the goods to South, Central, Caribbean, and North America and traded for other raw materials, Cotton, Tobacco etc and took back to Europe, then started the three point trip again.

This was my second time visiting this Fort, on the first trip, the guide was a propagandist, while yesterday, the guide was great.

Slavery was a business, there is this subjective desire of humans to place today’s sense of guilt or blame on people who had slaves 400 years ago. I remember as a child visiting Mount Vernon with my parents, the plantation owned by George Washington and asking,
"Why did George Washington have slave quarters?"

It was incongruent in my mind, that a person who has his picture on the one dollar bill, a person who was said to "Never tell a lie," could have slaves. In a child mind, there is only yes’s and no’s there is no middle or maybe. My parents were extreme in their teachings, prejudice is wrong, to treat any human being as an inferior or with no respect is wrong. I am grateful to my parents for their staunch and explicit teachings. When I am around blacks, I do not have some old feeling of guilt. I never heard my family, father or mother say some racist comments, I do not feel guilty coming to Africa, my family was not racist. I do not have some old memory of racism in my family to feel guilty about, this allows me to live emotionally free here.

I hear and still hear racist comments on planet earth, now mostly from Europeans, against the Israel people. I think most Whites in the USA have stopped making anti-black comments. They have shifted to the Mexicans, it will take another 10-20 years before the whites realize how they make slurs against the Mexicans. However, the Blacks and Mexicans often are extremely racist against the whites, so the pendulum has swung the opposite way.

If I married a black girl, I do not worry about the White Americans treating her badly, I worry about the Black Americans treating her badly.

I meet a lot of humans on this planet, it is hard to say the rich people are civilized, they are more than willing to make themselves a "Chief," If there is one thing I have learned from travel, 99 percent of humans want to considered special. It is hard to find a human that just wants to blend in and be part of the group, the intrinsic desire of all humans is to say,
"I am special and keep me separate from the riff raft of humans."
"I deserve to live in better Hotels, because I have the money."

In my opinion, the idea of deserving to live better than people around us is problematic. Cynthia has come from Cote d’Ivoire and is visiting Ghana. There is not a hour that goes by where she does not in someway say,
"Ghana people are below the Cote d’Ivoire people."

This is a black person saying other black people are less, not quite up to the same level of civilization, maybe inferring that Ghana people are primitive. And I often agree, because I do believe the education and civilization of Cote d’Ivoire is more advanced, but sometimes I need to say, it is not a radical difference and slow her comments down, there is a balance, too much and she will take on a sense of superiority.

The Emotional and Mental Challenge to give Respect
When I was with classmates in University, it was easy to have respect for the other people in my class. However, it would and could be easy to return to my hometown and treat my friends who did not go to University as if they were less or not quite up to standards.

Herein lies the essential element of slavery, when we see people who have less money, smaller cars, less education, less of everything than us, the challenge is to treat the person equally. To treat the President of the United States with more respect than a bum in the street is how slavery can exist, they both deserve to be treated equally… At least until the bum or President does something that forces us to separate.

I often write harsh, brutish, and what some people would call insensitive comments in this Travel Journal. I have this ever-present pressure by readers, friends and comments, they want me to back off, be more diplomatic, and somehow say things in a more acceptable way.

There is a maxim, maybe it biblical, I am never sure, many great ideas are plagiarized.

"One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated."

FUN --- This is GOOD Fun

Now, I try and try to get readers to understand, and I constantly fail, but here I go again.
"I do not write to one person."
"I am writing to the wind, who knows who is going to read this."

If you feel I am writing to you, then I did my job exceptionally well, if you get extremely mad at me, then I have made you feel. (Thanks Wade for explaining Hate Mail to me.)

I am not treating others, I am writing, I am treating paper, and there is free will here, people do not have to read, and for sure the majority of readers believe in freedom of speech. That is they believe in freedom of speech, except when they disagree, then the person must stop.

I expect my best friends to tell me honestly what they think, I in turn feel it is my obligation to tell them honestly what I think, without patronizing, or worry that I will hurt their feelings. I have great respect for other humans, and,
"One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated."

To patronize or to pull punches, in my opinion is to elevate myself above someone else, to say to myself, I can understand, but another person cannot, because I am smarter. This just rings of no respect, and what allowed Chief to sell people into slavery, and allowed people to buy other humans.

When I start to edit my thoughts, I start down a slipper road, where it becomes easier to live a lie than the truth.

Slavery existed because someone wanted to fly "First Class."

I can work extremely hard and deserve to go "First Class."

- Then in some leap, my daughter or son could believe they deserve the good life without work, this is the constant challenge the world faces, to reconcile a sense of superiority with reality.

Taking a Black Girl to the Cape Coast Ghana Slave Fort

I do NOT have AIDS

I do NOT have AIDS

The fat lady from the Ghana hospital rather aggressively stabbed my finger with a pointed object, the blood started to flow. She picks up a glass tube with rubber gloves, leeches a drop of blood into the tube, and then puts one drop into the small indented spot of the AIDS Tester.

A few minutes later, it reads "Negative."

Andy Graham of does NOT have AIDS, or SIDA in French or Spanish.

The AIDS test took 15 minutes, however the standing in lines, paying the money, being moved from office to office would scare anyone into avoiding an AIDS test.

Cape Coast, Ghana West Africa --- Saturday, January 8, 2011


Having Fun Getting an AIDS Test
It was a lot of fun getting this AIDS test here in Cape Coast Ghana; this is an experience I highly recommend. I have now had four AIDS test in my life, and all of them felt like I was walking on stage to be a comedian, as if somehow, I was an actor in a play where all the other actors were saying nonsensical comments, and I was to answer seriously.

Have you ever seen Abbott and Costello do this comedy scene called,
"Who’s on first?"

The staff at the Ghana Hospital kept telling me, you need to "Cancel," well I kept reaching for my money, so I could cancel the bill. Finally, they decided to stop taking my money. The person repeated, you need to "Cancel" "Cancel," the woman will be here to cancel you.
Ghana English is a mystery to me; I have finally learned how to say,
"Letsss Go."
Therefore, with a heavy Ghana English accent, I said,
"Letttts Go"
(You need to make sure your voice is low and gruff, there is no separation between the let and the s, no apostrophe.)

Truly, a great experience, I introducing myself to the various players in this truly intriguing and wonderful game of life, I say,
"I am Andy Graham and this is Cynthia X, she is from Cote d’Ivoire and speaks French."
That is a big sentence, and none of the players can understand me, I repeat a couple of times, look pleadingly at the person, waiting for her name. I am always amazed how many times I have to get extremely direct with people; it is obvious that on planet earth, exchanging of name is very rare. 90 percent of the time, I need to get insanely direct.
"What is your name?"

Somehow, this is a secret and an invasive question, well, to me if you are going to poke me with something and make me bleed; you had better tell me your name.

The Consultation about AIDS

I has the same ludicrous type of conversation in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I walked into the office on what I think was the seventh floor of the city county building. I look at a couple of men and said,
"Hello boys."
I recognized by their demeanor that they were gay, so I decided to have some fun.
"I am here to get the good housekeeping stamp of approval."
They go,
"You are in the wrong office."
I think to myself, well that one flew over their heads, ok, I say,
"I want an AIDS test."
"Is it free?"
They say,
"Why do you want an AIDS test?"

I look around, and say,
"Ok, this is the AIDS testing office; do I really need to give you a list of good reasons to get an AIDS test?"

1. Prevention
2. Allow my partner to feel safe.
3. This girl "Jackie" refuses to do what I want until I do so…

I say,
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound a cure."

The three gay boys say,
"Ok, you are in the right office, and the test is free."
They walk me over to a chair, I sit down and they look me up and down, I finally help them along the path to awareness.
"I am not gay."
"---- ooooooooh they wheeze, too bad."
They relax; they can stop eying me up and down, trying to decide if I am one of them.
I am joking,
"Hey, are you going to give me a pile of free condoms?"
I am joking too much and not nervous, they look at me,
"Do you have AIDS?"
I say,
"How the F###k would I know, that is why I came here?"
"Come on boys, get with the program, you are the ones doing the test."
The gay boy says,
"People who want an AIDS test, believe they have AIDS."
I said
"So you are saying to me, there are no responsible humans in Fort Wayne."

It goes on and on, and they said later,
"we cannot give you a piece of paper saying, you do not have AIDS."

I said,
"Either you give me a proof that I am not positive, or I just take it."
"I cannot walk out of this office without proof."
"My girlfriend would assume I have AIDS, I must have proof."
"We cannot, we need to protect your civil rights."
I said,
"If I have AIDS, I want you to publish it in the Journal Gazette Newspaper, and remove my ability to hide I am a killer."

This went on an on, I finally threatened the three boys long enough, the produced a paper saying I did not have AIDS. The whole situation was set up to protect the person who has AIDS, to keep this disease behind closed doors and a secret and in the dark file.

Ghana Interview
The lady asked,
"Are you married?"
I said,
"Five times and I am going to make this women number six."
She bites,
"Why so many wives?"
"I am a rich man, and rich men in Africa have many wives."
She says,
"Where are you from?"
She says,
"You are not African?"
I say,
"But I want to have six wives, seems like a good way to get my clothes cleaned in Africa."

Cynthia is mad,
"You have six wives."
I say,
"Not more than one per country."

I finally get the two straight players in this acting scene to calm down.
"Please give me the test?"
The nurse ask,
"Do you know the best way to get AIDS?"

I said in serious,
"Share a needle with another person who has AIDS."
"You know, drug use, addicts."
She says
"No, by having sex."
I said,
"The word best infers you want to know the most efficient way of passing the disease."
"You are mean the majority of cases."
I said,
"I disagree; I think it is homosexual anal sex."
"The wall of the ass is only 2 millimeters thick and breaks easy."
"The walls of the vagina is maybe 10 and are more durable."
"I think a lot of gay boys are having rough sex, and then going home to screw their wives."

I pipe up,
"Is having a blood transfusion in Ghana dangerous?"

I am getting nowhere, and quiz her,
She says,
- 1 in 20 pregnant women maybe has AIDS here in Ghana, but is obvious she is guessing.
- 2.8 percent of the people in Ghana have AIDS. I said,
"About the same as the USA."

I said,
"You need to do a better job of falsifying the statistics if you want the rich world to send your country money."

I asked,
"Have you heard of the theory, that there are hairline cracks in the penis, and this is how the blood is transferred during heterosexual intercourse?"
-- She is shaking her head at me, I am not suppose to that honest and open.

Hmm, I am way above my 2-3 allotted questions in the African culture, the women wants me out of the office. She says,
"You do not have AIDS."
I said,
"Can I have the paper that says, I do not have AIDS?"
She says,
"No, that paper is for our records."
"We must protect you."

She walks us to the door, hands me the file that has all the papers proving I do not have AIDS. She says,
"Take this file back to the main office."
I said,
"Not a problem."
She was serious, she fully expected me to walk the file back to the main office. I walked out, Cynthia is hot, and I mean she is fuming, she is angry!
"You have five wives?"
I look at her,
"I was lying."
(I know I am in the circus, and someone has drugged me.)

She is walking behind me, I am trying to open my backpack and stuff the two files into my backpack and scoot for the road before I am caught by the fat nurse. I made it; I successfully stole my records from the Cape Coast Ghana Hospital.

My Serious Conclusion
AIDS or SIDA is a killer, a person who has AIDS is a dangerous person, and we are expected them to give up sex, and to be honest. Somehow the world needs to grow up and accept the reality, people hide this type of information, it is not human nature to be honest and forthright.

Babies and new life is a great and wonderful thing, the love and sex that is involved is the most natural thing on the planet. The good Gods want the secrets and things hidden by man, the dark, the ugly brought out into the light and exposed.

Religions and humans have many secrets, when another person wants me to keep my mouth shut, to keep a secret, to hold something in private; I see this as a sin. My job and the responsibility of all humans are to be honest and open, to not hide reality.

It is not a human right to keep AIDS a secret, I cannot walk around with a gun, but people with AIDS are allowed to walk around with a deadly disease. It is simple to stop AIDS, we need to test every person on the planet, and the disease would be eradicated in a few years.

It is an unreasonable request of humans, to say, "Stop having sex." This is like trying to get a politician to be honest; it is not going to happen. However, the governments of the planet could easily test all their citizens, and make is public knowledge how is carrying a loaded gun in their pants.

If there is a God, if there is a good God, he or she wants us to live in the light of day, not in the darkness of a lie.

Why is there so much hassle in taking a 15-minute AIDS test?

Do I feel guilty taking these records? No, they were mine, and it is the responsibly of any person to bring things kept in the dark, into the light. (Good enough to take a photo.)

We must stop protecting secrets and things in the dark, this is just politically correct group trying to hide the truth, that enables them to lie and cheat.

I do NOT have AIDS

AIDS Test, Bad Water, and Changing her Wig in Ghana

I believe I have a desire to explain real life in real time with photos, words, and videos, this is a travelogue. However, so many things happen in one boring day, that only the worst experiences are poignantly remembered.

I sit down each morning and start typing; whatever first comes to my mind is often what I enter in this online travel journal. This is inherently an unfair description of the day, because the daily pain stays in my short-term memory longest, while pleasant memories can last forever in my long-term memory.

This is the girl that does hair across the street, I convinced Cynthia to lose the old woman wig, and get cornrows that are similar to this young Ghana girl. It was not hard to convince her because I was paying for the new hairstyle. Hair is maybe one of the biggest budget expenses for a Cote d’Ivoire girl; I would believe the Cell Phone Credit is the big expense in life. A Cell phone probably cost an African person about 30-50 dollars per month, and rent is about 15-20, hair can be 20 to thirty Dollars.

This hairstyle cost about 15 dollars, she got a good deal, the women asked 20 Cedis for the work and settled for six, and this type of transaction is often fodder for my angry words written. When somebody asks 20 and settles for six, you know they were trying to cheat you. When a person ask 10 and goes down to 8, this is just fair dealing, when they ask 20 and go down to 6, they are treating us as fools, and have no respect.

Sitting on a stool for three hours surrounded by three girls, braiding hair cost four U.S. dollars, as best I can tell the average girl earns about three dollars per day in Ghana for simple labor.

Cynthia went to the market here in Cape Coast, purchased two magazines and paid 10 Cedis, there is no way an average Ghana girl can afford to read new magazines. The internet cost about one Cedi per hour, but not as beneficial as reading offline materials.

Cape Coast, Ghana West Africa --- Friday, January 7, 2011


This is the Sammo Hotel in Cape Coast, rooms start at about 10 Cedis; I am paying 20 or about 12 US Dollars. The inside of the hotel is nice, the front looks like a junk yard for old cars, however is truly just a typical look inside any of the large cities. This is why I am seldom in large cities in Africa, the larger the city, the larger the piles of clutter. I pay close attention to population density.

Population Density per Square Kilometer:
USA - 33
Ghana -101
Togo - 107
Nigeria - 151
Cote d’Ivoire - 57
India - 381
German 235
United Kingdom 252
Philippines 310
Guatemala 119

The people of the planet are immigrating to large cities; Manila, Philippines is most densely populated city on the planet.

A travelers budget is directly related to the population density, the higher the density the more expensive the cost of tourist Hotels.

True Budget Travelers need to Read This
In the past, tourist and traveler needed to enter big cities to purchase plane tickets, receive mail from home, and to take money from banks. Now 95 percent of this can be done over the internet, the reason to enter highly populated and chaotic cities has ended. However, I will need to enter Accra here in Ghana to get a Visa, not my idea of fun.

The only clear reason to enter large cities is for chaotic living and it they are the center of the most deviant behavior of a country…. Hehehe Big cities is where the highly educated deviants live… hehehe (a.k.a. Liberals.)

When any person lives in a densely populated city, I keep a question mark next over their heads, I am extra vigilant when dealing with them, there may have a couple screws missing. I grew up in a town of 400 people, and I will forever take pride in being prejudice against city folks. (Note, I used the word prejudice incorrectly, I am not prejudice, I have some logical reasons, prejudice is illogical.)

I took this photo using my Canon Camera with a 20 X zoom. I laid the camera down on the bridge railing to keep it stable. There is a combination here of smog and ocean mist, it is late in the day. There is a polluted lagoon at the edge of the city of Cape Coast. It is enjoyable to listen to Cynthia degrade Ghana; she does not have any PC or African filters on her opinions. While Cote d’Ivoire is more modern and the people are more educated than Ghana, the country of Cote d’Ivoire is dump compared to Ghana. The government of Cote d’Ivoire has not cleaned for the last 10 years properly because of their dictatorship type government and violence.

The water is cleaner in Cote d’Ivoire for drinking and showers, the Sammo Hotel appears to be using a well for the shower water; it is muddy when see it in a bucket, it is probably illegal to use well water, but many big hotels bypass the public utilities and cheat. This is why a Hotel with less than 20 rooms is preferable when possible in undeveloped countries.

The Video City Hotel in Mampong, and the Tarso Hotel in Ho have great water, while the water in one of the most famous cities in Ghana, and in one of the most famous Hotels is crap.

AIDS Test in Ghana
A truly long story, but the bottom line is this, Cynthia wants us to get an AIDS test, we accidentally walked by a Hospital at about 4:00 pm, so we started the unorganized process. I asked where to go for an AIDS test of an administrator standing near the Pharmacy area by the name of Davis. He was pleasant man, who spoke horrible English, but adequate to help us find the correct place to start.

We walked into a large room with about 10 workers sitting around talking, and about 10 people waiting to see a doctor or someone. He advised,
"Do not tell them you are getting an AIDS test, you can tell the doctor."
I think he is inferring, you do not want the people to think bad of you… like I care, everyone in Africa is hype attentive to my every move, I would not be here if I cared what people think.

I have had three AIDS test in my life:
USA free at City Country Building in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Red Cross in Quito, Ecuador and I paid.
Guatemala at a Laboratory, when getting another test done, and I paid.

My experience with AIDS test is this; when you get an AIDS test, the people in the Hospital believe you have AIDS, which is why you are getting the test. It is highly uncommon to pay money to be safe; therefore, when Cynthia and I walk into a Hospital to get an AIDS test, everyone around us assumes we believe we have AIDS.

When these three gay boys in Fort Wayne, Indiana test me in the USA, they asked,
"Don’t you think you have AIDS?"
I said,
"No, I have a girlfriend who wants the good housekeeping seal of approval."
Note, I got the test, and the bitch never got one, I learn my lesson; bring the girl with you, or what is the point.

I enjoy when a girl brings up the idea of an AIDS test, is analogous to going to church. While I l believe that 99 percent of the people who go to church are functionally atheist, I still believe it is better for atheists to be in church trying to stop sinning, then the other options.

Well, when some dizzy women ask me to get an AIDS test, you cannot just say no, because I want to encourage responsible behavior in irresponsible people. However, from my experience of coming to Africa six times, I have a better chance of getting AIDS in the USA. The girls in Africa are paranoid and hyper vigilant about AIDS and I have yet to ever find one person in Africa with AIDS. While I know of a few Gay people in the USA with AIDS, most of this problem is hyped up and false statistics and this in my opinion makes Africa safer than most places on the planet.

NGO’s and the save the world assholes are falsifying and radically skewing statistics in Africa to raise money to put in their pockets. Fear of dying in Africa from AIDS I high, while, like I said, close to impossible to find anyone who has AIDS.

I asked Cynthia,
"Do you know any of your girlfriends who have AIDS?"
The answer has been no for about 80 girls I have asked in Africa in six visits here.

Truly AIDS is another of the hyped up problems of the world, while cars kill 20 times more people and very dangerous to walk down a Ghana road. I enjoy the idiocy of the public or masses, it is as if the people of the world are sheep, feed them scary information and they will follow you anywhere.

I am getting tired of typing, and save the finish of the AIDS test for when we complete the test. It is not easy to get an AIDS test in a Ghana hospital; I do not think many people get the test.

We were asked for a "Gift" three times while in the Hospital. (Money)

The administrator says, "She wants a small gift."
I said,
I am thinking, why Ghana is always begging, have some pride.

The woman to the left checked my blood pressure:
130 over 80
Weighed me, the scales seemed reasonably functional:
85 Kilos or 187 pounds, at six foot tall.

I am fat in my opinion; my proper weight is 170, therefore 17 pounds overweight and fat. From my perspective, one pound overweight is too much. People of the world are addicted to excuses, exceptions, and allowing themselves and others from being strict. Many of my friends in the USA lift weight and exercise daily, one of my best friends Mike in Fort Wayne is bulked out. I am not good at having fat friends, I avoid people who are fat, therefore if all your friends are generally in excellent shape, then 17 pound overweight is fat.

I realized in life one day, we can define ourselves by who we try to copy or the people we compare ourselves too, I compare myself to the body builders in a Gym in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This is how I define myself, and presently I am also comparing my body to a young Cote d’Ivoire girl who is a 9.5 on scale of 10, she is in incredible looking shape compared to me. I am not doing badly, I have a Cote d’Ivoire girl with me who is a 9.5, truly an exceptionally beautiful girl, I am not worried, but I have high standards.

We have to return to the Hospital today, when we finally got past all the red tape yesterday, the person who was supposed to be in the office was off somewhere else. This is the story of management in Africa, the management is always "Out to lunch."

The reason why Africa has economic problem is generally a cultural problem. Africa has chief of tribal type communities, when a person becomes a chief; they sit around, eat, drink and get fat, and stop working completely. They take great pride in doing nothing; this is the aspiration of people in Africa, to be the chief.

Therefore, when workers and African person works hard, and one day become the manager of a business or organization, when they have finally arrived, they begin to act like a chief and stop working. The person who is truly qualified to manage is a "made person" and stops working and goes drinking all day. Jobs are given to all his or her friends with no merit, nepotisms is rampant, the top management is out to lunch.

On the other hand, living in a country where everyone sits around talking with his or her friends and not working is more a Utopia than the USA or Europe.

Note, understanding jokes are a sign of Fluency in a language. I was in the Hospital spewing one-liners, I am lucky they did not understand my English. I said things like,
"Ok, the nurse wants a couple Cedis gift, how big a bribe does the Doctor want?"
"Oh, we need to get consulting before you will give a test, how much money does it cost to avoid doing what you think I need?"

Funny stuff, even with all the surplus fees added on at the Cape Coast Hosptial, the cost is only going to be 15 dollars, maybe two days labor for a Ghana person.

AIDS is 100 percent stoppable, test everyone in the country, and you will stop the problem completely, then put a tattoo on people who have AIDS. This is too simple, but that is not how the real world functions, too much talk and no real solutions implemented.

AIDS Test, Bad Water, and Changing her Wig in Ghana

Hiding in Cape Coast Ghana from African Culture

There are times when enough crazy, is enough crazy, and it is time to hide in my Hotel room. This means I stay in my room more, and talk less with the locals. I become culturally fatigued in all cultures, too much Asia and I want to gag, too much Latin American and I want to run, too much Africa and it is time to take a break.

If I stop moving locations, the world will stabilize, my burnout subsides, and I become recharged. I think maybe I should stay in Cape Coast for 10-20 days and relax.

Cape Coast, Ghana West Africa --- Thursday, January 6, 2011


Cynthia is a 9.5 on a 10 Point Scale
It takes all my energy to be patient with Cynthia and learn to understand how she thinks and why she becomes angry. She is incredibly beautiful, she has lived her whole life in a small world, and my life has been large and wondrous.

She is young and jealous of things she does not understand, and that means anything and everything I think or do is a question mark for her, she says,
"Be careful."
(Or she will get angry, a direct threat.)
Africa is an extremely macho place, and the truth is I am can on-demand be more macho than the Africans. However to have a macho challenge inside my room is a little hilarious, it is difficult to validate her fears and not laugh, but all is good, I am doing just fine.

I dated this woman at Indiana University, took her the Blue Bird Bar in Bloomington, Indiana, got drunk and passed out on her, she was furious when I finally woke up from my alcohol induced sleep.

Pamela Jean Bryant Died
I have dated some beautiful girls in my life; one of them was Pamela Jean Bryant, when I dated her she was a pain in the butt. I was sad to read on the internet she died, I think it as of an asthma attack, we were not friends. Nonetheless, the woman has a difficult life and I have sympathy for her, she had many demons in her brain to resolve.

I have been trying to review in my mind, and as best I can say or admit, and I did not realize this before she arrive in Ghana. However, Cynthia may well be the prettiest girl I have even dated in my life. She make PJ look ugly, but PJ was mostly made to look pretty and Cynthia is just naturally pretty.

I call it hiding, in reality when the world become too stimulating, I need to slow it down until my mind can process and file away all the incoming data. I am dealing up close and personal will a person from Africa who thinks very African. I like Africa to live outside my room, not inside my room, there is a need to adapt.

What this means is her views and opinions are as different as two people can be on the planet. I need to absorb less, do less, so I can handle more.

Yesterday Cynthia asked me to take photos of her, then got very angry when I took photos, she wanted me to delete them, therefore I deleted all the photos I took. I will not be taking any more photos of her, I refuse to buy into this type of situation, because I take photos for fun. It is possible she one day becomes reasonable, however T.I.A.

Hiding in Cape Coast Ghana from African Culture

Trip to Cape Coast Ghana Market with a Tourist

An American wants Pizza, this Cote d’Ivoire woman wants "Attieke," the photo here is Wheat Couscous, while she wants Cassava Couscous. In addition, to further complicate my understanding she calls it "Attieke."

Learning African foods is difficult; I am not enthusiastic to ask specific questions from Africans. Cynthia will allow me three questions before she get impatient and angry, which is two question more than the average person here. She like to play on the cell phone or watch music videos. I can get Africans to talk crap and sweet words for hours; however, to be specific almost is an act of God. Which if you understand the implications, this makes doing business with the Western World almost impossible, because there is a need for specific contracts. Generally, the Western world come here and sells, there is not a partnership relationship.

Cape Coast, Ghana West Africa --- Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Culture Shock
Cynthia is having withdrawal from Cote d’Ivoire, she wants to speak French and eat the foods she eats at home. The cultures of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana are similar to me, the differences are subtle, however to Cynthia they are great, and she is having small culture shock.

The Ghanaian people assume she speak Fanti, and will not stop talking the Fanti Language "at" her. She does not want to empathize with them, and wants the Ghana people to speak French so she speaks French "at" them. When there is a conversation, nobody is listening, both are talking, truly hilarious to watch, if you enjoy a good "Dysfunctional" exhibition. Luckily, language is about 80 percent body language and 20 percent words, she communicates well in an indirect conversation, when the taxi driver just starts talking and wants money, she understands. When she stands in front of a person and request a specific item, they almost never understand.

Interestingly the locals will go and find people who speak French to help her, while they never find a person who speaks English for me, because they believe they speak English here in Ghana and they do not. The Ghana people accept they do not speak French, but assume they speak English, (WRONG)
It is a cluster-F-----###k.
(Cluster---F----###K defined: Its more precise usage describes a particular kind of Catch-22, in which multiple complicated problems mutually interfere with each other's solution.)

This is why I an annoyed with Tourists and Non Governmental Organizations, they make an illogical jump, they somehow assume they understand Africa and can fix it… too stupid for words, they are working under the same false assumptions as Africa, it is a Cluster---F---###k.

This is a photo of a group of Ghanaians fighting to purchase "Placali," which is Cassava Puree, which is sold in Ghana. However, that is not what Cynthia wants, she wants Cassava Couscous and refuses to accept or be happy until she finds her own culture inside Ghana.

The desire to find your own culture within in another culture is what defines tourists. People naturally go other countries and search for things they know and understand, and avoid what is confusing, this allows them satisfaction and comfort. American tourist come to Africa and want to live in Western Style hotels, with sit down toilets, and eat pizza, then say they are in Africa. While Cynthia wants to eat Attieke and avoid Ghana food, it is analogous and not a good way to be happy for a long trip, the search for your own culture is best done at home, and not traveling, to accept you are uncomfortable is travel.

Cheated Daily and Often by Ghanaians
There is a temptation to believe Africans could guide me around Africa, while the reality is this, they have never been more than 100 miles away from home, know nothing about maps, geography, and seldom read. They are helpless outside a 100 mile radius of home.

Therefore, Cynthia has a line of Ghanaians lined up to cheat her, and she is the ultimate soft target. She cannot do the math to convert the Ghana money Cedi to Cote d’Ivoire CFA in her head, as normal for Africa, the math aptitude is at the bottom of the barrel. Moreover, of course, she refuse to consult or use a calculator, she is a normal American tourist, but from Cote d’Ivoire and this beautiful black ebony color.

Now to empathize with her, Ghana is about 10 time more corrupt than Cote d’Ivoire, the people of Ghana will cheat me in seconds, while the Cote d’Ivoire people tend to give normal deals. She thinks Ghana people are going to be fair and honest like the Cote d’Ivoire people, and she is "Not in Kansas Anymore." and there is "No place like Home."
(Wizard of Oz)

"Ghana People are Not Serious"
Says the Cote d’Ivoire Girl at the taxi driver.

Cynthia lost her temper in the taxi, while I was kept repeating the price to the taxi driver, and he played stupid, she got very angry.
She screamed in English.
"Ghana people are not serious."

I do not care if African people play stupid or want to cheat, I do not care what they want. I will pay them what is fair, they must accept fair of get nothing. My problem is to discover what is fair, this is my work to done each day. Ghana taxis are cheats, I have left many without paying what they asked in a fit of you are white and need to allow me to cheat you greed.

"Ghana people are not serious."
I believe it is possible I understand about 70 percent what she means, however mostly this comment is could be labeled,
"Lost in Translation."
Lost in Translation

What does she mean, "Ghana people are not serious?"

I quizzed her on this for about two hours, to say the least, she is angry for being quizzed, but this is an essential understanding of African culture, and I want to know, it is a glimpse into the inner mind of Africa for me, I can see down a tunnel, my chance to maybe understand two percent of this Cluster---F----###k called Africa.

Cynthia wants the Ghanaian people to talk direct, honest, and transparent, when she asks a price, she wants the price, not some beat around the bush answer. When she asks directions, she wants them to say, "I do not know" or clarity, maybe "Go straight down the street and turn left."

She does not want ambiguity, she wants clarity from the Ghana people, and she is
"Shit out of Luck."
(T.I.A. This Is Africa)

Americans are always in trouble for being too blunt and direct, and when not direct, the average American just patronizes, lies and talks down to cultures. Yet you know what to expect, blunt honesty or a patronizing lie, it is simple. (PC is patronizing, politically correct, trying to keep people at the expense of the truth.)

The real world is a "Maybe," it is never yes and never no, understanding is never yes or no, it is on a continuum, in this situation I only understand about 70 percent of what she is trying to tell me when she say the Ghanaian people are not serious. To think, maybe assume I can understand is illogical and means I am God, all knowing and not a human who is fallible.

Cluster---F----###K defined:
Its more precise usage describes a particular kind of Catch-22, in which multiple complicated problems mutually interfere with each other's solution.

This phrase from Wikipedia uses the term Catch-22:

Norway and Sweden are maybe the most direct, while Mali and Niger are at the bottom of the bucket, and least direct, Cote d’Ivoire is in the bottom of the bucket with the rest of Africa, and just marginally better than Ghana, so this is humorous to me, in a way, she is calling the kettle black. She is accusing the Ghana people of the same fault she shares.

Hmm, I am wrong again, I do not think this is a fault or a problem, which is my USA way of thinking, it is how 85 percent of the people on the planet think, I am the abnormal one, and I am from a developed country with an overzealous desire for direct and specific language.

Leave the West Behind
Leave the West Behind
Leave the West Behind
Leave the West Behind
Leave the West Behind
Leave the West Behind
Leave the West Behind

I do not expect anyone to understand this but me, but this is my world, I left the "West Behind" The USA is behind me, I am at Home, and this why I say the song by the Beatles called,
"Back in the USSR,"
Is one of number two travel song of all time, in some jump of empathy that only genius like the Beatle could do, they wrote a song that conveys feeling I have on a daily basis.

Someone is always screaming in my ear,
"Andy, Hey, You don't know how lucky you are, boy."
Because I left the west behind, and asking to be taken to a place where not everything is so serious.

Lyrics to Back in the USSR by the Beatles

Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC
Didn't get to bed last night
Oh, the way the paper bag was on my knee
Man, I had a dreadful flight
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the USSR, yeah

Been away so long I hardly knew the place
Gee, it's good to be back home
Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
Honey disconnect the phone
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the US
Back in the US
Back in the USSR

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the west behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
They Georgia's always on my my my my my my my my my mind
Oh, come on
Hu Hey Hu, hey, ah, yeah
yeah, yeah, yeah
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boys
Back in the USSR

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the west behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
They Georgia's always on my my my my my my my my my mind

Oh, show me round your snow peaked
mountain way down south
Take me to you daddy's farm
Let me hear you balalaika's ringing out
Come and keep your comrade warm
I'm back in the USSR
Hey, You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the USSR
Oh, let me tell you honey

I am Lucky to be in Africa
One person would look at me here in Africa and say, you are unlucky to be here, it is something to be tolerated, while I see myself as lucky, and feel the people who are trapped inside the bubble of culture called the "USA" or "Europe" to be unlucky. They are incredibly lucky to be born in the USA or Europe, the "Western World." but only by "Leaving the West Behind" can you truly get a sense of gratitude.

Top Travel Songs:
Top Travel Songs

People naturally want me to write a congruent, consistent, plausible and understandable explanation of the world, with no ambiguity. I will continue to write a "Cluster---F---##K," because reality is confusing, and to accept we are not in control is the path to freedom, chaos is normal, control is an illusion, the world lives and believe they will one day manage and control their lives, what a fantasy to try to achieve, and way too "Serious."

My advice is to accept, and "Leave the West Behind," leave the desire to control and be busy behind, the world is not manageable… I am not here to fix Africa, it is just fine, there is nothing broken, it is just different.

Cynthia is wearing this horrible wig, I want her to get cornrows, I think she will get her hair changed today, this is good, all West African girls normally wear wigs of a sort.

Trip to Cape Coast Ghana Market with a Tourist