The roads are good in Ghana so far, two lanes, not busy and full of Tro Tro’s, the name for the vans that shuttle around from city to city. I can hop on and hop off in a way, but the taxi situation is difficult, they are not to be trusted. This means that small inner city transportation by taxi is confusing to understand, and can be a big expense if not careful. They do not have meters, therefore it is negotiations and Ghana Taxis are more than willing to ask too much, or just drive assuming I will pay, One driver already learned, I do not care, I paid 5 when he asked 10, and something along the lines me explaining go "F2(K yourself."
I stopped in three cities and looked for Hotel rooms before I landed in the city of Koforidua. There is almost no reason to stop and stay in the small villages. It looks as if the majority of them happened to be there by chance. Like they put a highway through, and then all the people built businesses or houses along the side the road. This type of city is long and has no center, really no fun, lacking a heart. I am always looking for city park in center spider roads town, preferably with a river through the center.
There is a suspension bridge over the Volta River that is beautiful, maybe a good place to land for a night or two, but the room situation is bleak unless you have a car. Which, the Lonely Planet guidebook assumes you have a car, so somewhat anal and always boring.
Koforidua, Ghana West Africa --- Thursday, December 9, 2010
I can only emotionally be satisfied with a room price under 15 Cedis, about 10 US for a Hotel, any more and they suck. Even at 15, they suck, but one in five has been built with a semblance of architectural knowledge. The other four are as if the builder was lost on the basic idea, just built rooms with no sense of organization, and never finished, not that anything in Africa is organized.
My present room in the Kes is 14 Cedis, the light does not work, common shower, which is ok, because nobody uses it. I have a light to I carry as back. The curtains are so thin I had to double them up, then clothes pin them to make them block the sun or white watchers. There seems to be almost no hotels close to the central Tro Tro stations in this city, this means I must take a taxi to go long distances. The Kes is an obnoxious walk to anything of interest, but clean and satisfying enough to stay more than one night. Ho and Koforidua are both extra nice clean cities.
I am Hungry
I know of three restaurants worth a darn between in Togo or Ghana.
Atakpame, Togo Cafeteria Madone
Lome, Togo Al Mahata Chicken Restaurant
Now, the road side stand here close to the Kes Hotel on the main road, this Ghana man actually cared what I ate, I mean, he asked if I like the food, almost unheard of in Africa. He than noticed I did not eat the cabbage cole slaw stuff with catsup and mayonnaise, and the fried plantain and said,
"I will not serve that again to you."
I told him I like the Cilantro and he agree to add more to the Fried Rice, this was all for two Cedis or about 1.25 US, and truly, I am hungry.
I am not kidding, I am hungry, the food in the stores is just cracker and cookies, I am having trouble, and I am not going to eat Fufu, Maniac, Cassava or Yam with oil. Moreover, the last things I need to do it eat the other packaged fast food, I will admit the Ginger cookies in Ghana are special, but I do not need them.
Truly, the only way to eat truly healthy is to pay 15 dollar per meal, or have a kitchen here in West Africa, it is become taxing on my nerves to continually be scrounging for food.
Note, Dixon the manage of the Kes Hotel is a 0 on a 10 point scale for personality, I have never seen a more blasé person, not bad or mean, just a nothing, but obviously smart. I will stay another night because the room is a good value for Ghana, I truly cannot emotionally handle overpaying for rooms, it takes away my sense of well being in life when I overpay. I do want to say to myself,
"I overpaid, I got crap for my money."
This may well be the most taxing problem in West Africa, the lack of value for your money.
Almost Computer Panic
I was lying in bed watching a movie on my computer; I have about 400 on a Hard Drive and tend to watch one or two per day. Well, the electricity went out, then came right back on, while off my laptop electrical cord suddenly stops charging the computer. I got it work, and then it was random, often taking 10 minutes to try and for it work. This causes me to have a nervous panic, like suddenly I am unemployed.
These Computer cords are a true problem; I think they take the beating on low or high current, and save the computer. My room, I suspect has low current, and this burns the circuits up inside the transformer box. I think I do not want to know the true current, I cannot just move every time there is low current.
I needed today, and to buy a new cord, 10 years ago when I was traveling, this was the kiss of death, and you needed to return home to buy a new one. Well, I was lucky, I walked around for about one hour and with the help of this man by the name of Eric a student, I found two shops. The one was brain dead; the worker was a small boy in head, not responding, just standing in one place. The second shop was great, he had used cords sent to here from Japan, the original was 19.5, the one I purchased in Guatemala was 18.5, and the one I got in Cote d’Ivoire was 18.5. This new one is again 19.5 and I think the additional volt will help it to start.
I am now on cord number four on this computer, averaging about 40 dollars per cord. This one cost 70 Cedis or about 40 Dollars.
Eric kept telling me he was hungry, so I finally said,
"Do you want money to eat?"
I gave him two Cedis, or about 1.25 to go eat, and I was finished with him following, or leading, hard to say. I would have found the shops, just would have been more asking people.
Relief and Laundry
Everything is going good here; the cleaning woman offered to clean my clothes, normally in Africa the only way to get this done is to have a girlfriend, so I was lucky, the other luck is more complicated to arrange. She wanted money before, so I gave her the laundry soap I had, it would do the 4 shirts and 5 pants three times, but I will never see the balance of soap, that is part of the pay, whether I agree or not she will keep the soap. She only wanted 5 Cedis, this is not cheap, but I am tired, I need a relief.
Solving Problems is Energy
The fatigue of travel is often the overwhelming amount of small insidious problems to solve in a day, I could never write and list out all the small situations that need solved in one day, it would take longer than living. The longer I stay, the less my energy is used to solve problem, this is why I often recommend people to stay 10 days, and almost always at least two, to move over day is the path to the Looney bin.
Every time I change cities, I must walk out into and open area, or up on the Hotel roof and take a GPS reading to log in, so I can make the map in the corner of the Blog change.
Koforidua Ghana Hotel called the Kes and Computer Cord