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


This guy Doug Lansky says,
“The traveler is the one who constantly pushes themselves out of their comfort zone as often as humanly possible.”

I feel a little different, I believe traveler accepts that travel is uncomfortable, while he is more or less saying, i go in an out of comfort.


I am using the this word as defined here:

(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.)

There are many complicated cultures in Africa, there are many complicated problems and they knock heads and the continent makes slow progress, if any, and then even recedes. Just a few minutes ago a Ghana person was bragging about Democracy in Ghana, and better than Cote d'Ivoire.

I personally believe the economies were peaking when they got independence from colonization and have been economically going down, not up.

I like these countries because they are primitive and confusing, and incredibly simple views of the world.


I have lived in Ghana, Togo, Benin and Cote d'Ivoire, my first choice is Togo, the second is Cote d'Ivoire third is Ghana, but I love Benin, but too primitive for a lengthy stay.

There is no reason to change Ghana, or truly spend a lot of time learning, all this is just normal cultural fatigue.


Hey, I have been to east, south and north Africa. I like reading about your travels. Need to check west Africa out. Thanks for your descriptions. wtr7


The wheat couscous dish looks delicious! Never heard of cassava couscous so if you find it please take a photo to share. Very NOSTALGIC the old Beatles song and lyrics I'm reading the non-fiction "Old Gods Not yet Dead" about the Rolling Stones which has reminded me of so many old songs, lyrics and influencing factors which formed my view and rejection of the "West". I've always preferred "dirt and disorder" over "picture perfect and regulated" societies and cultures as I just feel more FREE.

Since reading this series of your travel blog I have checked out the geography of West Africa more than I ever have before and the number of lakes, rives and coastal areas have sparked my interest. I read a Time magazine article recently about Chinese University students who graduated from USA schools and their future plans. One grad mentioned skipping the few years working for corporate America and going back to start their own companies in China and go DIRECTLY to west Africa to start up a business as he thought the NEW frontier with probable economic explosive growth is there.

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