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Saturday, October 26, 2019

GREGARIOUS GHANA


After 3 nights camped in Chloe’s driveway it is time to tackle another border. GR2 really doesn’t want to leave- she is sluggish. Goodness when did we last get new truck batteries! John charges her up and we are off. 100km of flat, water drenched countryside and we are at the border. And what a pleasure. Easy peasy! Stamped out then stamped in to Ghana. Bonus: they speak English here.

We head along the coast, but rain sets in. Villages are sloshing in water. Will this wet season never end? The main road (so far) is pretty good, but the side roads terrible – all water logged, potholed tracks. So, we decide it is pointless exploring the beaches. At one point we slip down a short track to get to the beach but are stopped in our tracks by low overhanging wires. Whoops! The road sadly deteriorates to pot holes making it slow going. Time to stop, so we decide to head to Ko-Sa Beach Resort – the place that gave us our letter of invitation. It is owned by a Dutch couple – and what a magic surprise, especially after squeezing through a scruffy village and manovering through mudpuddles. The place is right on a lovely strip of beach and is quite magical. A perfect spot to relax. We spend a lovely evening in the restaurant with Lillian from Denmark. A newly minted doctor who is on a short break.

No rain in the night and sunshine in the morning. After a swim – John says the surf had more debris than anywhere else – a mix of plastic bags, bottles, car parts, nappies. Glad I just wandered the beach! Time to head on to the big smoke at Accra, but first a detour out to Elmina (named for the gold mine that was here) There is a road in and another out. Naturally the road we take in is in very bad shape & it goes straight through the massive fishing village on market day. And  the markets are overflowing on to the streets. Very action packed. We park at Elmina Castle and explore. The guide is compulsory so we get the full drama of the disgusting slave trade that happened here for over 200 years. As we exit, we meet some people doing a documentary, and before I know it John becomes a movie star yet again. Boy does he love it!

The plan is to get to Accra today. We want new batteries, a grease & oil change, hopefully tyres and to visit an Embassy. By the end of the day we have new batteries, but it will be dark soon so we head to the beach and stay right beside a restaurant/bar. A surprisingly quiet night – the sound of surf drowns out traffic noise and the music stops early.  A mechanic is due at 7am to do the grease & oil change right here, but a change of plans means at 8.30 we head to the centre of the city to get it done at “kerbside repairs” Which it literally is! Way too many hours later we leave. On to the Nigerian Embassy to check borders (not really very helpful), then the Angolan Embassy to apply for visas. The online stuff looks complicated! And Rosie the consulate is unbelievably helpful and gives us a list of things to collect. Then on to a huge tyre shop – Bonus – they can get our tyres. Feeling very pleased with ourselves we head back to our beach front spot.

Another quiet night and another busy day. Collect our application letter from the Language University that has been translated in to Portuguese, front up at the Embassy, pay the fees at the bank, drop deposit slips back to the Embassy, finally off to collect those tyres! By now it is much later than anticipated and of course the traffic is again all snarled up, so instead of heading north to the lake we return to our beach spot. They wave madly as we arrive.

In the morning we head north. The usual traffic, markets everywhere, kids off to school – all the usual mayhem. Before heading north on quiet roads. We see baboons, lots of tropical bush and acres of banana, pawpaw’s & mango trees that are dripping with fruit.

Then there are the bread sellers…100’s of them. How many loaves can you fit on your head? We arrive before lunch, and what a delightful find. We can camp right beside the lake on green grass. We may well put down roots and stay. After an explore of the village we book a boat trip, but when it is time to leave a storm rolls in with a heavy downpour. Oh well not today! At 7am the next morning we head off up the river. A lovely ride to the dam passing lots of jungle, fishing pirogues & villages. We pay “tourist” prices and the local villagers say “Gimme the money!”  When we had gone to walk across the bridge there was a tourist charge - needless to say we declined. And many of the police at their stops ask “What have you got for me?”. John, always says “a big smile” then laughs and drives off.  

Time to return to Accra to collect our passports. Our visas are ready & we are glad to finally leave Accra behind us. In our various quests we have managed to see a lot of the city. It is Friday, so naturally there is traffic congestion. Actually, I think there is always traffic congestion, as we manage 20km in the first hour. Finally, open road. But there are always new challenges. One of our brand-new tyres blows out - we must have run over some debris on the road…. what a bummer. And then an accident closing the road through a town. We can even see flames! Finally, we crawl down back tracks and make it to Christy’s Guesthouse just as it gets dark. We are in noise range of an Evangelical revival meeting (these are very popular here) – so go to sleep with one blaring and then another at daybreak.

Today, we will tackle Togo.

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