Wednesday, October 26, 2016

12. My trip within a trip: Kumasi

February 8, 2007

Oh, Ghana. You make everything so difficult. This is my fourth time in a computer lab in the past 24 hours trying to post a blog. But alas, it takes 15 minutes to load a single picture. And I can only post horizonal pictures, since there is NO WAY to rotate them on this bizarre computer. And I can only log onto myspace in Italian. (Ciaoooo...) If I try to complain about anything like this here, people just shrug their sholders and smile, "Well, that's Ghana!" Just as my friend Juliet would say, "Whatcha gonna do?" :)

So I'm in the middle of my trip-within-my-trip, travelling solo for 10 days around the Central and Northern regions of Ghana. You have to really want to travel somewhere over here, because it is very difficult to get around on public transportation! It takes forever and a day, it's very uncomfortable (my tailbone has finally recovered from a tro-tro ride a couple days ago), the roads are horrible, and you get just coated in dirt on the journey. But I'm determined to see more of this country, dammit!! First I went to Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region. It's known for its traffic jams, non-stop funerals (they're big celebrations), and for being the home of the proud Ashanti people. Luckily I met up with Kelvin's brother Eric who lives here, so he helped show me around!

Here's a basic street shot here. I find Kumasi a lot prettier than Accra...

I visited the Kejatia market, which is the biggest open air market in all West Africa. It's quite interesting yet overwhelming, with something like 10,000 traders in this labyrinth of stalls selling everything from locally-made sandals to cow heads. I attracted way too much attention there just walking around, and the people freaked out if I even took out my camera. This picture here pretty much sums up the experience!

Here's an overview of just PART of the market to give you an idea of the size...
OMG I love the FABRICS!

I've loved learning about the local culture and traditions, because they are so different than anything I've learned about before. For example, in 1900 when the British had control of Ghana they demanded the Ashanti king to hang over the Golden Stool. Which is still seen as the source of his power and really the spirit of the Ashanti people. So insulted, they made a copy of it and handed it over to the British, who didn't realize until later that it was a fake. Here's a quick photo I snapped of the decoy stool at the museum. (The real one is hidden away at the palace)

I also visited the small town of Bonwire outside of Kumasi, where Kente cloth originated. I took a weaving class in college, so I really respected how intricate and complicated the whole process was. Unfortunately my budget for this little trip is so tight, I couldn't really buy anything! Here's Mr. Duck checking out on of the looms...

Currently Reading: "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami. Considering my last blog was about the real versus imaginary, this book couldn't be any more on target...

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