Archive for June 4th, 2012

Ghana Day 5

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Breakfast at the butterfly sactuary was our most exotic yet. They just kept bringing us food. We pretty much rolled out of breakfast into a morning hike.

Again our day began with a hike. Actually, this was more like a walk in the woods, as the terrain was rather flat. Becky had expected the guide to be telling us about butterflies, but the interpretive talk was more about the different kind of trees in this forest. The area is protected, and several scientists are carrying out experiments on the growth patterns within the forest. Several times, we walked through taped areas where scientists were counting everything that grew.

With a full belly and some fresh air, Scott needed a nap – and you know, he can sleep anywhere!

Becky hiding being the interesting root of this huge tree.

After walking through the forest, we returned to the lodge via a road. At that point, we saw many different butterflies enjoying the sun on the road. The colours were often rather vibrant.

We had only a short drive to get to our destination for the evening, so we asked Fofo to bring us someplace where Scott could get a haircut. We ended up on the edge of Kumasi, where Scott had his cheapest haircut ever – less than $2 including a generous tip. The stylist really wanted to shave a pattern in Scott’s head, but Scott resisted. Unfortunately, this place was not open – we were very curious about the brass band. The people in the shop were very interested in coming to Canada, and wanted to know how to get in.  Scott explained that going to school and becoming a doctor or engineer was probably the easiest way, which didn’t really excite them.
Tonight’s logding was at Lake Bosomtwe – Lake Point Guesthouse. We had a nice little cabana, with a ceiling fan (which was unfortunate as it often just pushed the hot air down). The rooms were clean and quite nice. The food at the restaurant was pretty good too. More importantly, there were MTN towers nearby so our Internet felt lightening fast!
Lake Bosomtwe (also Bosumtwi or Bosumtwe) is Ghana’s only large natural lake, and was created by a meteor impact.  It is currently about 80m deep, and the size varies dramatically with rainfall and evaporation. In the warm afternoon, we thought we might enjoy a swim in the Lake. Given its size and depth, we expected a nice cool swim, unlike swimming pools in Ghana which are too warm to be refreshing. Just before we began to wade in, some German tourists mentioned to us that it was “like a bathtub”. Now, this is a term we use to describe a swimming pool that is luke-warm, or warmer than it should be for a refreshing swim. We waded in and found the water was actually HOT. It was almost warm enough to be a jacuzzi!  A very odd sensation, wading in a huge lake of hot water!
We saw many people fishing from wooden plank boats, which looked quite tricky – we learned later that the local religion forbids metal touching the lake, so fishing from metal boats is prohibited.
Since there was no chance of a refreshing swim in such warm water, we headed back to our room for a cool shower, and spent the afternoon enjoying the fast Internet. The resort itself didn’t have Internet, but there was an MTN tower close by, so Becky’s phone was getting remarkably fast Internet, such that both of us could use our iPads on the Internet at the same time, using Becky’s phone as a Wifi hotspot.

Images of Rural Ghana

Monday, June 4th, 2012

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Most of the vehicles in Ghana have arrived here from somewhere else, after they ended their ‘useful life’ there. This one is clearly from Korea based on the stencilling.

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Using older vehicles is a good form of re-use, and is cost effective, but it also means breakdowns are common. Repairs commonly occur along the side of the road, although I did see one tow truck a few days ago.

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As you can see from some of the earlier photos, main roads in Ghana are often quite good, paved with asphalt,. Holes and cracks are common though, and are often patched with dirt rather than asphalt. Seeing a steamroller being used to tamp down dirt patches is a bit surreal, but I’m guessing some road engineer did do some analysis on this at one point. We have seen it in more than one place anyway…

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Many of the side roads are considerably worse, without a proper road-bed, drainage or grading.

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Ghana is a very religious nation, with many Christian churches present, especially evangelical and charismatic denominations. Many businesses names have religious connotations, which can make for some interesting advertising.

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I’m not entirely sure what this business is selling, but it sure sounds interesting.

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As with other tropical countries we’ve visited, markets are on the streets, with small huts at the roads edge used for more expensive merchandise, and mobile vendors walking around and hawking their wares.

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At stop lights, toll booths and other stops, vendors approach cars offering anything from food and produce to shoes, coat racks and sun glasses.

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Outside of town, people set up along the road, either in permanent stands or just sit with their goods. This was one stand among many selling identical looking clay pots and wooden mortars along one stretch of highway.

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In areas growing lots of palm trees, palm oil was popular at the roadside too.

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There are many more taxis on the road in Ghana, if you see a car, there’s a good chance it will be a taxi.

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Some taxis are packed with more interesting goods than others.

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And even with all the taxis, hand carts are still frequently used for larger goods.

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Painting a house is expensive, and companies will offer to paint the house as long as they can decide on the color scheme, then use it for advertising.

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Fan makes yummy frozen treats which are sold by bicycle with a freezer compartment on the handlebars. My favorite is the Fan yogo, Becky likes the vanilla ice cream better.

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And yes, the kids are cute in Ghana too, with many of them waving or shouting as we pass by.