June 02, 1998

Ghana: Happy Days Spot, Winneba

Eating: Fufu or rice balls, with pepper sauce and (surprisingly good, if suspicious-looking) fish bits. Coconuts. Pineapples. Avocados. Bananas & plantains. Green oranges.

Sleeping: Massive amounts, generally 9PM-8AM, believe it or not. On foam beds that might be uncomfortable if I wasn't exhausted. Tonight's bed has Coventry City Football Club sheets and pillowcases, for that extra dollop of surrealism.

Listening: To African music, which has some cool rhythm & bass going on under the sickly-sweet. Hymns sung on the street, and in one of the countless churches (still not sure if Christianity absorbed animism or the other way around, but on the surface, at least, it's a curious melange - Jesus-as-talisman). World Cup fever building on the radio.

Walking: Everywhere. Klicks, maybe 10 a day, just roving around Accra's urban sprawl. My 10-pound sandals would still be a great deal if - God forfend - they fell apart tomorrow.

LP describes Winneba as "pleasant," and they got it in one: not "superb," maybe, but a good place to chill.

Come to think of it, you could describe all of Ghana that way: on the other hand, I've been seeking low-strain activity. Spent a couple of days roving around Kumasi, eating cheap Fan Milk ice cream and running into the same Dutch couple (nice people) wherever I went. Status as cultural capital is overstated, but a nice town.

Took train from Kumasi to Accra, which was cheap but tedious, as it stopped at every little village - and sometimes for no apparent reason at all - and took 18 hours to get there. Evangelists and snake-oil salesmen roved up and down the train, and the usual assortment of cargo, dead and alive, was carried on and off. Splurged at the Novotel - a 9-pound meal, a price which seemed absolutely appalling, but I credit-carded it so it doesn't count.

Spent a few nights at the nice-and-cheap YMCA (seemed even nicer when I went over to the Bellevue hotel for an excellent draft beer and a German man told me how his luggage was stolen) in a dorm room with John Akefesone, a nice guy who was theoretically doing his national service but who pleaded malaria with his boss every morning and spent the day shooting the shit with his friend.

Shopping in Shell stations for luxuries. Power cuts every night, and the hum of generates rises above the city. The Ghanaians like their music LOUD.

Caught up on my e-mail, looked for CAR updates - little news, none of it good - wrote & sent postcards, wandered & lazed, chatted with fellow-travellers, dodged scam-artists ("I'm from Vancouver! Come change money on the black market!"). We're supposed to be in rainy season, but only one downpour, a week ago in Kumasi. Lake Volta is at record lows, hence the energy crisis and power cuts.

Tomorrow, day-trip to Cape Coast & Elmina. Next day to Kokrobite, and I expect the truck will catch up with me there.

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