20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog


Is this Africa? Where have all the touts gone? The good news (for me) is that it's 5 degrees cooler here in Ghana, the bad news is that the humidity has shot through the roof so I'm sweating more than ever.

Not sure if it's good or bad timing but It's independence day today, I've bought a bus ticket to go to a national park where I should finally see some big animals but being a national holiday the place might be packed and even worse the only accommodation in the park could be full.

I turned up for the bus at the alloted reporting time and I can't remember the last time I saw so many white faces, this was going to be an "Obroni" bus. The bus station was as chaotic as anywhere in Africa, I don't really know why I expected it to be otherwise. The bus company running the bus to Mole had the very back of the station and had to reverse their buses in, quite often running luggage and people over in the process. I had a sudden panic that with all the foreigners getting the bus to Mole that I wouldn't get any accommodation when I got there. This plus the fact that the station had no shade made me seriously consider getting anothre hotel room in the town and waiting a few days before going to the park. I was actually walking out of the bus station when I decided to ring the Park Motel to see if they had room. The number in the LP was wrong but my young guardian angel popped out of no-where to give me the correct one. When I called they said that I couldn't reserve the dorm but they had a room at 36Cedi which is quite expensive. Guardian Angel said that I should take the bus and stay in the town of Larabanga just before the park so I returned to the chaos. Eventually the right bus arrived and everyone got on. Someone pointed out that the tickets had a set number on them but in general people were just sitting where they liked. Then the inevitable happened and someone insisted on sitting in their seat, queue a huge game of musicless chairs. By pure chance I was actually sitting in the right seat and was joined by a very good looking but also very loud Texan woman - I was in for a fun trip.

I missed an opportunity to capture a classic "You Tube Moment" when two vendor girls had a scrap outside my window, I could see it coming, they were arguing over something and having a bit of a push and shove but as they both had their wares on their heads couldn't get too physical. Then the biscuit seller took her basket off and put it down and took a big swipe at the water seller, her basket went flying and every bag of water she had burst on the ground. Now unhindered she immediately fought back and a lot of hair pulling, bra stretching and slapping later they went flying into the basket of biscuits which disintegrated into a large mess of confectionary on the road under the bus. They were eventually separated and the water seller was dragged away. The biscuit girl started the mammoth task of rebuilding her cookie mountain, I had wondered how they managed to stack them so high, now I got a front row demonstration. My new Texan friend wasn't happy tat I didn't point the fight out to her until it was nearly over.

The bus wasn't looking like leaving and the heat inside was stifling, when I realised that at least 5 other buses had reversed infront of our bus and we were gridlocked I got off and stood in the shade of the bus. I think we finally got out at about 4pm, only 2 hours late.

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