Goodbye Via Kakum National Forest
February 25th, 2008 by INMED
Posted in Uncategorized|
Well, today was the day of tourism fun! We got up early, so we could be at Kakum National Forest right when it opened at 8am. We figured we’d get a taxi, it’d cost us like 10 Ghana Cedi, and that would be that. Well, turns out, since the taxis know that they have the tourists cornered out here, they charge 30 ghana cedi for the trip!! Highway robbery. We make a deal with the driver to take us to Kakum, wait for us, and then take us to Elmina after that, all for 35 ghana cedi. If for nothing else than convenience and ease of mind, it was mostly worth it….
Kakum was awesome! It is this national forest, which is obviously all rainforest. The canopy walk was built in 1994 by some people from Vancouver BC as a tourist attraction. It stands about 20meters above the forest floor, and is a series of planks of wood connected between wood platforms built around tree trunks, all suspended with cables and ropes. Not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure! We ended up doing it with our own guide and a couple from Holland, which was a ton of fun. Encountered another Ghanian who wanted to know if we were married…par for the course! We got some excellent pictures too.
We then headed south to the coast, where we visited the Elmina castle. It was built by the Portugese, then captured by the Dutch, then captured by the British, then given over to the Ghanians in 1957, the year they got their independence from the British. The history is absoutely flooring, and the conditions these people were made to live in were totally inhumane to say the least. We got a tour of the castle, and got to learn about the history, which made the experience even better. Plus, being on the coast, it’s just totally different here. There’s a breeze (praise the Lord!), and it smells like salt water, and there are fishing boats (hand-carved) everywhere. Again, we have some great pictures.
Then we caught a taxi over to the Cape Coast castle, which was more of the same (not that it lessens the experience, I just don’ t have much additional to say about it), situated in a little bit different of a setting. We got to see the famous “Door of No Return” in that castle, and go through it and back into the castle again, which is pretty symbolic. Again, more great pictures, and more tales of just absolute torture that these people endured. We learned today that the Ghanians that have more european last names are named thus because they are descendents of babies born to slaves who were raped by the colonists. Those mulattos think of themselves as superior to the purely African people, and there’s a little bit of a hierarchy because of it. So interesting, I never knew that. We learned a bunch more about women in slavery, and different destinies for different women, depending on the mercy of the men, but I won’t write about it, for those of you who don’t want to read about it. Maybe you.
We found out our next STC bus (oh the adventure) to Accra leaves at 1pm tomorrow. We have to be at the airport by 930pm for our 1130pm flight to London. You would think that was plenty of time, but as our experiences have gone thus far, we’re not so sure. It was either 1pm or 4am, and we figured it’d be better on our general senses of well being not to have pulled essentially an all-nighter before embarking on our London adventure! Seeing as we’re both people who don’t do well emotionally on little sleep, I’m thinking we were right! So you all can cross your fingers and pray that we don’t get delayed enough tomorrow that we miss our flight!! I’m sure that missing a flight out of Africa would be an adventure, but it’s not one that either of us is excited about embarking upon at this point… 🙂
Here’s to a relaxing evening (we’re going to eat at the restaurant at our botel, and there’s supposed to be this massive bird arrival to a tree right outside the open air restaurant), and a successful trip to Accra tomorrow. Love to all of you!!!