Hotel on the Beach, Castle, & Kakum Nat'l Park
Trip Start Jun 21, 2012
17Trip End Jul 21, 2012
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Cape Coast, founded by the Portuguese in the 15th century. It is right next to Atlantic Ocean. The Obama family visited there and it’s believed Michelle considers Cape Coast as her ancestral home. The 8 volunteers and I went in a van w/ a reliable driver at our own expense, which was $800 Cedi (about $412 in US dollars but divided by 9 meanin’ each of us paid about $46 for a round trip). Not bad, huh? Takin’ a trip to Cape Coast took us about 8 hours but we stopped at the mall in Accra for a break & dinner. The ride was not comfortable as it’s bumpy, so we got out to stretch out. I didn’t choose the mall but dat’s where the volunteers craved for American foods
However, on the bright side, I encountered a deaf Ghanaian (as agreed to meet at the mall beforehand) named Robert. He was introduced to me by an interpreter, Jariatou, in Austin. She happened to interpret at the doctor’s office where I got immunization shots before goin’ to Ghana. She is from Africa & told me about Robert. She said she’d contact him to help guide me around in Ghana. She asked me to give her gift to him. Told her by all means! So, dat’s how I met him at the mall! Can ya imagine how we met from far away where we live! He lives in Accra. We hit off good! Robert is a fine fellow dat ya’d easily talk w/. Did deliver the gift to him for Jariatou. He works for Nat’l Assoc. of the Deaf in Ghana and graduated from RIT but returned to his homeland 'cos he wanted to be of service for the Deaf Ghanaians as he knows they need his help
It wuz very late getting’ back to the road. Traffic! Bumper-to-bumper as Robert warned us. I hardly fell asleep ‘cos there were many stops, eh! There were many hawkers, or peddlers, along the highway & when the van went slow or stopped, they rushed to us. We didn’t buy one thing ‘cos we just wanted to get to the hotel, period. We eventually arrived at around midnight, or so. We stayed at the hotel on the beach, which wuz nice. I believe the last time I went to the beach was in 2010. Even it had AC! And hot shower! Back to our home based, where we’re stayin’, it doesn’t have ‘em. We stayed there for 2 nights for $75 in U.S
Robert wuz already there before us. We hugged and I also hugged for Jariatou, as she asked for. He wuz wearin’ a T-shirt dat I gave him the night before ‘Keep Austin Weird’! Nevertheless, he showed us around at the castle and explained me about it. It’s not his first time to guide us. He didn’t mind at all! He had friends visited him & took ‘em there, too. Not only about the castle, but he talked about what Ghana needs for the Deaf and wanted me to help him w/. He wished me to stay here longer than 4 weeks. Me, too! I’m not ready to return to the U.S….not just yet! Back to the castle, ya’d think the royalty lived there durin’ the slave trad. No. Outside the castle is all white and has cannons around it. Even the cannon balls were still laid on the ground nearby. I carefully picked up one of ‘em and it wuz VERY heavy
Inside the castle (below), there were separate dungeons for female & male slaves w/ small holes in the stone walls for air & light (no electricity at dat time & it wuz very dark) where the slaves were bonded, the drainages runnin’ downward to outside for the urine, feces, and water from the bath, small cells to punish ‘em, small windows w/ bars to prevent from their escape, and lastly two doors w/ the signs captionin’ ‘Door of No Return’. I imagined myself as a slave who might not know about the door as I shipped off to wherever I went.
I asked my Ghanaian interpreter, Gerard, and Robert about their ancestors if they were slaves, too. They said no ‘cos they lived up in north. Gerard’s ancestors lived in Wli, where the waterfall is, and when the Europeans came to capture peeps in Wli, they ran up the mountain w/out difficulty ‘cos they’re used to it, but not the Europeans. When they arrived at the top, they pushed huge rocks down the mountain & crushed ‘em. So, they never became the slaves. What an absorbin’ story! And they were lucky…
After the tour at the castle, I hugged Robert goodbye & thanked him for the tour
We were advised by Robert to leave for Kakum National Park early in the mawnin’, so we’d see animals down from the canopy walkway. I told the volunteers dat I’d knock their hotel room doors to wake up (all of ‘em except 2 are younger). One of ‘em said even better if I pour the water on ‘em. Oh, not me!
As promised, we left at 6:30 a.m. w/out a breakfast. I am a breakfast person BIG time, but I
had a granola bar w/ me. Better than nuthin’! It started rainin’. Oh, no! Don’t let it ruin for us, I thought
While I waited for the tour to commence, there was an exhibit of the rainforest. It
explained about preservin’ it and bein’ protected by the government. It includes over 40 species of mammals, over 200 species of birds, & over 400 species of butterflies. The exhibit was really informative & well-crafted.
We paid $15 Cedi (about $7.70 US) at the gate. The tour guide explained about safety
& rainforest. I didn’t have the interpreter w/ me at dat time, so the volunteer helped summarizin’ it up for me. I looked up the inclinin’ slope and up, up, up we climbed on a muddy, wet trail covered w/ decomposed foliage and rocks. I had to concentrate on the trail, or I’d fall down like I did durin’ my half marathon & got 5 stitches above my left eyebrow several years ago. Had a good pair of Chaco sandals so I managed it OK. We kept hikin’ up for good 30-45 minutes. The
rainforest wuz as dense and humid, but not hot, as the Wli Waterfalls where we went last week
We arrived at the ‘tree house’ where it started w/ a high canopy walkway (40 meter) and is connected to ‘other tree. I looked at it and said to myself, oh man! There are about 8 walkways suspended from tree to tree. Ya have to walk slowly and hold the ropes with your hand securely to keep yourself balanced. The ropes are above your shoulders, and if ya don’t hold or ya run, ya’d probably trip over the rope. No wonder the tour guide kept emphasizin’ the safety, when the volunteer interpreted. She said he kept repeatin’ it. Anyway, I stood in the middle of the
walkway and took a good look at the rainforest in distance, below the walkway, and in a panoramic way. The sight wuz breathtakin’. The only disappointment I had was no exotic animals in sight except butterflies and some birds in distance. If we started hikin’ much earlier, we’d probably see ‘em. I got myself soaked and the rainforest must have evaporated
We hiked back and took pics of yapok trees, palm trees, & other unidentifiable trees as well as tropical plants
have stood close to it, eh! At the end of the entrance, there wuz a stand where the man wuz sellin’ cocoas and coconuts. I asked for the coconut and the man used a long knife to chop off the top of the coconut. He made a hole of it for me to drink the coconut water w/ a straw. I
love anything w/ coconut: cake, ice cream, candy, cookie, & shower gel. One of the volunteers ordered the cocoa and it wuz slit open by the man. Inside there were almond-sized seeds filled with slime. I didn’t want to try it but she said it tasted good, so I took one seed and sucked it. Ya don’t eat it and dat’s how the seed is made for chocolate. I wuz told Ghana is #2 in the world for the best cocoa. Can ya believe I haven’t bought anything w/ the chocolate in Ghana? Maybe I will!
There wuz a quote on the T-shirt in the gift shop sayin’ ‘I survived the walkway’. The trip to
the Kakum Nat’l Park wuz memorable and if ya ever go to Ghana, go there! Happy hikin’ n viewin’!