Trip Start Apr 27, 2009
Trip End Aug 11, 2009

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Flag of Ghana  ,
Sunday, May 17, 2009

In Ghana, you wake up at 5:30. Every day. You may go back to sleep later, but the cacophonous combination of the country's roosters, hens, and other assorted avian inhabitants will surely rouse you from your slumber.
Today, we elected to get up. You see, human life in Ghana also starts at 5:30, and in a country where public transport leaves when it's full, you'd best get to the bus station the same time as everyone else. We stumble out of the cab at the station, four yavoos (white people) and are immediately surrounded by men asking where we're going. We are directed to a tro for Hohoe and not too long after, pull out of the station.
Today's object is Wli Falls, West Africa's highest waterfall (not that this is saying much) located about two and a half hours from Ho. We are the morning's first visitors, arriving at the entrance around nine. We pay our entrance fees and are assigned a guide for the easy walk in. The guides are a new thing, after a drunk drowned in the falls a few years ago. Our guide, stellar guy that he was, napped on a bench the whole time we were there and would have been useless had life-saving measures been called for. At the conclusion of the trip, after merely walking in front of us on a well marked path for an hour and a half and engaging in absolutely no conversation, he demanded a tip before we had even reached the trailhead. As I said, stellar guy.
During the 45-minute walk to the falls, we all appreciate nature and being away from the city for a change. The smell rising up from the earth is reminiscent of Bolivia (though drier) and the last time I was in the jungle. I miss my cat.
Eventually, we reach the falls. We snap a few photos and then, being hot and sweaty, it's time for a swim! The water is the perfect temperature: refreshing, but warm enough that you could stay in all day. I wade towards the crashing sheets of water, constantly afraid that the ground I'm walking on is going to fall out from beneath me with another step. It's an intimidating thing, walking into a waterfall. Eventually, the spray becomes too much, and I have to turn my back to the falls to keep going. I realize I'm forgetting to breathe. Adrenaline is coursing through my system (I'm not sure walking into the center of West Africa's highest waterfall is the best life choice I could be making) and I can't decide if the loss of breath comes from fear (I'm surprisingly scared by all this, while at the same time thinking it's amazingly cool (!!)) or a water-boarding effect - I am surrounded by so much spray that my body thinks it is drowning and has jettisoned the act of inhalation as a survival technique.
Finally, the boys manage to change into their swim trunks and join me. Together, we will try to make it to the back side of the falls, see if we can't find a pot of gold or some hidden fairies.
The direct approach does not work. We get as close to the center as possible, insane amounts of water crashing all around us, and then chicken out and float away from the falls to tackle them from the side. After a few failed attempts, we succeed. Being behind the falls is pretty cool, but we find disappointingly few fairies or pieces of gold. We paddle around in the refreshing pool a while longer, dry off in the sun, and head back to Ho.
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