Ghana, Day 1 continued

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Flag of Ghana  ,
Monday, February 13, 2012

As soon as the MV Explorer docked in Tema a gaggle of immigration officials boarded the ship and started stamping our passports. It about 3hours, in that time Sheriff Ghale, our Ghanaian musician played some last songs before he left us for home. My favorite songs were the Ghanaian songs and a song he composed with Paul Muldoon, the ship's poet and a mean "Fact or Crap" and “Quidller” player.

Once the ship had been cleared for disembarkment we braved the heat, walked through the port and taxi haggled for 10 minutes. Finally we found a driver, Louis, who was willing to drive up and down the Ghanaian coast with us for 3 days. Before departing Tema we drove by his house to pick up his clothes, getting to see another side of Tema. First destination was a hotel near the Cape Castles. For two hours we chugged through Accra traffic, then we broke free and the next 2 hair raising hours we alternated going between 0 and 60 miles, with very little between. We were on the main road that threads through all the coastal towns. They are lined with stalls and hawkers selling everything from bushpigs to phone cards, from bras to ornately decorated funeral caskets.

After 3.5 hours we got to the Cape Coast Castle, we were the only tourists there. We had outraced the other Semester at Sea students. This would be the last tourist spot we would have to ourselves, from now on there would always be small groups of Semester at Sea students and life long learners around, quite reassuring really.

The tour of the castle was totally depressing. How can people treat each other that badly. We went down into the dark dungeons where they kept up to a 1,000 Africans, sometimes for as long as 3 months, while they waited for the slave ships to arrive. The dungeons were the size of the Amazonian concrete blocks we stayed in and housed up to 250 people per room. I would not have survived more than a week.  A tunnel funneled the male and female slaves to loading docks, where they were forced upon the slave ships. More than 60% of the slaves died before they reached the Americas. Besides being very depressing it was also very hot and humid, which some how made it all the more real.

Emotionally drained we set off to find a hotel I had seen on the internet, We went the wrong way, but even before we could get worried or agitated we saw a sign for the “Stumble Inn’’.  It sounded good and so we stumbled in to our new home for the next 2 days. The Stumble Inn was very cute place right next to the beach, about $25 for the cottage Dianne and I had. We took many photos so I don’t have to write much more. The bar had Savanna’s and Star beers, our bed had mosquito netting and we could see the stars and palms from the outside shower. We slept all night and only heard the waves breaking on the beach. Not a single mosquito disturbed our sleep.

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