A Travellerspoint blog

Ghana

Christmas Comes Early in Sunyani

semi-overcast 32 °C

Here we are just 5 degrees north of the equator sitting by the hotel pool under a tropical sun in 32 degrees heat listening to ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Joy to the world’, over the poolside speakers. Christian Ghanaians are deeply religious as can be seen from this billboard in Accra…
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But Sunyani in central Ghana is a world away from Accra. It is a relatively small community surrounded by jungle, tentacles of which creep right into the centre of the city. But at its heart it is a bustling hive of activity where taxis of all ages and colours reign supreme...
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We have spent the past two days getting to know some of the locals in Sunyani. Here is Samuel, a tailor, who has been working in his tiny shop for the past 40 years…
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It takes Samuel two weeks to cut and stitch a bespoke jacket from fine cloth and he charges a modest $50. Wages are low in Sunyani and many people live in poor conditions, but they are surrounded by colourful scenes…
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Under this beautiful tree on one of the main streets we found a stall laden with fresh fruit. While this bag salesman has his goats to keep him company…
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And this is Filomena…
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Filomena and her German born husband sell all kinds of cloth from their store and there was a time when most of it was manufactured in Ghana. However, times have changed in Ghana just as in the rest of the world, and today most of the cloth they sell originates in China. Ironically, the imported cloth is about half the price of the locally produced material.

In contrast to Filomena’s well stocked shop, the roadsides are littered with numerous makeshift stalls where all kinds of everyday products and foods can be bought for peanuts. Here is an underwear stall…
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While this inventive shoe salesman has set up his display of runners on the railings at an intersection…
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Sunyani is a picture which isn’t always pretty, but the people are friendly and our hotel is very nice. We have much more to see and do in Sunyani but for the next four days we will be deep in the bush at a game reserve in northern Ghana. We hope to return to the internet next Tuesday with tales of adventure among the elephants, baboons and warthogs of Mole National Park – see you then.

Posted by Hawkson 12:27 Archived in Ghana Comments (3)

Accra - Not Recommended by Blissful Adventures

semi-overcast 31 °C

Culture shock is a phenomenon rarely experienced by us but Accra, the capital of Ghana, took us by surprise in spite of Sheila’s previous experiences. According to the Travellerspoint Travel Guide Accra is considered one of Africa’s most developed cities where old colonial architecture stands alongside modern resorts, developed to welcome the growing tourist industry. So we took a taxi to visit the colonial buildings, many of which now form part of the Makol market…
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Unfortunately we never got into the market’s chaotic parking lot because of congestion, but we had to pay the parking fee anyway to get out of the line up. We did however manage to snap a few photos of the marketers on the fringe of the action…
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After our aborted trip to the market we went to Accra’s number one tourist spot, the Nkrumah monument. Here we were enthusiastically waved into a parking space by a dozen shady characters who were aggressively demanding that we should visit their souvenir shops. We fled without visiting the monument and headed for one of the exclusive modern resorts on the beach for lunch – oh dear! Twenty dollars for one club sandwich plus 6% service fee for daring to use a credit card. The food wasn’t great but the restaurant's wildlife was interesting…
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When you are paying $500 a night or more for a beach resort you might want to swim in the ocean – but not in Accra where the shore is bordered by thousands of shanties without any sanitation apart from the sea, and the beaches are littered with garbage and old tyres. However, these local fishermen seemed happy enough as they mended their nets…
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While all hotel prices are ridiculously expensive in Accra be aware that the price quoted is for single occupancy only, (even if you book a double or suite). A second occupant will cost at least 20% more, not to mention the extra $7.50 for breakfast of a fried egg with dry toast and a cup of Nescafe. Outrageous – but not as bad as the taxi driver who, after failing to get us into the market or Accra’s No1 attraction, demanded $100 US for his services.
We have now left the madness of Accra for the sanity of Sunyani, a delightful small city in central Ghana, but not before the waitress at the airport restaurant in Accra blatantly added 50% to the already expensive bill by falsely claiming that she had inadvertently given us old menus.
Sorry Accra, but if your aim is to attract tourists you need to clean up your streets, clean up your beaches, charge sensible prices, and take some some lessons from Morocco on how to treat guests.

Posted by Hawkson 06:27 Archived in Ghana Comments (5)

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