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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Ghana - 24 November, 2000



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Bush campsite (~50 km north of Tamale) N0950.825' W00051.884' 128 m  
Finish Kumasi (Presbyterian Church grounds) N0641.307' W00137.278' 331 m 451 km


11,622 km


Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny and very hot (40+).  Brief rain showers in the afternoon.  Cool in the evening and night.



Daily Journal Entry:

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We have a long drive ahead of us as we want to make it to Kumasi by the evening, so we are up early and depart our bush camp by 7:30 AM.  But we do get a chance to watch a great sunrise as we pack up the campsite.


We arrive in Tamale, the largest city in the north of Ghana, shortly after 8 AM.  As it is our turn to cook, we need to do shopping for the next few meals.  But first we need to change some money as we are now out of the CFA Franc region.  We find a bank open - they are very efficient and we have no problems changing our US dollars (including travelers checks).  But the problem is in the amount of notes we have to carry.  We change US$600 - part kitty and part our own money - and we get an exchange rate of Cedis 6,700 per US dollar.  The largest Cedis note denomination, however, is 5,000.  So, as they gave us some 5,000 and 2,000 notes, you can imagine the stack of bills that we got back.  No way we could fit it in our pocket, so we had to put it in the shopping bags.  We decided that we would have to walk back to the truck as we did not want to shop in the markets with a 2 foot high stack of notes.


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Well, we finally got our shopping done - not too much in the markets, and we headed on our way south at 10:20 AM.  People continued to find ways to sleep on the truck and it brought some people closer together.


After a quick sandwich stop by the side of the road (by the way, the bread changed from baguettes to loaf bread when we went from the former French areas to the former British areas - amazing the influences that carry on.  Also, are the signs are now in English), we continued on our way.  As we drove along, it was interesting to note the change in the vegetation.  It has become much more tropical and the vegetation has become much more lush.  In fact, it looks very much like the countryside in Malaysia (and South East Asia), other than the mud brick huts.  As we drove through the towns, we were reminded very much of the Philippines.  Similar vegetation, and now we are in a Christian areas, where they openly display their religious feelings in the signs and references to things Christian.


Early evening we arrived in Kumasi and struggled through the heaviest traffic we have seen so far in Africa.  It was not as bad as what we have in places like Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta, but it did bring back some bad memories of being stuck in traffic for hours in those places.  As we were driving through the city, we saw thousands of bats flying off from a zoological garden - we assume going off to feed for the night.


At 6:30 PM we arrived at the Asante Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Kumasi - we wanted to stay in the church grounds (which are quite large).  But at first they did not want to let us stay as they had a funeral in the morning - and the wake was going on that evening.  But as it was so late and we had no where else to go, we prevailed in the end, and we were able to stay (but we had to leave before 6:30 AM the next morning).


We had to prepare dinner tonight.  As we could not find too much in the market, we kept it simple and made penne arrabiata (but with macaroni rather than penne) with garlic bread.  It was great (even if we say so ourselves).  We then set up our tent, took a shower and got ready for bed.  The only problem was that they really know how to throw a wake.  They went all night, with load music, singing, dancing and crying.  But as we were there guests, that was the way it was and we slept as much as we could.







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