Posts Tagged ‘Ghana’

Cedi Beads

One of the best areas for bead shopping in Ghana is the Odumase-Krobo area, a string of villages that stretches from Somanya to Kpong in the Eastern Region.

Cedi Beads isn’t far from the Agomanya market, maybe 20 minutes away.  Even with the help of the beautifully hand-painted sign, the turnoff is easy to miss if you’re not watching carefully.

The grounds were very pretty. Photography is encouraged.

Cedi Beads isn’t mechanized in any way.  This is another local industry that produces traditional crafts without the aid of electricity.

There are several workshops, again open air but covered with tin roofs.

In each area there were three or four people working on one of the beadmaking processes.

After an initial flurry of picture taking of the grounds and buildings right after our arrival, we settled here in the plastic chairs for the beginning of the beadmaking tour.


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Agomanya Market

One of the best areas for bead shopping in Ghana is the Odumase-Krobo area, a string of villages that stretches from Somanya to Kpong in the Eastern Region. The village of Agomanya has a twice-weekly large bead market, a pilgrimage I had to make.

Saturday Sammy drove us to the Agomanya bead market.

From Somanya to Agomanya, just as the Bradt guide said, it was a string of villages with no separation between them. I liked the area very much.

One small portion of the large and busy Agomanya market

The Agomanya market was very busy and animated.

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In Accra’s Makola Market area, we checked out a number of cloth shops. No luck finding any gauze cotton material I was hoping for so I could get a pair of pants made, so after asking at a half dozen shops, I gave up.

Vendor displaying the olive batik cloth that I bought.

A lot of the currently popular wax prints I didn’t care for, either the design or the color, but finally Edna showed me to one area where there were a half dozen cloth sellers that had some batiks and prints I really liked. Prices for 4 yards of a good quality batik was 8 cedis (roughly US$3 a yard). I ended up buying three different batik pieces for Edna to make me tunics.

We then went to Edna’s shop where I picked up the clothing I had given her for repairs and alterations a few days before when she came to the house to take my measurements. She hemmed my wrapper while I waited.  In a few days, when the tunics which she would make with the cloth bought today are finished, she would bring them to the house.

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Checking in to the Mole Motel

As soon as Stanley parked the Land Rover, I got my first glimpse of wildlife:  a trio of warthogs grazing as peacefully as pet rabbits about three feet away from the open reception room door.

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As hogs go, I think they’re rather cute. Still, I wouldn’t want an angry one chasing me. I kept my distance.

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And this, my friends, is what a 10x zoom is good for.

Not as exciting as elephants, but it was pretty cool nevertheless. And my, what long eyelashes you have.

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Dorm rooms at the Mole Motel.

The motel was a squatty cement block of institutional ugliness in the beautiful wilderness. What a crime! The single rooms were taken, so I ended up with a three-bed dorm room all to myself.

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The one amenity at the Mole Motel is a sparkling pool right next to the dining area which I couldn’t wait to get into.  But for the moment, that would have to wait.

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The view from the escarpment on which the Mole Motel is built.

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And then I saw my first elephant in the wild.  I barely managed to get one shot off before he disappeared back into the bush. But even with the 10x zoom, this is all I could get. He was that far away.  No? You don’t see him?

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How about now?  The nice thing about shooting at the highest resolution is you can crop and blow up parts of a photo, and it’s almost as if you had a longer zoom. It wasn’t until I did that that I could see the elephant’s tusk.

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Anyone who comes to the park with a four wheel drive vehicle can take a driving safari. You only have to pay a fee, and you must be accompanied by a park ranger. There are walking tours, also, but as my idol Mae West used to say, never walk when you can drive.

[This post has been abbreviated. The full story is in the Travels in Ghana e-book available at Amazon and Smashwords.]

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The Bumpy Road to Mole

Day six of the Ghana road trip:  we arrive at Mole National Park.

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From the Sawla junction to the main entrance of Mole (pronounced MO-leh, not like the creature that makes holes in your lawn) National Park, the red dirt road bumps and grinds you.  Even though it’s a main artery between Wa and Tamale (pronounced Tama-LEH, does not sound like the delicious Mexican dish), two regional capitals, and it’s frequently traveled by busloads of people, it’s in terrible condition. No one knows if or when it will ever be paved. It would be two hours of rough riding from the Sawla junction to Mole.

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Driving on smooth, blacktopped roads in comfortable cars with good shock absorbers and air conditioning is highly overrated. This was FUN!!!

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This sign was certainly a welcome sight: only one more kilometer of bouncing to go!

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Here’s where you pay the entrance fee.

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We arrived at Mole National Park around 3:30 pm.  I was really looking forward to this.

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[This post has been abbreviated. The full story is in the Travels in Ghana e-book available at Amazon and Smashwords.]

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My Room at Big Milly’s

Aside from the stunningly bad service and the extremely poor night lighting, Big Milly’s did have a certain amount of charm, much enhanced the next morning when I could actually see the place.

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As you’d expect from a beach resort, there were palm trees everywhere.

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Here’s the bar where nothing but Coke is served.

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My room is the door on the right, near the banana trees.

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It was cozy, with a mosquito net, which I didn’t use, and a fan, which I did. Top sheets are sometimes not put on hotel beds here, as it’s so warm year round that they’re rarely needed. However, with the fan blowing on me all night, I liked having a little something over me. I brought my own piece of cloth for that purpose.

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This was the shower, with the toilet beyond. The blue bucket is for when there is no running water. They bring water to the rooms, and you’d have to bathe by pouring water over yourself with the blue bowl on the right.

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I loved that it had no roof. When you bathed at night, you could see the stars.

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Since the beach was known to be a hassle, I only went for a quick picture. Then Stanley and I climbed into the Land Rover and were on our way.

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Big Milly’s on Friday Night

It was getting dark when we rolled into the parking lot at Big Milly’s beach resort.  The service was very lackadaisical. We had trouble finding someone to help us check in. There wasn’t enough light to read the menu posted on the wall near the kitchen, we were told our food would be served but ended up having to go get it ourselves, and no one ever came to our table so we could order drinks. The bartender didn’t want to make a mixed drink and told me all there was available was Coke, when I could see right behind him a huge selection of different liquors and beers.

The drumming and dancing troupe began about an hour later. It was a nice performance, what I could see of it.

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The performance also attracted quite a number of people from the village, in addition to the hotel guests, so it wasn’t easy to get a good view.

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Although the performance was nice, considering the way we were treated, I would never go back here again, nor could I recommend it to anyone. Perhaps that kind of apathy is charming only when you’re in your 20’s, which it seemed most of the clientele were.

[This post has been abbreviated. The full story is in the Travels in Ghana e-book available at Amazon and Smashwords.]

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