Wanderlust

I’ve always had a wanderlust, from my early teens when I’d hitch hike to the beach, or even walk the ten miles to Exmouth. But it was many years before I was able to really indulge myself. One of my favourite places so far is Ghana, the country of smiles, I’d love to go back.

Cape Coast, three hours west of Accra is a lovely place with miles of beautiful beach,

Cape Coast

The sea is rough and you’d have to be a far better swimmer than I to venture in.


Much better to sit and enjoy the view of Elmina across the bay. Elmina is peaceful now, but has a horrid history, it was one of the places where slaves were sent, before leaving their homeland forever.

Cape Coast fishing port

The port was very lively, I could have spent hours there. But we had to travel on,

Chocolate trees

There were cocoa pods to see, and taste the inside of!

Volta

Maybe three hundred miles north of the coast, Lake Volta stretches a vast distance. From Yeji, the crossing is quote short, but the hour or so it takes can be rough and the lake has taken many lives. When I went, the water was flat, and the air was scorching -n Volta is just a few degrees north of the equator, and very silent.

These homes are on a sandbank, and at risk of being flooded. I wonder if they’re still there, maybe Celestine will know?

Weaver birds at the Botel

My friend Celestine, a Ghanaian poet, blogger and Mistress of haiku said she’d like to see my photos of weaver birds nests, not far from where she lives. Taken at the Cape Coast nearly ten years ago and with one of my earlier digital cameras, they aren’t the best quality images, but still part of my special memories of Ghana.

Here’s a gallery for you Celestine.

This was the grounds of the hotel, or rather the Hans Cottage Botel, a lovely and unusual resort, set on a lake, with ‘friendly’ crocodiles’. They like their crocs in Ghana, but they are probably my least favourite animal on the planet. We only stayed one nignt at Hans Cottage and I remember it being quite restless for me, dreaming of crocs leaving the lake to stroll along the boardwalk in search of supper! I have no idea how Sylvia copes with the gators in her back yard, she’s way braver than me.

 

Remote Ghana

It’s pick a word Thursday over at Paula’s place, Lost in Translation. This weeks choices are radiant, alimentary, arboreal, frontal  and remote. I may find some more but for now, remote is my choice.

This isn’t the best photo, taken through a bus window in torrential rain, but I’ll always remember driving through this village in northern Ghana.

remoteIf it was sunny it would be okay, but it was really sad to see that day. It felt really remote, we’d left Mole National Park far behind, but the vibrant city of Kumasi and the sunshine Cape Coast were a long way south.

 

How to choose a coffin

Frizztext reminded me in his post today of when I visited a coffin makers shop in Accra, Ghana, quite a few years ago. He has seen a film about funerals over there, Frizz you’ll be amused to know that I danced at one! He was impressed by the choice of coffin designs and says he would like to be buried in a giant guitar shaped one.

Me, I would choose the mobile phone because I’m a techno hen, but I’d like it to be a smart phone, not the kind that was around all those years ago!

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Which would you choose?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

I had to work out from dates where I took this photo. I know it was near Techiman, perhaps Baobeng Fiema in the Brong-Ahafo region. But I’ve never forgotten the joy on these children’s faces, jubilation even. jubilationThey will be teenagers by now, I wonder how their lives have evolved.

Jubilant, adjective: showing great joy, satisfaction, or triumph; rejoicing; exultant.

7-Day Nature Photo, Day Three

I’m going a bit further afield for day three of the nature photo challenge, to northern Ghana. This termite mound was more then twice my height of five-six and must have housed millions of little beasties!termitehill

Amy invited me to join the nature photo challenge, a photo a day for seven, of anything from the natural world. Today I’m inviting Sue, one of very few blogging friends I’ve been lucky enough to meet. She already posts the most wonderful photos of  nature in decay, beautiful images of flowers in all stages, so the challenge would be easy for her. If you’re too busy Sue,  it’s no problem, I understand how difficult it is to fit in a challenge!

On the Way To . . .

Sometimes we find interesting places on the way to other places, Michelle at the Daily Post asks us to share them for this weeks photo challenge. Here are the ones I’ve chosen for you.
Taormina in Sicily is real jewel of a town and one of the ways of getting there is by train. We travelled from Fiumefredo and were delighted to find this stunning ceiling in the ticket office when we arrived at Taormina station.
sicily

This road is on the way to the entrance of Sepilok, the orang-utan rehabilitation centre in Sabah, Borneo. It was a hot, and humid walk from our rain forest lodge, but well worth it for the amazing experience of seeing these wonderful creatures up close.

sepilok

The long road from the north of Ghana was dotted with villages, where people would rush out to greet us, and we could by eggs and fruit for lunch.

ghana

This is the view from the air on the way to Sandakan, from Kota Kinabalu, Borneo. The coast is surrounded by coral reefs, the only time I’ve attempted to snorkel. I love the sea, but I’m not a strong swimmer, so I had to be brave to try it. It turned out to be one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done.
reef

There are lots of on the way posts to visit here, and you can join in too!

Jude’s Bench Challenge, Black and White February

Jude likes to photograph benches and has discovered that lots of other people share that little passion, so last month she started a monthly challenge. The topic this month is black and white, visit her here https://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/bench-series/ to learn more and join in.
My entry is a photo from my collection taken in Ghana, when I visited Sirigu Women’s Co-operative for Pottery and Art, a few years ago. It wasn’t the most comfortable of benches, but the thatch roof provided much needed shelter from the extreme heat and sun.
Gillys Africa--Ghana 143
In case you’re wondering the bench was actually red, white and black but it seems to me it works quite well in monochrome because of the contrast, what do you think?

Treasure from Ghana

My sweet bird of Sirigu! If ever you get the chance to visit Ghana, don’t hesitate for a moment.  It really is a wonderful country  with a rich cultural, fascinating history and the friendliest of people.

This is probably my favourite travel buy of all time.

sirigu bird

Complete with broken tail!

 

Back on Foot with Elephants

Okay, so this is a post from my early days of blogging but I’m re-posting in response to a weekly writing challenge from Crista. If you knew me back then please ignore!  http://fireflydance.net/2014/01/24/weekly-writing-challenge-worldly-writers/ 

I missed the elephant in the swimming pool by one week – in Mole national park, northern Ghana. It had strolled up the hill for a chlorinated swim by way of a change. But it was okay because I got closer to them than I was comfortable with, in a jeep, with my friend and two rangers. One of these guys was smaller than we were, and I am sure that an angry elephant would have been no more frightened of him, than of one of the baboons that were as populous as sparrows in my garden. The second warden came complete with a safari suit and a rifle. Or maybe a replica rifle. I don’t think I’ve ever been very close to a real gun, but it didn’t look like it could shoot a bullet big enough to even graze the hide of these healthy, well fed  pachyderms. I could only hope that the plan would be to scare them away with a little bang.

We were bullied, no ahem, persuaded into exiting the jeep, which was tied together with string anyway, to take photos of each other with three of the giants in the background.

‘We need to drive around that way, a bit closer’ said small warden without safari suit.

‘Closer, why closer?’ ‘I don’t want to get any closer thanks’. We were perhaps thirty feet away.

‘Please, speak in whispers and if they smell us they may charge, we have to be behind the wind’ he said. Now, I hadn’t felt any wind, it was as hot as well …Africa, as still as a graveyard before a thunderstorm, and my adrenaline was telling me to run back to the jeep pdq. These guys are probably used to re-assuring wussy travellers who like the idea of a gentle stroll, to see some cute wildlife just like Attenborough, but then turn chicken in the end.

‘Don’t you want to show your friends how close you were to elephants?’

No actually I want to throw up but I suppose that would be too noisy.

‘Okay, I guess I probably should do this.’ They led us closer and I snapped the two of them with my friend. Then I realised that I had to turn MY back on them, no more than twenty feet away. Needless to say my face tells all in that photo. I’m glad I did it; I still love elephants – from a distance! IMG_4285

We only stayed in Mole for two nights. It was a brilliant experience, a lot more rugged than a safari I did in Botswana a few years earlier, where the lodge was the height of luxury. In Mole, the water and electricity in our chalet was only on for a couple of hours a day and there were creepy crawly things that I’d rather forget. The atmosphere was great though and the view was about as good as it gets. Just before sunset herds of elephants of all sizes come to bathe in the waterhole down below the veranda. A much more relaxed way to see them!