Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just another day in paradise?

I swear I must be walking around Ghana with "I'm updating a guidebook" stamped on my forehead. Yesterday I was set upon by a group of curio sellers as I was jotting down a phone number outside Cape Coast Castle who angrily claimed that they didn't hassle tourists as most guidebooks stated. One even declared that he was going to kidnap me so that I wouldn't write any more 'lies' about them. I didn't even have a guidebook on me – just a pen and paper – and I certainly didn't tell them that I was updating a guide. Needless to say I made a very hasty retreat! Oddly enough I also had a similar experience outside Vic Baboo's Cafe in Kumasi a few days ago where I was harangued by a group of touts who gave me no end of grief for the unkind words that had been written about them by previous guidebook authors. I must admit it has certainly been very surprising just how clued-up everyone here seems to be about travel guidebooks and the impact they can have on business.
Picture: Sunset, Biriwa Beach, Ghana

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The long, hard road

Sorry for the long silence. Sadly, I haven't been able to post as regularly as I had hoped while I've been travelling around Ghana. The greatest problem has been lack of internet access and of course time (I am working after all!). My journey around Ghana updating the Bradt Travel Guide though, has been progressing well. I've met numerous wonderful people (must send a big shout out to all of Ghana's fantastic PCVs – thank you, thank you, thank you!) and have some fabulous experiences – I danced under the stars at the opening of a new night club in Kintampo, learned how to weave kente cloth in Kpetoe and went walking with elephants at Mole National Park. Mind you, there have been a few nasty bumps in the road I wish could have been avoided – I was accidentally hit in a punch-up between local community members in Larabanga fighting over tourist dollars (I promise I will post a blog about my experience as soon as I can), my driver almost rolled our car during a heavy rain storm on the dirt road between Mole and Tamale (we did a 180 and slammed into a ditch; we'd still be there if we weren’t in a 4WD) and then yesterday he sadly hit a cyclist who swerved in front of the car on the road Yendi (thank God the man was OK!) and just today some rogue traffic officers in Tamale tried to make me pay a bribe because my driver inadvertently went to drive the wrong way up a one way street (I just played stupid and pretended I couldn't speak English). But as always, the life of a travel writer is not an easy one, but it is certainly an adventure!

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's a small world

Travelling on the road from Ejisu to Lake Bosumtwe in the Ashanti region of Ghana yesterday I spied this truck in front of me with a heavy load that was tied down by a large tarp. It took me a couple of seconds but I suddenly realised I recognised the writing on the tarp even though it was upside down. It said "Kate Ritchie is moving in with Merrick and Rosso, 9 am weekdays". For anyone who doesn't know, Kate Ritchie is an Australian soapie star and she quit acting last year after 20 years of playing Sally on Home and Away to join Merrick & Rosso (a Australian comic duo) in hosting the morning program on Nova FM in Sydney. Sally was a much loved character on the soap (especially since she was one of only two remaining original cast members), so Kate's decision to leave was big news in Oz.....and perhaps in Ghana too by the looks of things!