Bolgatanga to Tamale
We left early from Bolgatanga to head back to Tamale… we made good time …. and were checking in to our hotel before noon.
When we had passed through Tamale on our way north we had stayed at Gariba Lodge. Definitely one of the finest hotels i have stayed in in Ghana… It is costly though. It was worth every penny which is not always the case but I wanted another option that was a bit closer to my normal range. That’s when we went checking and found Picorna Hotel. Another huge attraction about this place was that the market was right across the street. So we would be able to come and go all afternoon….
Lisa and I made the agreement that we would spend the afternoon each on our own … Ghana is one of the safest countries i have ever visited and i knew both of us would be perfectly allright on our own.
So we each set off each in our own direction. I first went off into the market on the side and behind the hotel. I went with my new feeling of not creating a ripple so I left my camera at home and went to feast my eyes. And what a feast it was … The first vision my eyes couldn’t take in enough was all the women selling and buying rice. Imagine all these mounds of white rice, with white dust swirling and women in white buying and selling all this white rice. The sellers pouring the rice and the buyers sifting it…… This is how it looked to me. And of course my ever going love affair with the views of people carrying things on their head was fulfilled ever more. I saw women so immaculately dressed from head to foot swaddled in elegant batik with huge silver bowls on their head filled with the frothy straw brooms that you see people all over Ghana using. They bend over from the waist often with one arm behind their back while the other hand is sweeping …. I think the most spectacular sight of all was a woman with charcoal in graduatingly smaller silver bowls on her head. In other words she had one gigantic silver bowl with charcoal in it sitting on her head, then there was another slightly smaller one also filled with charcoal perched and then another even smaller one perched on that one all the way to the smallest bowl …. There were 5 bowls in all … quite a feat. How does she get them up there? How does she get them down ? These questions buzzed in my overheated brain :)
One of the sad sights i saw was a whole row of people who were blind sitting on benches in one of the paths through the market …. perhaps it was a spot where they came for socializing or maybe help … but it was a bit eerie. I have seen a lot of blind people in Tamale … Dela says glaucoma and cataracts often go untreated.
It was now the hottest time of the day so i decided to retreat back to the hotel for some shade and cold water … As i was going into the hotel i noticed a huge balcony and had a brilliant idea. I asked the ever obliging young desk clerk if it was possible to out on that balcony. ‘No problem’ The best of Ghana….
This balcony over looked the market! So i was able to take pictures galore without anyone even noticing me… And up there i got to see lots of stories…. the most dramatic one being a huge tour bus came through what is more lane than road and somehow got itself caught one on the little motorcycles carrying a small wagon… got scrunched into it in such a way it couldn’t go forward without ripping the buses side good. The sturdy little wagon stood right up to this mammoth … Of course the bus driver came roaring around the bus gestilateing furiously at the hapless youth owning the wagon waving his arms … These two youth manhandled the heavy wagon closer to the edge of the road … The driver left with the last word and chugged off. Freeing up the plugged traffic !! Quite entertaining.. and there were stories going on all over the street…
It was now around 4:30 and i hadn’t seen Lisa all afternoon. Ok, i know we had agreed to have the afternoon off and on our own but hey, i am a worry wort. Ask my kids…. Etienne wasn’t in Thailand for 5 minutes and i had tracked him down and had him on the phone much to his total chagrin … or my daughter who was caught in the Tsunami in Sri Lanka (only a mother would know how my heart was at that time) was finally tracked down and pronounced safe before i could take my next breath … so with that in mind ….
I mean it was going to be dark in an hour or so… was she ok? In my heart i knew she was after all she was amongst people i love but still… I phoned my trusty sidekick and companion, ‘What do you think, Dela?’ ‘Yes we must see her’
He arrived and off we went …. And i tell you it was like watching the African GPS in action…. Dela would ask ‘have you seen a white woman?’ First they would point to me .. and then they would think and point off in a direction… And it was quite awesome because it ended up it wasn’t a straight line to her but rather down one alley and another and another … and there she was: Having the time of her life!!! She was quite stunned to see us but we explained we had just wanted to make sure she was ok and she was so we parted ways leaving her to enjoy the end of the afternoon at the market…
Thanks, Dela … watching you find Lisa so quickly was so much fun :) I went off back to the hotel with Dela with a quick stop for him to buy Shea Butter …