September 9th, 2007 – by: at1051
Courtyard of St. George's Castle
So this weekend NYU took us to the Coconut Grove Beach Resort in Elmina
, about a three hour drive from Accra. We left at 6:30 Saturday morning. Yeah, that's early. The resort is gorgeous. The beach is actually pretty, which can't be said for most of the rest of the coastline in the country - it's usually covered in trash and the water looks pretty polluted. So we had brunch at the hotel and then went to Elmina Slave Castle AKA St. George's Castle. It's where the Portugese and then Dutch and then British sold slaves that they captured/bought to the New World. It's also where the British ran their colonial empire post-slave trade until 1957. The British did a lot of really messed up stuff in the world in general, but the slave trade was one of the worst.
Yes, that is a real crocodile
Ask me for some more details on this subject if you're interested.
We then drove to Kakum National Park
and did the canopy walk. It's in a rainforest and August is the end of the rainy season. The forest is gorgeous, and the canopy walk is walking right through all the trees and you can see for miles and hear all the birds and whatever else may be out there.
Then we headed to Hans Cottage, a restaurant above a pond fillled with crocodiles. Why someone would build a restaurant like this I'm not too sure but we drank Coke and stood next to living crocodiles. Someone would definitely get sued for this in America, but TIA (this is Africa)
From there we went back to the hotel and had dinner and palm wine, which is made from palm trees (hence the name) and tastes strangely like raspberry vinagrette dressing.
Then we had a bonfire and drank Shiraz on the beach and went for a little midnight swim in the pool. This also would not be allowed in the States. TIA. It's a strange feeling to be staying at a resort like this when you drive by families in stick houses with thatched roofs who are outside washing their babies in big bowls. I have many moral quams towards a lot of the stuff we're doing on this trip. More on this later.
The next morning we drove into Cape Coast
and walked around the town. It was Sunday so almost nothing was open. Everyone was in church. You can hear the singing and preaching - which usually lasts for three hours FYI - coming from practically every third building. Everyone gets dressed up in their nicest clothes and looks so pretty.
The boys and me.
We talked to some kids who were playing outside of a church by the beach. Their older brothers were playing volleyball with a makeshift "net" that consisted of three wooden beams nailed together. All of the kids love having their picture taken. They pose and puch their friends out of the way and then freak out and crowd around you and point at themselves on the screen of the camera. They're totally adorable. The older ones who have been in school for a few years speak English really well. The little ones speak none, which we found out by asking "What is your name?" followed by "Wo dinde sen?" (Twi, the language spoken in Accra). Both of these questions received blank stares. One of the older kids explained that they speak Fanti in Cape Coast. There are SO many languages spoken in Ghana.
As a side note, if you happen to be doing this trip I would suggest going to Elmina instead of Cape Coast i you don't ahve much time. The towns are right next to each other, but Elmina seemed much more vibrant. It's a little fishing town and the boats there are amazing to look at - so many colors. One of the more telling parts of my experience in Ghana was seeing about 50 guys crowded around one little television, some carrying babies, watching the World Cup qualification match. There are two religions in Ghana - Chrisitanity and football.
Check out the pictures. There's a lot of them.