By Adetutu Afolabi
Toyin and I got to the Airport and met Sanni there already waiting for us. We then joined in him in the waiting game. Ebere and Njideka were supposed to meet us there. We were going as a group, the five of us. Sanni, toyin, Ebere, Njideka and I. It was my first time in a plane and I was feeling very nervous, especially when we were about to take off (and during landing). But once we were in the air, it was alright and I felt cool about myself even though it was just about 50 or 55minutes flight.
Yes, Lagos to Accra is less than 1hour by air. Kotoka Airport is very beautiful and colorful with African sculptures and paintings so attractive. I looked up and saw a billboard which says “Akwaaba”, meaning “Welcome”. It’s funny Akwaaba sounds like Eka’abo which also means ‘welcome’ in Nigeria’s Yoruba language. You can’t change your naira to cedes there you must change to dollars to be able to do the exchange. We flagged a taxi and off we go to town!
The traffic in Ghana (Accra) is considerably good. If you happen to see a long queue of cars, it must be that they are waiting for the green light to move because they obey traffic rules unlike what I encounter back home on my way to and from work every day. It was night so we just had to retire to a hotel. Sannie went in search of food and returned with this very delicious and spicy jollof rice. As we ate, we gisted and gisted and then slept off.
I must confess this first hotel we lodged in was the best among all the hotels we stayed. After breakfast the next morning, we played a bit before checking out of the hotel and left for the park, headed to Cape Coast. The journey from Accra to Cape Coast lasted three hours. Immediately we alighted from the luxury bus, a gentleman approached us it was obvious we were strangers. The man happened to be a taxi driver and that was our chauffeur throughout our stay in Cape Coast.
About Ghanaian taxi drivers: they are friendly, neat and patient. They don’t dress dirty or rough and their cars are always neat. I noticed a taxi driver there could suddenly stop his car just to clean and dust his windshield. Once they know you are a stranger they are patient with you and if they don’t know where you are going they would stop at every point to ask around for directions. Another thing is that the fare is not expensive and they have more of cabs around compared to buses.
Our taxi friend took us to a restaurant by the beach just a stone throw from Cape coast Castle. We watched a group of dancers doing a cultural dance as we ate this “kenke” with the sauce called “chito” very spicy. We later had ice cream and pancake as dessert. We saw many “oyinbos” there. You know oyinbos don’t mind their business and they are very adventurous. It was night; we had to retire for the next day.
The next day our faithful taxi driver was right on time to take us around. We drove past Cape Coast University but we could not do a thorough tour of the school because they were writing exams. We visited Cape Coast Castle. It’s a very big and ancient one built by the Portuguese. That was where they lived and operated before the abolition of slavery. This Castle got its name as a result of the huge number of slaves they got from there for example Gold Coast got its name because the whites got gold from there.
There are many several rooms within the castle. There are cells for female and male slaves(reminds me of my trip to Badagry especially the baracoons in Seriki Abass Compound) There’s a tiny passage that the slaves pass that leads to outside the beach where a boat would be waiting to take them all the ship. The Castle even has a church where the whites worship. At the top of the roof we saw (is it armor, that thing used to fight war) there. Cape Coast Castle reminds me of those I see in the movies.
From the Castle, we went to a place called the Crocodile place. It’s like a little Island where you have many crocodiles in the water. For the first time I saw and actually touched a live crocodile! I was so scared at first but later well the woman in charged, I was calm. Afterwards, we just settled down at a restaurant in that same place watching the crocodiles and eating at the same time.
It was time to go back to Accra. On our way to the park, Toyin and Sannie asked if there was any mosque around so we stopped by one very big mosque to pray. I remember we also saw a wooden fabric shop and visited there, I saw many lovely and beautiful wooden fabrics just as I expected because I learnt this type of Ankara fabric is made in Ghana. Finally we said heartfelt goodbyes to the driver and left for Accra.
It was Njideka’s birthday so we went shopping at the Accra Mall. Later on, we left for the Mokola market. I was determined to get enough Kente, (a very popular Ghanaian fabric) which I did. When we got back to our hotel we were exhausted so we rested and later that night we went out for dinner at one very nice Chinese restaurant. W e were surprised when the waiter brought our bill, it was not expensive at all and believe me it was an exquisite Chinese restaurant.
We didn’t go to church the next day (Lord have mercy!). Later in the afternoon we went to the beach, one very popular beach in Accra, Labadi Beach. On our way to the beach, we spotted their Ministry of Defence just along the road and can you believe that we saw their President’s House too just along the road in Accra. Labadi Beach was fun, fun and fun, I met some Nigerians there speaking Yoruba, and they also came to have fun.
The beach is neat and there are several side attractions: cultural dances and magic display, among others. We had enough palm wine, played in the water and snapped pictures. I got someone to make a Ghanaian wristband for me with my name spelt on it. It was getting dark so we had to go back to the lodge. It was our last night in Ghana. I wish I could stay longer but I had to go!