Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Africa Diaries: The beginning is always easy

Off I went to Accra, the capital of Ghana, armed with my Lonely Planet guide and a 6-pack of toilet paper.

I mentioned before that I hadn't met my travelling companion before.  I'd met her (now) husband a couple of times, but had only had a few email exchanges and one phone conversation with Allison.

So we met.

And we look so similar that we could be sisters.

Or (as was so kindly pointed out by a horrid ratbag), I could be her mother!


Anyway, we started planning our travels through West Africa.  Allison seemed totally unconcerned by my fixation with only going to places that had good working toilets, so I decided to just let myself live for the moment, and to take the good with the bad (the very, very, bad as it turns out, but you'll have to wait for a few more posts until we get to that fun story).

The plan was a 3 week journey that would start in Bamako (the capital of Mali), go on to Timbuktu (yes it's a real place) and the Dogon Country (where they still practice voodoo), and then down to Burkina Faso, where we'd spend some time in the capital before heading out to a small town, Bobo-Dialosso, a few hours drive away.

The capital of Burkina Faso is called Ouagadougou.  This is pronounced Wagga-Doo-Goo, which for the Australians among you shouldn't pose any issues at all!

Before we flew to Bamako, we headed up to a town in the middle of Ghana called Kumasi.  We'd both been tempted by the promise of a reconstructed Ashanti village (which looked rustic and pretty in the Lonely Planet guide).  Unfortunately we never found the village (or anyone who'd ever heard of it before).  What we did find however, was a market.  A HUGE market.

This doesn't do justice to the size of the market at all, but I love the 2 guys nonchalantly doing business while standing on the top of a van.  Colourful!
It wasn't a totally wasted trip though.  We had a tour around a dusty museum featuring a few even dustier royal Ashanti trinkets. We rubbed shoulders with lots of European travellers who'd come to Kumasi for one of the Africa Cup (football thing) games.  And I started to fool myself into thinking that the toilets in Africa wouldn't be a problem.  Most of the toilets that I'd come across so far were Western.  And while they may not have been very clean, at least I didn't need to engage my thigh muscles (too much).

Backpacking in Africa?  No problem.


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