|Cape Coast, Ghana|
Friday arrived, and we woke up and finished gathering our things. Amanda packed her stuff in her backpack, and since I forgot to bring my backpack, I had to use my duffle bag I got from Calvin...it has turned out to be quite the useful little thing. We took a taxi to an STC bus station near the Kaneshie market, about 30 minutes away. We were dropped off at the bus station, and we found out that we had just missed the bus going to Cape Coast. Our travel book had said that they usually leave at 9:30, so we wanted to be early. We arrived at 8:40, and should have had plenty of time. For whatever reason, the bus left early that day. The next bus wasn't leaving for Cape Coast until 2:30....that was too long of a wait and we needed to get their sooner. The lady at the STC counter helped us figure out where to get a different bus, a Metro Mass Transit bus, and so we walked about 20 minutes to that station.
To do so, we walked through Kaneshie which is a true market place, with people everywhere trying to sell you something. It was best if we kept our heads down and ignored the people who were trying to get our attention...otehrwise we would be there for a really long time. We finally arrived at the area where they had the buses, and we just had to find the bus we needed. We found the bus, bought our tickets for 4.50 cedis, and took our seats. There were probably seats for 60 people, and I believe the bus was full. We started our trip to Cape Coast!
Cape Coast was a 3 hour bus ride from Accra. It was rainy the morning we left for Cape Coast, which made for a semi-pleasant bus ride because it was cooler, but less pleasant when we had to walk in the rain to get to the bus! The ride was pretty uneventful which was good. People started requesting stops about a half hour out from Cape Coast, so we knew we were getting close. The bus system and tro tro system is a bit undefined here. If you need to get off, I think you can just yell, "bus stop!" and then they stop shortly after that. Because they do speak their own dialect, this part is still a bit confusing to us.
|Cape Coast Castle|
We arrived in Cape Coast, at a stop different than what was shown in our book. We walked up a road trying to find the Cape Coast Castle, which is a castle built by Swedish traders for trade in timber and gold. Later the structure was used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which it is more notably known for today. We kept walking and found a loadge which was listed in our book, and decided we needed to turn around and go back the way we came. So we started walking back the other way. The road started to go uphill, which didn't make sense to us if we needed to go down by the ocean. So we stopped and looked at our book (it was still raining at this point), and this woman asked us if we needed help. Apparently being an Obruni and looking at a book screams "Tourist!" She said it was too far of a walk to get to the castle, and that we wanted to take a taxi. Conviently, a taxi pulled up. He offered to take us to the castle for 4 cedis. We decided that was fair because she said it was far away.
We got there shortly after that, and decided that we could have walked it. But we were dropped off at the Castle, and the taxi driver asked if he could pick us up tomorrow and take us to the Kakum National Park. We said we weren't sure and he gave me his number so we could call if we decided we needed a taxi.
While I was getting the number, Amanda was approached by two men who had market stands just outside the castle. When I was finished getting the number, I turned around and then they approached me. My new friend's name was John, and I don't know the name of the guy who kept talking to Amanda. But they asked us to check out their shops after we were done eating.
|View from our table of the Atlantic|
|Pig on the beach!|
Our food came, and our burgers were so delicious! Our buns were real thick and they put ketchup, onion, lettuce, tomato, and (I think) goat cheese on it. It was perfect. After lunch, we walked back to the castle, and were approached by the two men who first approached us, carrying jewelery they wanted us to try on. We said "no, thank you," and walked into the castle. We paid for our tickets (7 cedis for entrance, another 2 cedis to take pictures), and checked our bags so we didn't have to carry them anymore. We checked out the museum first and learned a little more about the castle, and refreshed our memories on the slave trade as well as the triangular trade (which I was surprised at how much I remembered from 8th grade!). After we checked out the museum, we met our tour guide, Isaac. He did a great job with our tour, explaining all the ins and outs of the castle.
|Condemned slaves cell door|
We also saw the female slave dungeon where they were kept until they were sent overseas. I think there were 2 chambers for about 500 women, and they were fed through a small opening to the left of the door, and there were 3 tiny window openings up near the top of the chambers which were their only sources of light.
|4 out of the 5 chambers in the male dungeon|
The 5th chamber had a tunnel that led to the boats the slaves were put on. It was narrow tunnel, and they were shackled and chained together in single file lines, and walked their last steps in Ghana before getting onto the boat. There is a shrine now where the entry used to be. It was sealed off after salvery was abolished in Europe. There is a line of flowers on the left wall for those who passed through here. When President Obama and the First Lady came out here in 2009, they left some flowers here as well (and they are still there). As a side note, we talked to Henry, and we found out that Ghana loves Obama. We see billboard with his and Michelle's picture on them quite frequently, more than we do in the U.S.
|Fishing boats at Cape Coast|
After we took some pictures, we decided we needed some pictures by the ocean. So we lef the castle (after stopping at the gift shop where I was able to buy a hand sewn purse and a Fante mask!) and walked to the beach just outside the restaurant we ate at for lunch.
We were really excited about seeing the ocean, so when we got there, we walked out too far, and a huge waves crashed into us and we almost fell over in our clothes! It was SO fun and the water felt really great. We relocated a bit and took a few pictures of the us and the water.
|I'm a regular old market woman|
|Kids asking Amanda for money|