After a mellow half day of school on Friday and the amazing hike in the rainforest (Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary), I ate a quick lunch and got ready to head to Kumasi to check my email, update my blog and catch up with the Facebook happenings. Rahman came in from Accra and met me after I had spent an easy three hours on the computer making up for lost time. We had dinner at a popular ‘obroni’ spot in Kumasi called Vic Baboos. I found it somewhat surreal that I was eating pizza (it tasted soooo good) and drinking beer on Friday night in Ghana, which is exactly what I would doing in Chicago on a Friday night. After dinner Rahman and I cruised around the city looking for a place to grab a drink but Kumasi was pretty dead and after a series of taxi rides, I decided that we should head back home. Mr. Boateng allowed Rahman to stay in a spare room at the school for the night and over dinner we decided that we would head to Lake Bosumtwe on Saturday and stay the evening at a place that he was raving about called Rainbow Garden Village. He know We returned to the school, had a good night of sleep and got up early to start the 40km journey. After walking about 1k to Acropong, the nearest transportation hub, we quickly found a tro tro to take us to the city. Sometimes you can wait quite a whlie for a tro tro (total passengers around 16 people) to fill up but we got lucky that so many people were heading in the direction of the lake. The cost of the shared ride from Akropong to Kumasi was about 80 cents and took about 40 minutes on a combination of paved and unpaved red dirt and gravel roads full of potholes. You are always guaranteed a bumpy ride in Ghana! When we arrived in Kumasi we found another tro tro relatively quickly to take us to Kuntanesie where we would transfer to another taxi and head to the Rainbow Garden Village Resort. I found it interesting that half of the tro tro was filled with people wearing black cloth in various wrap styles. Rahman told me that they were all going to a funeral and that the funerals always happen on the weekends and are essentially a huge party that takes places right in the main intersection of the village. I actually saw quite a few of them happening as we made our way through the hills and small villages on the way Lake Bosumtwe. Huge parties with hundreds of people all wearing black cloth. We arrived about 1.5 hours later in Kuntanesie (30 K took three times what it would in the US due to traffic and bad roads). Little did I know we still had another adventure ahead of us as the road up to Lake Bosumtwe and The Rainbow Garden Village was extremely rough. Holy cow. I became pretty car sick along the way but after spending another $8 we arrived safely at the hotel and it was really a neat place, right on the lake with amazing foliage around. Rahman and I played a few sets of table tennis, practiced drumming and within a few hours we had met the other traveler named Rajit, a volunteer from Bombay, India who is working in the northern region of Ghana. The three of us spent the afternoon chatting, drumming and trying to avoid the torrential downpour of rain that began around 3:00 and did not stop until the middle of the night. At dinner we were joined by a really interesting guy from Slovenia named Matthaias. He had apparently been in Kumasi all day doing business and is staying at the resort while he builds a hotel nearby. He fell in love with the Lake Bosumtwe area after cycling from Burkina Faso through Ghana and stumbling upon the sacred lake by accident. He is building a resort near the German-owned Rainbow Garden Village and in the difficult process of obtaining permits from the village chief who has to approve everything before that is built in the area. For now he is staying at the Rainbow Garden and going back and forth to Kumasi to get building supplies. The most interesting story he told us was that after befriending the village chief by giving him schnapps and explaining that he wanted to build another resort, the chief suggested that instead of paying for lumber, he should fetch lumber from the lake. There are apparently some huge old dead mahogany trees lying at the bottom of the lake. Without fail, Matthais found a tractor, rigged it up and pulled a ridiculously large tree trunk out of the lake. He claims that mahogany is so thick and solid that once they peeled back the bark, the tree was completely dry. This tree alone will build about 75% of his hotel. Me, Rahman, Rajit and Matthais had a lovely evening at the resort drinking beer, sharing traveling stories and talking about music. When we all agreed that Pearl Jam rocked, Matthais was quick to grab the CD and toss it on the hotel bar stereo. So, we listened to Pearl Jam and stayed up late. Fun times. Now I’m back in Kumasi, updating the blog before venturing back to my rural village. My next update should be Friday although I have figured out how to get down to Kumasi and back for about .75 cents so I might come down here more frequently now.
Here are some pics from our weekend getaway:
The dock at the Rainbow Garden Village
Ghana Table Tennis
Fisherman in Lake Bosumtwe