Friday, November 10, 2006

Africa - Day 2

Our first morning in Accra we headed for Jamestown to get our first real look at Ghana. It's an area of Accra right by the water. Our driver dropped us off at the lighthouse and we headed over there to see if we could go in. Instead we met some adorable little girls. They grabbed our hands and lead us around; they obviously really wanted us to play with them. One of the girls took my hair clip off the outside of my purse and told me it was beautiful. She asked if she could have it. I laughed and asked her what she was going to do with it since she didn't have any hair. She raked the clip across her buzz-cut scalp until it hung on by one hair and held her head very still so it wouldn't fall off. It was so funny I let her keep the clip, even though it meant sweaty hair in my eyes for the rest of the day.

The first picture is the waterfront at James- town, with fishermen out in traditional boats.
The second picture, is one of Dan's, it's me in the red and Ash is in the blue, in front of the lighthouse. The third picture is the lighthouse.
After we couldn't agree on a price with the caretaker of the lighthouse we walked over towards the prison. I didn't realize it at the time, but the building they now use as a prison was once a British slave castle. The 'friendly' guards with their enormous guns told me to quit taking pictures when I was right about to get a really good one.
The fourth picture is of the very 'friendly' guards and the fifthe is a crappy one I took of James Fort, the prison/slave castle.
In our walk we discovered that horses and cars share the road in Accra (the sixth picture).
The people who live in this area are the Ga. They are the originators of my friend Christopher's favourite dance the Kpanlogo.
After Jamestown we headed to the National Arts Centre which is a totally crazy 70s building and on their money. For some reason it was closed, so we headed to the museum, another crazy 70s building. That crazy severe archi- tecture just looks so much less awful on a backdrop of lush greenery, and tropical plants.
The museum had some crazy stuff in it, like a necklace made of human teeth. But the wackiest part was on the lonely second floor in the sparse Egyptian section. It was mostly plaster casts of statues and other relatively common Egyptian artifacts you could see in most collections, then I looked at the other side of one case and almost jumped out of my skin when I saw a mummy head. What the heck was a mummy head doing lying in a case with no body? Well, it wasn't so bad, the hand was there too.
Outside of the museum, there was a lovely sculpture garden. With a big statue of Kwame Nkrumah the first president of Ghana.
Later we headed over to a market that sold masks and other kinds of arts and crafts that, really, only a tourist would buy. It's fine to go tourist shopping, but the unfortunate side effect was that the sales tactics were aggressive. Several of the sellers had people who would walk around and try to make you come and see their stall. There were several times when I had my arm grabbed. That's obviously, by far, not the first time that that's happened to me, but it never fails to drive me insane. I hate being grabbed by strangers. I guess no one loves being grabbed by strangers, but why? why? I don't think that would ever make someone want to shop. There was one stall where the shop keeper sort of ignored us, just said hi and then went back to what she was doing, and after a minute or two we were all huddled in there. Predicatably, I didn't buy anything from the grabby merchants.

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