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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Travelogues of the former Gold Coast

DAY 2 (17th December 2011)

EASTERN REGION

I decide to go and see the Boti Falls in the Eastern region today. I had read somewhere on the internet that it is just about 90 minutes from Accra, but upon asking for directions from the owners of my hostel, I was told the journey to Koforidua where Boti falls is located is more like 2 hours. I take a bus from the park at Kwame Nkrumah circle. Halfway through the journey, my stomach starts rumbling, informing me that I need to use the toilet ASAP! I immediately start praying that it should exercise patience till I reach my destination. I simultaneously break out in sweat and goose pimples and God answers my prayers as I very uncomfortably held on till we reached Koforidua.

Fortunately, there is a public toilet at the park in Koforidua which charges 2 cedis, the toilet is not too clean but I'm in zero position to complain.I feel much better after using the toilet and continue my journey to Boti which is a further 30 minutes drive from Koforidua. I wander into the compound that houses the falls and wonder that no one challenged or asked me to pay entrance fee. This makes me wonder how the country makes money from tourism if anyone can just go in and out of tourist sites without paying. I ask one of the hawkers at the place who directs me on how to get to the falls and I start descending the 250 steps leading to the falls. I wonder again at the seeming non-management of the tourism industry here. There are only 2 people around to see the falls, a guy and a lady, both wearing lemon green polo shirts that had written on them, the name of a tourism club. I ask the guy to take a picture of me at the falls. After obliging, he asks where I am from and thereafter offers to take me to the other tourist sites there in Boti.



The Boti falls are two, separated by some meters. The guy I met at the falls explains to me that the two are supposed to be male and female and that from time to time, the two merge together to "mate"

The walk to see the ancient cave, three headed palm tree and the umbrella rock was indeed a long and very treacherous one as we kept ascending and descending the narrow rocky and sometimes slippery path. Missing a step along this path could result in death or at the very best, several broken bones. At a point in the journey, I felt like turning back but was encouraged by Ebenezer, my guide, who,not knowing what was going on in my mind, heaped praises on my seeming fitness.

Ebenezer explains that the Boti tourist sites was discovered in 1950 by a Koffi Yesu though the place did not become well known until 1966 when the then president of the country visited it. He told me the place is called esi-afuro (not sure this is the correct spelling), meaning the place of ascending and descending.

Walking to the ancient cave


the three headed palm tree



and finally, the umbrella rock


took the better part of three hours. It was exhausting but going through with the journey gave me a sense of accomplishment. I exchange email and phone with Ebenezer who has the interesting habit of
calling every female 'mum'.

By the time I return to my hostel, it was well after 7 pm and I had to take a very expensive (considering the distance) taxi. I was so tired, I just wanted to get back to the hostel. we passed through Aburi town (I'm reminded of the famous Aburi conference of just before the Nigerian civil war in 1967).

I notice that funerals are a very big thing in Ghana as I saw quite a number of funeral processions along the way. One would in fact be forgiven if like I almost did, one makes the mistake of thinking that all the people clad in black and most times, combination of other dull-coloured native fabrics are going to the same funeral. I soon notice however that all persons going for burial ceremonies are required to go in mainly black attires which because of the colour look very similar.

At the park at the Kwame Nkrumah circle, I see more hawkers wearing socks and some others selling food already packaged in take-away packs. An interesting sign caught my attention at the Koforidua park.The sign read: ADESI FUNERAL AND FASHION CENTRE. I initially found it quite difficult to marry fashion and funeral together (I was later to understand that this is quite natural as wreaths made of ribbons is quite a big thing here and they are mostly made by tailors).

Although english is the official language here, the people from one region to another seem to have a major dialect that they all understand and speak and so you hardly hear them speak the English language with one another.

I found myself having to say "sorry I don't understand" too many times to keep count each time I am addressed in the local dialect.