Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Takarodi Ghana

Our van picked us up at the dock and swept us away to where we were to walk across the tree canopy on a swinging bridge. They neglected to tell us we would receive, free of extra charge, an African massage (their sobriquet for a bumpy, tooth rattling Van ride) for 2 1/2 hours. Once at the location, we were led up a series of slopes on an uneven slippery path with no handrails. I found the experience difficult and challenging however when I realized the 89 year old in our group was gaining on me, I "leaned forward" and made it to the top. Walking on a swinging rope bridge with an acoustic neuroma in charge of my gyroscope was thrilling to say the least. 

Feeling cheerful and exhilarated we were all chatting and laughing on our way back down when David (who looks remarkably like Jerry Springer) slipped and fell on the rocky path. His arm was badly skinned but fortunately we had a vascular surgeon in our midst who was able to patch him up temporarily using the van's first aid kit and bits and pieces the rest of us cobbled together from our bags and purses. 

On our way back to the ship we stopped at two infamous places where slaves were imprisoned while waiting for the slave ships from Portugal, Britain and the U.S. to pick them up and transport them around the world. Hundreds were crammed into small dark airless dungeons for weeks at a time. There was a specially horrible cell for women who fought back while being raped. Our little group of white tourists shuffled around the place, silent for the most part, listening and absorbing the horror of it all. Our black guide was polite but seemed marginally engaged. A plaque commemorating the visit of Barack and Michelle is wearing out and probably won't last much longer unless repaired or replaced, something that rarely happens in west Africa.  

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