Just back from visiting the bank … decided to go early while it is still quite cool. Yesterday there was another storm with lightning and rain which had really cooled everything down… these are the last of the rains before the dusty, dry Harmattan Winds come in… It is just before 8 am and traffic hour. The hotel, Sir Max, where i am staying is off on a side street that leads to a main artery … it is jammed packed with giant SUVs … with one person or at the most two people in each vehicle …. windows all closed and tinted. And then when you arrive on the artery they join the throng of mini vans that are beaten up, sagging, windows all open and at least 3 people in the front seat and then about 15 people squished in seats in the back … I think this sums up everything that is wrong with this country. The rich get it all and the general populace make do with almost nothing. I like … no love … the general populace … everyone that i have met greets me with a smile and a welcome. The rich? … they are haughty and act so self important and somehow disgruntled.
Talking about cars, yesterday we visited the Cultural Center … there is construction here, too!! And as we go along (me in the back amongst the populace in a tro tro sweating quietly away) i can’t help but think that Kumasi must be near the tipping point … where if 10 more cars are injected into the equation it will all come to a grinding halt! It will happen as there are thousands of cars on display for sale along the streets that will one day find their way into the traffic!!!
We get to the City Center and the end stop of the tro tro and we still have a ways to walk … amongst a different kind of foot traffic – people …. hords and hords of people. I snapped a few pics but it doesn’t do justice at all!!
The Cultural Center is closed off and pristine, quiet with green grass and no garbage. There are a few stores that are dim with dusty touristy stuff … Woodworking shops that are making amazing sculptures that sadly have already saturated the market … When i think of the Artisans that i have met and what they could make if given half a chance….. There was one store with touristy things that were interesting – the crafts were all from Kenya!!!
We finally found our friend outside the Cultural Center … he was delighted we found him as being in the Cultural Center hadn’t worked out for him…. We visited and then we went off to visit the Kejete Market …. Lonely Planet describes this Market:
“From afar, the Kejetia Market looks like an alien mothership landed in the centre of Kumasi. Closer up, the rusting tin roofs of this huge market (often cited as the largest in West Africa; there are 11,000 stalls and at least four times as many people working here) look like a circular shanty town. Inside, the throbbing Kejetia is quite disorienting but utterly captivating.” … just a note here: Wikipedia says there are 45,000 stalls!! .. just too many to count.
We came at the Market from quite a different angle this time … there was a path that followed an abandoned railway line … and wow! My head was swiveling in all directions as i took in the scene .. sorry actually was too busy to take pictures and somehow it was so packed taking photos would have just been intrusive somehow… But there were men who were quite striking dressed from head to foot in white layers … Dela said they were from the North … i could see them with Camels ….. and the merchandise was to my eyes very strange – i think it was medecine man/ voodoo ingredients …. all kinds of roots, animal skeletons … oooh
We seemed to be going for miles and miles … i think we could have gone on all day but suddenly ok! It was enough and we found a side path leading out on to a big artery with cars … Cause this is the amazing thing about this market it is so close only people can go through it…. Back out into relative space i took a deep breath!!
My latest me-as-tourist is entitle ‘Two Hats are better than One’ … the first one we are admiring or looking askance at (your pick) each others head gear. Then Dela …oops … the traffic is intense here … takes a photo of me …