Monday, January 17, 2011

Jungle bells, jungle bells

The road from Kumasi to Dunkwa is full of potholes. Unfortunately this doesn't encourage the drivers to slow down or be careful. On the contrary, cars, buses and trucks alike fly trough the bends like it's a rally, often using the opposite lane. Fight or flight. More than once we see trucks that got off the road. The scenery is beautiful though, but I can't help thinking I will probably enjoy it more when we get to the small tracks leaving from Dunkwa. The only problem will be finding the one leading in the right direction.
We reach Dunkwa late in the afternoon with empty stomachs. Despite the hour we decide to have a quick bite to eat. At least that's what we think. Turns out there is no such thing as "fast" food in these parts. By the time we've finished and paid the bill it's half past five. The southward track we pick from our map goes via the village of Nsuaem. The more we ask for it, the more different directions we get sent to. We try to orientate on the relief with the GPS, but this leads us uphill to a telecom antenna. Dead end. Finally we find a track going into the jungle; we're just not sure it's going to Nsuaem. But it doesn't matter. The most important thing is that we want to find a nice spot to put our tents before the dying of the light.
Seven kilometers from Dunkwa, there's a clearing in the impassable wall of plants that leaves room for the bikes, just out of sight of the road. Perfect! We set up our tent and go to sleep. Wow, is it really half past seven already? We quietly listen to the deafening nightly sounds of the forest. Damn those crickets! Birds! Bugs! …Elephants?! All evening we hear thunder and see flashes of lightning from a distant storm, but the rain doesn't come near.
Next morning we rise at dawn, not entirely refreshed though. There's tuna sandwich and wild pineapple for breakfast. Since we consumed a lot of water yesterday, I decide to pack the water filter in my handbag and fasten it on the outside of the luggage just in case we need to ask for water. It's still very misty when we hit the road and the gravel is wet. Added to steep slopes and bad erosion, it makes the track all the more challenging. The few surprised passers-by that we ask for directions advise against continuing. The road will even get worse and it does not go straight to Nsuaem. We'll head back to Dunkwa to find the right way and get some fuel.
Nsuaem road, as it is called, is a lovely track. We're constantly amazed by the stunning rain forest-like environment we're riding through, trying very hard to absorb every impression. We pass through several nameless villages. They all look very well kept and cozy. We only have to get used to the common courtesy, Ghanaian style. Where ever we pass, people shout things at us, sometimes heavily gesturing and with a stern expression on their faces. HEY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHERE ARE YOU GOING? It all comes across very aggressive. But we soon learn that it isn't meant that way, it's just their manner of communicating.
In one of the villages we stop to buy some food; a dozen small bananas, peanuts, eggs,… It doesn't even cost us one euro! Tony wants to find a really small side track to have a pick nick. The narrow walking path we discover should do just fine. Very picturesque; lunch next to the bikes, in the middle of the jungle. Not so easy to make a U-turn after we've finished though…
We continue for the last 20 something kilometers that separate us from Bogoso and the tarred road to the coast. Tony is on a roll and takes the lead. We follow a bit behind, stopping now and then to take pictures or film. The storm from last night left the road with large mud puddles. Great picture material! Confidently I go through all of them in a straight line, but the last catches me by surprise. Before I realize what's happening, I am on the ground. We raise the bike quickly, I start the motor, accelerate, but… nothing. What's this? We examine the bike more closely. F###! Not only did the chain fell off during the slide, I also notice that my handbag with the water filter is gone. Nicolaas rushes back to look for the lost piece of luggage. There's nothing else for me to do but wait. After half an hour Tony arrives. He was waiting at the junction with the tarred road, just 1km away, but has come back to look for us. Together we put the chain back. It's so loose now that we can do it bare handed. An hour and a half later Nicolaas is back. He proudly shows his catch; my bag, water filter included. Pfew!
Proud pose at the beach
For more pics see album "Jungle bells, jungle bells"
After this delay, we ride to the coast in one go. Our first stop will be the repeatedly recommended Green Turtle Lodge. To get there we have to cross another 10kms of bumpy dirt road. We've had about enough. We just want to find a nice place, to relax, have a beer and celebrate New Year's Eve tomorrow. Seems like we have bad karma, because the place turns out to be a disappointment and moreover it's fully booked. And so are about 10 other places nearby. The only hotel that still offers rooms is the ridiculously expensive Busua Beach resort. Beaten as we are, we reluctantly accept, secretly making plans to trash the room to express our malcontent with the bad value for money. We'll be gone tomorrow morning!

1 comment:

  1. You couldn´t trash a room if it was half trashed to start with! You´re too goodie goodie, both of you, haha.