Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going Going Ghana

Day #1

Young Ghanian boys
Equatorial Ghana has the luxury of spending zero percent of its budget on national defense, relying instead on its vast arsenal of nuclear mosquitoes, who carry the twin canons of malaria and yellow fever. I’m very much looking forward to meeting the national guard, seeing as mosquitoes treat me like a piƱata at a Mexican birthday party.
We arrive in Accra, Ghana at dawn. Immediately leaving the airport we get on a bus which will take us to Ghana’s second largest city, Kumase.
After an interminably long ride over unpaved roads, we stop at a stand where they sell Kente Cloth. Rural Ghana is quite poor, so the locals are naturally excited to see Americans and their money.
Everybody here is a hustler, but I feel a lot more warmth from the majority of those who approach me trying to eke out a living than I did in say, Turkey, where people will skin you alive if you let them.

Selling The Shirt Off My Back
Kente cloth shopping
Kente cloth is very colorful, and is generally made out of rayon or cotton, using looms to weave these strings into woven patterns.

There are some really wonderful artists here. I am currently in negotiations with one of them. Although the piece is nice, he wants more than I am willing to pay.
“I like your shirt,” he states, gazing at my basketball uniform from this year’s Sports Club LA League championship team.
“You like my shirt?”
“Yes, very much. I buy from you?”
“You want to buy the shirt I am wearing?”
I got the kente cloth, he got the jersey. At least he got a championship jersey, and not some loser jersey from some loser team like Dan Denham’s or Aaron Davis’s. (both of whom we beat in the playoffs)
Proud owners from the exchange
We get back on the road and drive the entire rest of the day before arriving in Kumasi late in the evening. The city center is crowded and bustling. Traffic is slow. We get to the hotel. I am tired. I am glad to be off the bus. 
Day #2
The most exciting thing that happened today was when our bus hit a goat.
We drive for seven hours straight with one stop. I have been traveling for six straight days. I haven’t exercised, much less played basketball. Nothing but buses and flights and waiting for other people. We saw NOTHING in Kumasi. We went there for what? This part of the tour is obviously incredibly poorly organized.
Ghana traffic and activity
We drive all day. Half the bus cheers when we hit the goat because at least something happened.
Arriving at our hotel on Cape Coast after dark, barely stepping foot off the bus, I wonder why I came and vow never to go on another big group tour again.

The only thing I have to console me is the brilliantly crafted trade I made for my basketball jersey. Beaming with pride at my outstanding negotiation skills, I become suddenly energized with anticipation, remembering why I really came to Africa.
Don’t be envious, but last year, Lady Luck smiled upon me like the Saharan sun at noon. I received an email from a Nigerian Prince (out of ALL the people on the Internet he chose ME!!!) requesting $1,500 to help him cut through the red tape on his fifty million dollar inheritance. One thing about me, in contrast to you, and why I get to be here in on Africa on the threshold of collecting my enormous windfall, when I see a business deal of outstanding value, I do not hesitate, no, I jump right in!
And to all you jealous haters out there, who are right now hollerin’ that Rich, merely, once again, got “lucky,” and how does this exemplify my "so called," shining skills as a negotiator, and that there is “no way,” as I have often claimed, that had I been Jesus’s lawyer, he’d still be alive today, let me tell you this-- originally my Nigerian Prince friend only offered me $250,000. Through the charm and charisma that you can only dream of, I bargained him up to a cool million. He barely even whimpered.


  1. Thank you Richard for blogging our adventure. I didn't journal as we traveled so I really appreciate what you are doing.

  2. I'm getting ready to head to Ghana with amazingly little preparation. I'm happy to get myself into a mess, but I'm bringing my 11 year old daughter with me so I suddenly because a bit serious about the lack of planning by my Ghanian friend. Found my sense of humor here again so, thank you!


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