Imagine driving on mars. Now, imagine that you are driving around mars in a car that reeks of gasoline, its dashboard doesn’t work and, with every bump you hit, it sounds as if you may have lost a wheel. On Saturday morning I was being tossed around in such a taxi, unsure of when we would arrive at our destination. We had left Accra at 5 p.m. and, as of 3 a.m., were still on the road.
The thing you have to understand about the roads in Ghana is that they vary: some are well paved, but there are often long stretches of either potholes or dirt road that is very bumpy. Regardless, the majority of taxi drivers, tro-tro drivers and bus drivers drive as if they’re trying to break the sound barrier. It’s great for your nerves, and your stomach.
About two hours into our trip we made a ‘washroom’ stop and I got off only to discover that everyone was relieving themselves on the side of the road. I can’t say I haven’t done it before, but when I heard that we’d be stopping at an actual bathroom in the next 15 minutes I decided to wait. Apparently that offended some women because they started talking angrily to my cohort, Douglas, in Twi. Oh well.
As the hours passed I tried to fall asleep but the speed bumps in the road assured that wouldn’t happen. Especially when the driver decided to take a few of them at full speed, causing everything in the bus to shift forward.
Eventually we reached the Techiman bus station and, when we got off the bus, the taxi drivers descended like vultures. While Douglas figured out the fares and argued over prices, I took note of the scenery: a goat tied to the top of a tro-tro and a dog eating plastic. That’s when the never-ending taxi ride started.
Waking up the next day, it was all worth it. The rest house was situated just outside of the Boabeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary we aimed to see. An older man named Edmund led us through the forests to Boabeng village where the monkeys live with the people. According to legend, whatever the residents do to the monkeys will happen to them. In other words, it’s karma. So much so that when a monkey dies it is buried in a cemetery with the priests.
After the tour we had to walk back through the forest on our own and that’s when we got to see the monkeys up close and personal. It was amazing. They’re curious, of course, so we just had to wait and let them come closer to us. And they did. Close enough that they touched our hands.
We rounded out the day with a trip to Kintampo Waterfalls. It was breathtaking and offered a cool relief. Especially when a man in the water decided that I needed to be soaked from behind while I was taking a picture in front of the falls. Thank you, sir.
Now I’m sitting at the Tamale bus station, waiting for a bus to Mole National Park that was supposed to arrive two hours ago. I can’t complain, though, because tomorrow I’ll be seeing elephants!