Tag Archives: travel

River Crossings

River Crossings

We crossed the Ouémé River and several tributaries during one day’s ride. Because there aren’t bridges in the area, canoes charge people about 50 – 100 cfa ($0.10 – $0.20) to ferry them across the water. We loaded our bicycles and ourselves into the canoes for the crossings.

River Crossings 2


Lunch Choices: Ghana

Lunch Choices: Ghana

A lunch stall in Hohoe, Ghana. A plate of red-red came piled will all of the ingredients on the table mixed together. From the left and going clockwise, the ingredients are: macaroni with tomato sauce and raw onions; friture, a reduced sauce of tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and palm oil; palm oil; hard boiled eggs; more palm oil; mashed, fried plantain balls; shredded raw cabbage and raw onions; gari (dried, ground manioc). In the middle of the photo is spaghetti with tomato sauce and raw onions on the left and ground hot peppers on the right. Rice goes into the mix, too, though is not in this photo.

Below: the carbo loaded plate before the addition of the hard boiled egg and fried plantains.

Red Red Ghana

Ghana #3: Woe to Aflao


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From the ferry terminus, we travelled by car east a bit along the barrier island that lines the Atlantic Coast. We stopped in a small town and walked down to the waterfront looking for lunch. From afar we noticed the ground covered with some kind of shimmery substance, and when we got closer we realized it was fish being dried. Several young men waded through the water with nets. They brought up baskets of fish which they tossed out onto the pavement. Several women tended the fish, making neat squares and continually sweeping with stick brooms to dry everything evenly.


After lunch we checked out the beaches. We spent the afternoon oceanside …


…and the evening bayside.

Ghana #2: Ada Foah to Woe

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My favorite part of Ghana was the southeast corner, where we took a market-day ferry across the mouth of the Volta River. The ferry makes a single weekly run, traveling eastward in the morning and returning westward in the evening.


The ferry connects the dead ends of two road networks and stops at many villages in between that have no land access whatsoever. This is one of the smaller stops.


Apparently this market is a big go-to for firewood. There’s our ferry in the background, practically hidden.

Ghana #1: East Volta

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Ghana was similar to Benin and Togo in terms of food, commerce, transportation, and obsession with Barack Obama. Although English is official, the language situation was similar as well, with most people using local language. We also had to adapt to the different accent, word usage, and sentence structure of Ghanian English. We stuck to the eastern edge of Ghana during our visit.

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The first area we visited was East Volta, where we checked out some waterfalls and took a guided tour through caves where ancestors took refuge during the slave raiding period, but which are now inhabited solely by bats. The entrances were tight spaces along steep slopes: definitely challenging to access.

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Standing in a pitch-dark cave while bats fly around you: creepy




Northern Benin had one thing I’ve really been missing—terrain. After the safari we swam at a fabulous, refreshing waterfall.


Then we continued to our friend Tom’s site, which is a small village that sits at the bottom of a beautiful ridgeline.


The next day Adam and I hiked up the ridge and checked out the view out over the plain.



We also visited our friend Steve and took an awesome late-afternoon bike ride around his town:

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After the park we travelled through northwestern Benin where we got to try tchouk (millet beer). It is cheap and delicious—cidery and tart. Tchouk is everywhere and it’s a big part of the social culture of northern Benin and Togo. We made a lunchtime stop in our friend John’s town and started the visit with some time at the tchouk hut.


Making and selling tchouk is a women’s job. This is a tchouk seller sitting behind her container full of tchouk, which is served up in dried gourd bowls.


This is Adam with John and the tchouk hut crowd. Each person gets a little metal bowl stand and wooden bowl cover. It was market day and one of the men had just purchased the chicken, whose price was a major topic of conversation.