Everything is Irie and Fresh in Aburi

3-8-10

Today was a national holiday in Ghana as Independence Day fell on the weekend. This meant that we did not have to go to work (after quite a bit of persuading Hayford) and could use the time to travel. I decided last night to go to Aburi, the hilltop rasta village of Ghana, to see what it had to offer. Laralynn said that she would be interested in joining me, so we got up early and headed for Kwabenya and the usual route to the Eastern region. In Madina we had no trouble getting a trotro. There was one direct to Aburi, which greatly surprised me, and before I knew it we were ascending a mountain. The road curved round and round, climbing steadily above the clouds to a summit that seemed further than the moon. Eventually we came upon small towns perched precariously on the hillside, and finally, Aburi.

The trotro dropped us at a three way junction (along with two other obroni girls) and we bought a FanIce before trying to figure out where the botanical gardens could be. The two girls that got off as well said they had seen a sign that pointed further up the hill, so we began our walking ascent. Just before getting there we were befriended by two Ghanaian men. The talkative one was named Francis, and after joking about me paying for him we left them with the other girls at the gate. The gardens were beautiful (not really picturesque, however) and serene. It was wonderful to see many Ghanaian groups there, some with school and others on church retreats. As we walked around we heard different groups singing and saw much dancing, and eventually we stopped to listen. The group seemed to be a spontaneous collection of people, and just as spontaneously they stopped dancing and sat down to play board games.

Eventually I got a craving for kebobs so we went to the restaurant on site for a meal. I got two kebobs (they put a dry rub of paprika and other spices on alternating chicken or beef and onion slices, then grill it… so good) and red red with plantains. I was stuffed by the end, and the meal cost under 6 Cedi. Afterwards we left to investigate the craft market, but found ourselves wandering through the town searching for anything wooden. When we asked for directions people showed us to the food market, until we found a man who happened to work as a wood carver. He walked with us to the wood market, which was quite a way out of town, and then tried to pressure us into going into every stall. Laralynn went necklace crazy, and I bought a bracelet for my Dad and a small wooden sculpture for myself.

Next we took a taxi to Rita Marley’s studio with the hopes of touring it, but the gate was closed with no guard at the post. I was really sad, and I later found out that the phone number on the sign was out of service. The outside looked cool though… there were metal lion statues along the wall, and the entire front was painted in red, green, and gold. And so we went home and rested.

Laralynn is an interesting person so far. She is married to a Mexican man, and is currently living in central Mexico with his family. She is on sabbatical from teaching chemistry at an independent high school in San Francisco, which she’s been doing for the past twelve years. All in all she’s really chill and fun to travel with, except together we are really indecisive. What’s better is that after a Smirnoff Ice she stops being so shy and we generally have good conversation.

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