[This is part six of a diary that John Mutter, co-founder of the Bamboo Bike Project, kept on a trip to Ghana in January 2011]
I traveled back to Accra on Sunday via the VIP bus. The bus station is located in market area and is fairly simple to catch. Just turn up and sit in a waiting area that is set up with four sets of seats – three across and about ten deep that represents a bus-full of people. Those in the seats nearest the doors that lead out to the bus are the next to leave and they are sold tickets. The rest of us sit in the farther rows of seats and pick up our stuff and move progressively closer to the desired seats when those who have been sold tickets are told they can get on the bus. So there is no schedule and the bus goes when it is full. It seems to work. People all around are selling water and snacks for the ride.
The bus seems to deal with the roads better than the car on the way up, and we make better time as well even with a stop at a rest stop on the way where I paid to go to the rest room and I bought a pie to eat. Asking what sort of meat was in it, I was told something I could not understand ort recognize but I ate it anyway. I didn’t get sick.
Finding the Afia Beach hotel was a challenge as it is down an unmarked dirt road in poor condition and the sign for the hotel at the head of the road had been removed because it had been mistakenly placed over a sewer or utility lines and was taken down to do work on the utilities. Fortunately I had downloaded a Google map of the area and could figure out how to get there. But the hotel was the real reward – bungalow style rooms that opened on to the beach. A little rough in places but not bad at all. I would recommend it.
Simple getting to the airport and the flight was straightforward as well. Back to frigid New York in the evening of Monday with no serious issues. Next day is the start of the semester.
I rather regret not being able to stay for the week of training on the new set-up in the factory. The team of Ghanaians have been picking up skills at a very rapid rate and it would have been a real pleasure to see them lean to build bikes of the jigs made for that purpose and us the tools that they have. However, since I could not be involved directly in the training myself it seemed like not the best use of time to stand aside and watch and take photos and of course the semester began the same week so I had little choice but to come back to New York. Still, it would have been good to stay a while longer.