Travel to Kumasi

Friday, January 24, 2014
Kumasi, Ghana
 When I got to the hotel last night and to my room, it was very late, so I made one quick entry and went to bed. But I'd like to share something that happened on the flight that I found very interesting.

British Airways does seating differently . You can't request a specific seat until 24 hours before the flight unless you pay for it - and even paying for it is no guarantee you'll get what you asked for. I always want an aisle seat so I can get up and move around if I can't sleep, but the website was down the day before, so all I could do was wait and hope for the best.  

When I got to my connection in Dallas the lady was able to get me an aisle seat from London down to Accra, but the best she could do was a window seat from Dallas to London. Oh well, it sure beats trying to swim it...  

But as I was getting on the jetway she came running down to catch me and another gentleman and suggest we might want to switch seats. He had wanted and paid for a window seat but got an aisle. We both agreed, and for the sake of time she suggested we just swap boarding passes and go with it. We chatted a little in line, and I asked where he was from (Libya, and he was on the way back there) and what he does . He said it is complicated, but suggested I google his name when I had time, and that would tell me, but he currently is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Rochester in New York.

His name is Mustafaag Abushagur, and when I googled him I found his picture (yep, that's the same guy) and discovered that he served as Interim Deputy Prime Minister of Libya, and was a part of the movement to remove Muammar Gaddafi from power. In fact, he was placed on Gaddafi's wanted list in 1981 for his outspoken opposition to the regime. I wish I'd had the opportunity to talk more with him about his experiences, because they no doubt would have been most fascinating.  One never knows who he may bump into when traveling...

 After a pretty decent night's sleep, I got around and took care of a couple of errands - most importantly finding a Forex Bureau to exchange some money into the Ghanaian cedi. Then one of the drivers from the hotel took me to the VIP bus terminal to catch a bus up to Kumasi. These busses are all in fairly good shape, and generally have air conditioning. Aside from the chaos of the terminal, it isn't a bad way to make the 5 hour journey - and FAR less expensive than taking a taxi or hiring a car and driver. Wish they went everyplace I need to go in Ghana...

Once again, my travels were smooth and almost without problem. The bus station in Kumasi is very chaotic, but in contrast, the station in Accra is neat and orderly. The only little hitch came when we pulled into a petrol station (filling station) and I was told this was the last stop, everybody get off. Our man in Kumasi, Ofori Amanfo was to meet me at the bus station, but I'm not exactly sure where that is from here. So I called Ofori, explained where I was and he said to just sit tight he'd be there in a few minutes. And he was.

As it turned out, the station, which is on a cramped little side street, is only a couple of blocks away. They have recently decided to start disembarking passengers at the petrol station to limit some of the incredible congestion at the bus terminal.  So, no harm done, just a little unexpected.

 My hotel is a clean little hotel that occupies the 4th floor of an office building in central Kumasi. It is perhaps a mile walk from here to the place where we will have the meetings with the pastors and elders on Sunday and Monday, so that isn't too bad. I believe this setup will work just fine, especially since my room has internet, hot water and working air conditioning! None of those things are givens here, so I am quite pleased to have them!

One of our members in Kumasi, Daniel Bottah, has been able to buy a used car, and he is coming to pick us up tomorrow morning and drive us down to the congregation that meets in the small village of Mile 9 for Sabbath services.  It will take better than two hours by private car, but it would be nearly 4 if we took the combination of tro-tros and taxis that might normally be used. So the plan is for them to come by at 7 am to get me and begin our journey down. I haven't been to Mile 9 for a couple of years, so I'm looking forward to being with them once again.  

There is a little restaurant down on the 3rd floor of this building, so I went down there for dinner this evening. I ordered a grilled chicken plate with chips (French fries) and my Ghanaian standard, a Star beer. Now to catch some rest before the Sabbath tomorrow!




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Cecil Maranville

Sounds like blessings all around. That is a good beginning!

Tess Washington

Thank you Mr. Clark for this travel blog! Good to know you're in Kumasi now and have some amenities which are needful for a more comfortable journey in this part of the world! Have a wonderful rest and Sabbath celebration with our brethrens! That was quite a treat to meet a Libyan diplomat in person! This is a real small world!