“He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home”

I made it: I’m finally home! Gracie was crazy, and the cats head-bonked me and purred. I greeted them and then went upstairs to take a nap. I left my luggage in the middle of the floor and dragged my tired body upstairs. After, I came down to unpack a bit. Right now the laundry and two empty suitcases are sitting in front of the cellar door. I’m hoping the laundry elves will get busy and a pile of  clean, folded clothes will be there to surprise me.

The rides home were unspectacular: no missing flights, on-time arrival and departures and pure exhaustion after nearly eleven hours from Accra to New York. I then had to haul my bags through customs and down to the ongoing flight luggage counter. I waited three hours for my flight to Boston which felt like a minute long after the first flight. I got the bus and was home by 12:40, seventeen hours after the first take-off.

I need to tell you about my last few days in Ghana. I was back in Accra for one night then went down to Cape Coast. It is a beautiful city. Many of the buildings are old and have wooden second floors with shuttered windows. The houses are brightly colored with pink being popular. The streets are narrow and crowded with market stalls on each side which makes travel slow. As you approach Cape Coast you can see the ocean, the palm trees and fishing boats not far from shore. The easiest building to see is Cape Coast Castle on a buff right on the water. It is painted a brilliant white. The castle is on the Historic Register. It is where you’ll find the famous Door of No Return through which the slaves, chained together, walked on their way to the ships which were headed to the Caribbean and the coast of America. The tour guide was excellent. She took us to the male and female dungeons, the quarters of the British captain who ran the fort, the  punishment cell where slaves who resisted were left without food, water or light and finally to the ramparts where we saw the look-out tower across the way and the cannons lined up facing the ocean. Next to the male dungeon is a plaque commemorating the visit of the Obamas. Grace, my former student, asked if the Obamas had to pay. The guide laughed. It was hot and I had beads of sweat down my face, my constant condition in Ghana.

We stayed at a guesthouse on a hill overlooking the city. It was the most expensive of any lodgings I had had in Ghana. Each room was fifty cedis ($25.00), and I had to pay for three: mine, Grace’s and the driver’s, but the room were enormous and Grace was overwhelmed. She wanted pictures of the room. Breakfast was part of the room price. It was the usual breakfast: eggs cooked as almost an omelet but browned rather than fluffy usually with onions and sometimes also green peppers. It is eaten in a toast sandwich. Those egg sandwiches are delicious and available all over Ghana. This breakfast also included pieces of sweet paw paw (papaya) and bananas.

We hit the road after breakfast and went further down coast to the village of Beyin. The road was mostly unpaved, but the scenery was gorgeous with the ocean not far off. The waves had white caps and the beaches were crowded with palm trees. We stayed at the Beyin Beach Resort, a fancy name for the thatched roofed bungalows and two chalets. The bungalows had two single beds, each covered my mosquito netting, and shared bathrooms. The hot water was welcomed. Breakfast was extra but worth it. I had real brewed coffee and real milk. I also got a chocolate croissant and shared with Grace and Tankwo, the driver. They loved the chocolate.

We left right after breakfast and drove next door to get tickets to see the stilt village of Nzueleo. We then walked down the street to where we took the boats, more like canoes. Each had two paddlers, one at each end. Grace had never been on a boat before. She and the driver wore life jackets. The woman who gave us the tickets said non-Ghanaians never take the jackets but Ghanaians always do. Few of them know how to swim. Unless they live by the ocean, there are few safe places to swim without the threat of  schistosomiasis (bilharzia), trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), onchocerciasis (river blindness), and, until recently, dracontiasis (guinea worm) which Ghana feels has been eradicated.

The guides paddled us through marshland to Nzulezo. The trip took about 45 minutes and was beautiful. We saw all sorts of birds and flowers. We reached the village which is on stilts and located on one side of Lake Tadane. We left the boat for the wooden walkway through the village. The houses are wooden and most have thatched roofs. We were told that the number in the village is somewhere between 300-500 but no one is sure. I couldn’t take pictures of adults without permission, but I could snap the children. The village has a bar, two churches and a school. Most houses had a TV. When I asked why they lived in that village, I was told that their ancestors were fleeing from enemies and were guided to this spot by a snail. The villagers make money by brewing and selling akpateshie, a local gin. They load containers on boats and paddle to the village to sell their Akpateshie. We stayed in the village for a small while, had a cold drink then went back to the boat for the return trip. Two other boats were paddled by us, both filled with “obrunis” or white people. They waved. We got to the car and drove most of the day to Accra and my last two nights in Ghana.

I spent Saturday doing last-minute shopping and packing. My bags were really heavy, especially the carry-on as it had two pieces of pottery, heavy thick pottery bowls in which to grind things like ginger, peppers or even onions. One bowl was for me and the other a gift. On Sunday Grace and her husband took me out to a farewell lunch. They chose a Chinese restaurant which I had pointed out to Grace while we were shopping. Neither had ever eaten Chinese food before. They both liked my choices and Grace thought she would bring her son there in October for his birthday. Her husband was surprised the bill was not too large but we had shared the dishes: curried chicken fried rice, vegetable tempura and beef with cashews. The vegetables weren’t hot so both Grace and her husband used the hot sauce brought with the meal. I tried just a bit and even my lips were burning.

I went to the airport early and hugged Grace and her husband good-bye. Grace says she’ll come here for a visit and we’ll see each other soon. I checked in early and went to the Adinkra lounge with its free drinks, food and wi-fi. I had a three-hour wait but in the comfort of air-conditioning. At 9:30 I boarded my flight, which left at 10:10 and arrived in NY at 5:30. My flight for Boston left at 8:30; I took the 10:45 bus from Logan to Hyannis and was home by one. My friends had me to dinner. I came home and went to bed around 10, which was 2am my body time. This morning I woke up at 4:30 which is why you are reading this extended travelog.

I am enjoying my second cup of coffee and will go shortly to the drive-way for my papers, the first ones in over three weeks. It seems so strange to be wearing a sweatshirt as the morning is cold. Where are the roosters?

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32 Comments on ““He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home””

  1. Bill S. Says:

    We were thinking of you while you were there and in transit. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. I had no idea that the stilt village even existed. It sounds like the hospitality industry has improved since we were there last.

    We would like to see Grace if she visits before our trip next year. And maybe you can visit us in NH (overnight–we have a visitor apt.) asap?

    • katry Says:

      Grace definitely wanted you to call her and her number is in the phone I’ll bring you as I will come to visit. The phone will have to be charged and you’ll need to buy minutes as the ones I bought will have expired. (I may have to bring Grace though I will check with my usual pet sitter to see if she can stay one night. The sitter I used this time is going back to Brazil soon).

      You can find so many different places to stay. Some have pit toilets, but the dollar is still strong in Ghana so the 50 cedi spots cost little in comparison. The roads are awful in places, but going down coast are pretty good.

      We saw Ganvie in Benin but I also didn’t know about the stilt village until I read about it in the new guide book I bought.

      The trip was wonderful. Last year it was all new again, but this year Ghana seemed far more familiar.

  2. greg mpls Says:

    welcome home! thank you for sharing this really wonderful adventure!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Welcome back!
    All those iasises! And I was just thinking about crocodiles. 🙂

  4. Birgit Says:

    Welcome home! – Thanks for your travelogs.
    A welcome song by Osibisa:

    • katry Says:

      It feels great to be home.

      This song is just so perfect and I love his voice. I looked up Osibisa on Wiki and will just have to get more music.

  5. Birgit Says:

    While curiously awaiting your photos…

    Cape Coast Castle:

    Cape Coast and ships (as in blog photo):

    Canoeing / Lake Tadane / Nzulezo stilt village:

    • katry Says:

      I love these videos. The Cape Coast one, when at the fishing boats, is my favorite scene as it is filled with the sights and sounds of Ghana. Nzulezo looks exactly the same as when I saw it so the video must be fairly new. I stopped in that same bar for the coldest orange Fanta. We,however, did not sing!

  6. Hedley Says:

    I hope that Gracie has been rewarded with an out of sequence run to the dump, or at least some sort of car ride
    Welcome home

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Tomorrow Miss Grace and I will go to the dump. Today I am unpacking and doing laundry-all horrid but necessary chores.

  7. im6 Says:

    Welcome home, your highness! Hope there are still a few deck days left for you to enjoy.

    • Hedley Says:

      Did im6 happen to mention that there is a new Beach Boys Greatest Hits being released under the very strange title “50 Big Ones” which is made even more odd ‘cos once they released an album called “15 Big Ones” which consisted of really bad covers.

      I have been “enjoying” the dark side of Bob Dylan and “Tempest”

      Get those wheels out and roll Ms Gracie

      • katry Says:

        I love it: KatMah!!!

        No, im6 did not mention the Beach Boys. I did get a chuckle out of the name of their new album. I wonder where they found the other 35 “Big Ones”

        I will check out Mr. Dylan’s new album!

        Tomorrow, I swear!

      • im6 Says:

        MDH… there are certainly 50 great BB songs, but you’re right, those 15 aren’t among them (or even close). I’m sure you wish Brian your best wishes for a speedy recovery from his back surgery. And I know you’ll be excited to learn that Mike Love is up to his old tricks…bit.ly/Rj1nrJ

      • im6 Says:


    • katry Says:

      Thank you, im6

      I also appreciate you have shown the proper deference to a woman of my status!

  8. Larry J. Hord Says:

    Welcome home and thank you for your posts from the road!

    • katry Says:

      It was my pleasure, Larry. I really love talking about my adventures, and writing them down keeps the memories intact forever!

  9. olof1 Says:

    I think I would have loved that last part of Your journey! Just being close to the ocean would feel great 🙂

    I can understand why they can’t swim 🙂 It is when reading things like that I’m glad I live in a cold climate where nothing like that lives 🙂 But that’s the only time 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I’m glad You’re home again and that the trip was uneventful 🙂 I hate it when they are just the opposite 🙂

    By the way, I just read that Z&M is very sick and so is/was? his wife. Not sure what has happened though.

    Welcome home 🙂 and have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      The ocean was beautiful, and it felt a little like home, except, of course, for the palm trees. The smell of the water and the sound of the surf was home.

      It’s true about all those diseases keeping them from swimming or needing to learn to swim. I don’t know if the fishermen swim or not when they’re on the ocean. I never noticed anyone in the water when I am close to the shore and the boats.

      I was wondering about Z&M and wrote a comment on his blog asking if he was okay. It is not like him to miss commenting here so I was worried. I’ll drop by again and wish them well.

      Thanks for the good wishes-I’m glad to be home!

    • Birgit Says:

      Check the blog of Zoey&Mes wife for updates:
      Sad story…

  10. Mark Anderson Says:

    I add my welcome back home to all of the others!

    • katry Says:

      Thank you, mark

      It seems so strange that two only days ago I was in Ghana. It was difficult to leave not knowing if I’ll ever get back, but it so good to be back home.

  11. Bob Says:

    Welcome home Kat?

    There is nothing quite like curling up in your own crib after a long journey.

    Arriving in the US and having to transfer to another flight is a nightmare all its own. Whenever I have a tight connection my bag is always the last one to come down the chute onto the carrousel, I wind up at the end of the line at the border checkpoint, there is only one TSA agent at security and I have arrived at the furthest distance from my connecting aircraft’s gate. 🙁

    Thanks so much for your posts which I appreciated during your trip. Asians have settled all over the world and have opened Chinese restaurants everywhere. The quality goes from wonderful in Hong Kong and in Vancouver BC, to very good in the US. The worst Chinese food I have eaten was in Brussels and in Dubai. I think the Asian owners took a culinary detour through Holland. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      It was wonderful taking a hot shower without having to use a bucket.

      I was lucky. My luggage was tagged priority so it was out of the chute quickly. I use Global Reentry so I get to skipped customs which made me the first person out of customs. I then went down to recheck my luggage to Boston.

      When I lived in Ghana, there was one Chinese restaurant. Now there are many, but I have yet to see Chinese in any of them. There were Ghanaians and many Indians. I didn’t know what to expect, but the food was really good.

      Accra used to have several Middle Eastern restaurants when I lived there, but I only found one last year where I could have hummus. I ate my first Indian food in Accra, but I didn’t see any last or this year. The guide book said there are some fine Italian restaurants but i didn’t go to any as I can have Italian at home.

      I was glad I could take you all with me!

  12. bill s. Says:

    Is it possible that the Beach Boys “50 Big Ones” refers to their time together (since 1962)?? Just wondering.

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