Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bye Bye

Good bye

After 5 hours the car was finally loaded into the container, fixed, doors closed and sealed. By that time we were already sweating in the heat like a swiss mountain river. We will now drive to the airport and fly back to Europe. Well, there will be a lot of stories to tell, we had a great time, and I know one thing for sure: a part of myself still belongs to Africa. But right now we are tired, dirty, smelly, unshaved and looking forward to meet our family tomorrow in Zurich. Good bye.

Tema harbour

Today we drove to the final stage of our trip: Tema harbour. To ship the car back to Switzerland we had a prearranged deal, including all preparations Of course, nothing was prepared. Hey, it's Africa. After some waiting, some talking and some laughing we were allowed to drive to the container section of the harbour. It was a whole new navigation challenge to find the way between valleys of containers and lorries.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cape Coast Beach

Today we drove westwards. Thomas wanted to visit the place he used to go to the beach as kid. Well the place was no longer worth seeing... But further west we found a nice little lodge under palm trees...


When you spend so may hours in the car, you start to arrange it like a little home. We mounted the computer on a white kitchen plate, so that it held to the dashboard of the passenger seat. We used the computer for navigation and to keep detailed account of spending and gasoil consumption (remember, Thomas was a consultant. Keeping track of expenses lays in his nature). On top of the computer we fixed the ipod (surrounding it with duct tape and attaching it with removable velcro bands). On the back of the computer we fixed some reflective foil, so that it doesn't overheat. The maps and guides lay on the dashboard behind the computer. The devices are loaded by two 12V plugs in the front dashboard. That the plugs don't fall away with vibration we fixed them with an ELVIA business cards (yep, it's multifunctional).
In the middle you see the two water bottles to keep us alive (the soft drinks, the wine and the whiskey are in the fridge behind).
The red fabric in the middle is a Mondial Assistance neckscarf. I did wear it for some time, but later used it to wrap it around my cellphone.... and indeed, the cell phone is still working, while most other electronic devices hat failures at one time or another (overheating for the computer, shut down of the ipod for hours and the autofocus of the camera stopped working a week ago).

Cape Coast

Cape Coast was the capital city of the british colonies in West Africa, and it was the main passing point for the slave trade. About 10 million africans were deported to Europe and the Americas, most of them from West Africa. Many of them where held prisoners in the dungeons of this castle, until the ships took them away. A very sad place.

Heavy duty cars

Two heavy duty cars next to each other. For those fluent with car mechanics, you may recognize the reinforced suspension. By the way, the car doesn't stand straigth any more. There will be some work to do in Switzerland....

Local food

Thomas is always kind of courageous regarding local food. Yesterday he ate Frufru (a meal with peanuts, chicken, yams, plantains to be eaten with the fingers). Today it was another local dish with palm oil sauce and at least one entire chicken in the sauce (well, we hope it was chicken.... on the street to the west people held up dead rats for sale....)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Trip into the past

Thomas's trip into the past goes on. Unfortunately this friend close to Accra was not at home, so Thomas left him a note....

Nice city

Accra has some nice restaurants....

Blast from the past

Today we visited some old friends of Thomas. The guy on the right is a swiss guy, who travelled in 1956 to Ghana, married and still lives here. His son (to the right) used to play with Thomas when they were kids.


Objective reached

We have reached our objective. We are on the beach in Accra. So far we used 1500 liters of gasoil, for 9000km.


By african standards Accra is a big and rich city. The roads are large, but still to small for the numerous cars (pro memoriam: Ouaga and Bamako were the cities of bicycles and bikes...not enough money for cars). The basic layout of the city hasn't changed in 30 years, so Thomas can still orient himself fairly well.


Catholic Mission Akwatia

We spend the night at the catholic mission in Akwatia. Thomas visited the Mission and its german nuns several times as kid.



2nd shock absorber

We destroyed our second shock absorber. It happened on the very bad road to Akwatia. Fortunately we bought two pieces in Bamako. A mechanic at the hotel in Accra replaced it within 20 minutes.


There are some nice hills when approaching the coast.


Thomsd with a german nun. They met the last time 31 years ago.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another african dish

Fried bananas, fried maniok and boiled maniok....

On the road to Kumasi

Banana Trees

Kumasi city


Approaching the tropical forests

30 years ago there were tropical rainnforests along this road... Now the forest is still green, but no longer so dense.

First clouds since Morocco

It´s so good to be out of the heat. Today we saw the first clouds since Morocco. By the way, Thomas´s health is fine again.


The villages changes shape. Instead of round houses, they are now long and rectangular.


The vegetation becomes greener and the temperature is bearable again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Taxi driver from New York

We spent the night in Tongo in the courtyard of the local school administrator. He spoke perfect english... Indeed, he worked 7 years as cab driver in New York. So we were in the middle of Africa, sipping a Tenessee Whisky (we bought in a Lebanese shop in Bamakko) and talking to a New York cab driver.... We ended the day with some fried bananas...
The next morning we tried to find the steward from Thomas childhood. We talked to elderly in villages, to police man, to people on the markets, but to no avail. We left the region of Bolgatanga and drove to Tamale. Thomas got some stomach ache, so we decided to stay in an air conditionned hotel.



We already drove more than 9000km and made over 2000 photos....

Thomas talking to village elders

Traditional housing


Landscape Tongo Region

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


On the way to Po we visited a center, where girls forced into marriage find refuge. It has been built by my father in the late 90ies.


Today we crossed into Ghana. We will spend the night in Tongo, a village close to Bolgatanga. Thomas will try to find there a familly who used to work in his house in Accra 30 years ago... The main problem: we dont know the name of the father, as Thomas used to call him "Frafra", which is the name of the tribe. Well, I´ll keep you posted on the success of this operation.


Thomas tasting some horse powers on sand

Buying food

It´s so much fun here in Ouagadougou, that we decided to stay one more night. On the pic we are in front of the oldest SuperMarket in Ouaga, owned by a Lebanese family.

Moto Cross

An old passion of mine.... Fortunately an old friend of mine still does moto cross competitions. So we could taste the fun again...

Chinese motorbike

The chinese are winning very fast the african markets. Here Thomas sits on a `J-C` bike.

Street vendors

Taxi Brousse

Monday, March 17, 2008

Inedependance Avenue


From the Dogon Land we drove to the border of Burkina Faso. Passed through Ouahigouya (3rd biggest city of Burkina, but merely a big village) and arrived safely in Ouagadougou before night fall.
We are staying at the Hotel Independance, right in the city center. It's a hotel I used to hang around the swimming pool when I was kid. The next day we visited the school I attended (picture above) and then we went and visited some old friends.... Well, it's time for nostalgia.... Smile. The first night we went to bed at 2am. The second night at 6am.... and we decided to stay for a third night. Ouaga is just a great city to hang around, talk, have good diner at the Coq Bleu (run by an austrian guy), laughing, meeting people etc.


The water reservoir, from where the city used to get the water.