Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Update.



A weekend away from the urban chaos of Accra spent in a little village on the far West coast of Ghana, next to the Ivory Coast.




We took a 4x4 which was owned by the American embassy (going straight through all the police checkpoints makes a change!) to a remote part of the country in the jungle.



We were aiming to get to a village which is built on stilts in a lake somewhere in the jungle. We found a guy who would row us there in a pirogue. We paid him with Jack Daniels. 


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Update.

I've just stumbled across an old blog that my house mate made about me from the old Manchester days, nearly four years ago now. Life without my passport is pretty much a reflection of this old blog really;

http://liamslunches.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Update.

Since its taking a exceedingly long time to get my replacement passport sorted out there's really not much to report on since I'm stationary. I'm trying to make the most of having access to an oven though! I'm generally quite a lean person naturally, but when your on the road weight just seems to fall off you. I've acquired some pretty serious ribs on route. Hopefully if I carry on eating like this I can put on some reserves for the jungles ahead.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Update.

Laying face up in the pool as the sky descends into the evening, I could hear nothing but the sound of my breathing and limbs keeping me afloat. On my left is the last light of the day, piercing through the blue, and on my right behind the row of houses is an ominous black cloud engulfing everything, enveloping all the light, though the denseness of the cloud was so great it reflected the red's and orange's from Acrra's streets. Whilst up above me is a migration of thousands of bats; either being silhouetted by the blue or brought out by the cloud. The cloud won in the end, and all the while, thousands and thousands of bats beneath the red. Beautiful.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Journal 5: From Bamako, Mali, through Burkina Faso and to Kumasi, Ghana

It took three days to reach the Burkina Faso border from Bamako. I really enjoyed Mali. The country was a huge surprise; the people were wonderful, the landscapes beautiful and I felt incredibly safe and relaxed. Mali had been one of my favourite countries from the journey so far and I wondered how Burkina Faso would fare. A year previous I had been unable to pin point where Burkina Faso was on a map. Now I could see it on the road coming towards me.

Burkina Faso is the World’s third poorest country; a landlocked state with poor soil, lacking infrastructure and a massively corrupt government. It was evident straight away from being on Burkinabe soil that poverty was an issue. I’d seen a few children on my ride through West Africa with swollen stomachs from lack of food, but sadly it was a common sight from the beginning in Burkina. It was the second most corrupt border in Africa also, after Senegal. The police demanded money to stamp our passports. When they saw that we weren’t going to pay, they then asked for a present, in this case, Stergios helmet. I mean, a tourist turns up to your country on a motorcycle with the intention of riding the motorcycle through the country and the police want you to give your helmet to them… 

We rode into Burkina, two helmet donned foreigners on tiny motorcycles. We camped about 20 km away from the border that night and then ventured out into Burkina for the first full day that morning. I think I had my cheapest ever meal that day; a huge bowls of rice, vegetables and fish for around 12p. Whilst I was eating, sat on the wall of the open sewer (a very common feature around Africa) a baby being carried over

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Update.

I've manage to make my bike legal in the country for another 30 days. I started the process yesterday and finished late this afternoon. The process consisted of; go to the main customs office in Accra with all my papers, getting batted from room to room (in each room most people were asleep at there desks) before I found someone who could do it. They then said 'yes you've come to the right place, but you need to go to the place under that tree so they can fill out a form that means I can process yours...' I get batted around the many trees before I found the person who could right 'this letter'. I return to the main office with said piece of paper. 'Now Mr Parkin you need to go to the customs office on the other side of town to pay and bring back a receipt before I can stamp this paper'. I ride 15 miles to the other customs office where they then tell me that the main customs office made a mistake on the issue number. I ride back to the main office and explain. No apology but they assure the problem is fixed. I then ride back to the other side of town and the same problem was there. I ride back to the main customs office (quite angry) and they give in and just stamp the paper...

Now coming from an organised culture wouldn't it make sense to just have everything centralised?? All this for the equivalent of £3... which I didn't pay anyway. Africa.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Update.

There may be a way for me to get a passport sent out here without me having to go home. I'm very thankful that I'm staying with a diplomat. He's given me a lot of advice on diplomatic law and these's options seem viable... so I'm going to try at least! I really don't like the idea of flying home to get one. Not only because of the cost issue but also because it would feel like the trip would be broken up in a way. Turning around and riding home does seem very appealing. Anything which includes riding my bike through countries does! But I did come here to ride a moped to South Africa, and I'm going to try my up most to do this until the very end! It would mean that I have to stay in Accra for at least 4 weeks, but Will doesn't have a problem with me staying. I think a break is something that I need also. A time to relax from all the stress is very welcome. We'll see what happens. I'm hopeful that it would work, but if it doesn't then I will turn around. And if I do end up having to stay here for 4 weeks it will give me time to get some things on my bike sorted out; new battery, off road tyres etc. I split up with Stergio when I first entered Ghana as I wanted to travel alone for a while but I would really like to go through the Congo with company. I think I could catch him and Steven up in the time. We'll see what happens. If this fails then there are still other options...

Thanks to everyone who have sent me messages, I really appreciate them. Even though I have no idea what most of you look like I would like the opportunity to meet everyone at some point and shake your hand.

This place is a challenge... and it really has been, in every way. This is what I came for, but I'm surprised at the things that I've found challenging. Roughing it in the wild is something that I relish. Been confronted with constant breakdowns and borderline bureaucratic insanity is something I do not. But I'm still going to push on to the end.

In the meantime I'm going to enjoy living in a comfortable place with a pool and try and put on some much needed weight!