Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Waterfalls, and Fufu, and Factories, Oh My!
The next morning, absolutely everyone was up before Ortencia and I. The taxi was scheduled for 9 a.m. and so we sat down to our breakfast of oatmeal (made with lemon water, quite good), bread, spaghetti and peas. The view was gorgeous - the clouds were lower than the mountain tops.
We left with the entire family, so there were seven of us in the taxi. We first headed to the Kpalime Art Centre, which was full of wood carvings and batik. The prices were about the same as in Ghana, though since I had little cash, I decided to wait to buy souvenirs on my last day in Ghana, before flying out. Plus, saved me from carrying the stuff around. I did pick up some fair trade coffee, the only you can buy in the country, according to Ortencia. In fact, for a part of the world so close to beans, it's interesting that the only coffee to be had is instant.
Our other planned destination was a waterfall nearby. In the Lonely Planet, the directions reminded me of a treasure hunt: "Go to this village. Speak to someone to find the road. Walk down it for a half hour. When you get to the gate, there will be a fee." We, however, had the luxury of a taxi ride - which turned out to be less luxurious when Victoire got car sick and Maman was thrown up on. Ortencia cheerfully reminded me to watch out for snakes when we went to bee in the bush. Then at the gate, the price had doubled, though after some debating by Maman, we did get a discount.
The waterfall was beautiful and very, very wet at the bottom. We spent some time taking photos and wandering around, finally leaving in the taxi. We stopped several times on the way back - to pick up a snack made of manioc and so that Ortencia could go to the bank. After we returned, everyone started to make fufu. You start with yams, take the skin off and cook them over the fire. After, they are pounded into a goo, that you dip in sauce and eat with your right hand. They taste like gluey mashed potatoes.
After the fufu, Maman sent us to say hi to her boss, a trip that resulted in a tour of a palm oil plant which is presently not working. It was quite an extensive tour - there are even a train with full tanks of oil that is stuck there, as the rail system no longer works. We were given some oranges and apparently they are sucked for their juice, but not eaten. We ran errands - to get Ortencia credit for her phone and pick up some for Maman, to get some eggs and drink another Coke. Ortencia actually mixed Malt Guinness and condensed milk, which is something I won't be taking up any time soon. We we returned, we both had a bucket shower and then a dinner of salad and rice - they key at any meal was to eat enough to make Maman happy, which involves multiple servings. A seamstress was visiting Kpalime to test some apprentices an we chatted with her before watching some more Brazilian soaps and then Cosby, We even looked at the family photo album, read for a bit, and went to bed.
One thing that is notable about the time I spent in Togo is just how many people had malaria. The niece that was visiting had it, Maas thought he might have it, several of Maman's relatives had it. It was everywhere, as I took my daily pills (ones that might have been responsible for why I was also taking a daily dose of Immodium.)