Mare, Mare o so


I’ll go with you


Cape Coast Castle

After a day of lounging, trying to let the rash on Mare’s legs and arms relax, we decide to visit the Cape Coast Castle, which naturally sits on the coast. So we head out in the morning, as taxi haggling experts, and grab a reasonable ride to the Castle. First built for defense, and then used as administration and legitimate trade, in the year 1485 the Portuguese introduced the trading of native people for slavery. The horrendous practice of slave trade exists here until about the 1870’s. Slave traders steal an estimated 12 to 25 million people, and sell those who survive.

One plaque offers a breakdown of where the people go:

Brazil – 1/3 of all slaves

Caribbean – second 1/3

US and Canada – third, 1/3 – the smallest number of slaves, but the harshest of work and conditions.

We skip the organized tour of the massive castle, and wander on our own, reading plagues, and visiting various rooms. We enjoy seeing a plaque dedicated by President Obama during his visit to Ghana. Down in the horrific slave dungeons, we remember our visit to the ancient jails in the walled city of Khiva, Uzbekistan, where the dungeons hide under the horse stables, while a constant drip of waste leaks from the ceiling.

Lastly, we walk through massive wooden doors, and see an engraving above the door that reads, “Door of no Return.” I feel a rush of fear, a wave of something that neither one of us cannot begin to comprehend. Relief comes immediately beyond the doors, though, where we watch a bustling crowd of people welcome fishing boats coming in for market.

Outside the “Door of no Return”

Mare hassles the taxi drivers in this chaotic city. “I’m not paying that. The ride is too short.” So we walk down the market lined streets, in-between shops, and three-foot deep cement troughs, where raw sewage runs in a dark stream on both sides of the narrow road. All the while, taxis dodge us with precise precision. I’m not sure what would be worse, getting hit by a taxi or falling into the sewer. Mostly, the sewers are covered with wobbly, wooden planks. I find it strange that you can sell and cook food right atop an open sewer. Efficient, I suppose.

Eventually, we find our internet café, and this time I bring my personal HP Mini. We experience some difficulty setting it up, but after the second power outage, this little machine started humming, and I can find punctuation, so no more excuses.

We try to download photos, after walking a roundtrip three miles for a cable that doesn’t work. The African sun and humidity take their toll on us, yet again. I’ll post photos soon, I promise. After I make a post, we sip a cold one on the porch of the Savoy hotel. Mare uses the cold bottle to cool her legs, radiating red with heat rash, and worsening.

“I don’t think I can hang in this climate,” she tells me.

“I agree. We’ve pretty much seen most of what we wanted to see.”

“All I know is that I need some cooler weather.” We look at each other and do not mention the lack of air conditioning anywhere. She continues. “I have nothing to prove to anybody.”

I thought about my blog. “Yes, you are right. We can go anywhere we want to.”

Then I think about our traveling spirit, and feel grateful for the feeling of freedom. Free to go anywhere we chose.

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