Written on December 21, 2007, Lixborr Hotel, Benin City, Nigeria
I had to wait until I could look in the guidebook to continue catching up the story of my travels.
In Kumasi, I somehow made it the Fosua Hotel… ah, now I remember! I astonished some of the taxi drivers at the station by simply rolling my luggage past the VanefSTC bus station gate and onto the street to the hotel. When I arrived, the lift was out of order so a couple of guys helped me cart my luggage up the six flights, well maybe it was four flights, to the plush decay of the hotel lobby. The receptionist gave me a room at the far end of the building. I settled in for a shower and to relax a bit, but kept nearly jumping out of bed each time there was a large crashing sound in the ceiling. It took awhile to figure it out, but I finally realized large birds were landing on the thin aluminum roof at twilight making loud crashing sounds as they landed. Luckily, it didn’t last all night. I snuck out of the hotel to walk over to Vic Baboo’s Cafe for dinner. I got to order some reasonable Indian food. Although there were other travelers at the Cafe, as well as some locals, I barely talked with anyone and felt a bit conspicuous eating alone. I wandered back to the hotel and crashed out early.
The next morning, I ate breakfast in the room, then headed out to try to get a taxi to the National Cultural Center complex. Eventually, I caught a cab there. I arrived in front of a building where a ceremony involving lots of women was taking place. I asked a woman out front and she sent me over to the administration building where another woman pointed me to the women-run craft center. I bought an Akweba wood carving that is a fertility charm.
Then, I walked over to the Prempeh II Museum which contains a lot of history about the Ashanti people and particularly that king, including some talking drums, the slit drum style. After the museum, I walked over to the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital where, in the courtyard near the hospital, a small museum houses a sword which has been in the ground for three centuries. According to legend, an Ashanti sorcerer drew the Golden Stool from the sky at this place. If anyone succeeds in pulling out the sword, the legend goes, the Ashanti kingdom will collapse.
Walking back from the hospital after unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a taxi, I met a nice fellow along the way who was on his day off from a job within the diamond industry.
We stopped for a drink on the way and he invited me back to his place to meet his family, but I went back to the hotel instead. I ate lunch at a restaurant one floor below the hotel, during which I conversed with a fellow from Holland(?) off to meet some friends he had met on the Internet. I was a bit worried for him, but he didn’t seem concerned.