Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Market Thief, Trip to Kumasi Part 3 5.21.2011

So we made it back to the hotel and slept well. Next day we ate dinner, but only got 6 free meals so we had to pay for the last two and share it but we were shocked to find that it was around 6 cedis, 50 pesawas for a small piece of egg and three slices of toast. Yikes. After that, we got out and this time we split into two groups to look for the market because 8 people was not working out at all. (There are 11 of us from the two PIBV groups, but 3 people hadn’t come for various reasons). We had to go through the market quickly so that we had time to go to the cultural center and catch a bus before 2 or 3 so that we wouldn’t be traveling at night (the entire trip between the cities was about 4 hours). My group found the market and just about gasped. The guidebook describes it as labyrinthine and I’d say that’s about right. The Kumasi market is a vast maze of stalls and what not, ordered slightly into sections of food, clothing, tools for hygiene etc. It’s really amazing actually that the stall owners can get in and out of there with their stuff and find the same stall that they came from. Assuming that is how it happened anyway. We walked for maybe 10-13 blocks and we only went down one strip!! When we finally came to an open, we looked back and saw like 6 or 7 more strips of market! It was honestly too much. Chei! At one point we went through the meat and fish section and me and the Penny Loafers kid (who happens to be from Hong Kong) were chillin’ but the other three with us were gagging from all the fish eyes and flies lol. Gotta have a little experience or else that’s definitely a shocker at first.

So when we made it out, we decided not to go through any more stalls, we’d already bought some fake jerseys from Ghanaian soccer team for 6 cedis (the day before some one in our group had bought if 13 cedis lol!!) and I bought some Nigerian Super Eagle shorts because apparently Nigerian soccer jerseys are hard to come by in Nigeria. We walked all the way back down the outside of the market looking for the Cultural Center and ended in another part of the market. I was talking to my mom and walking quickly through it and when I finally made it to another opening I looked back and saw that only 2 of the 4 people I was with were there! We started walking back to find them, yelling there names and walked only a few steps when they shot out from a crowd. We yelled after them and one stopped but the other girl just kept running. The one who stopped yelled, take us to a safe place! Take us to a safe place! And we were so confused but we walked around to the steps of a Barclay’s bank and sat down and talked. Apparently this guy in the market had come up behind the girl and unzipped her backpack and tried to take something. When she looked back, a lady next to her pointed after a man who was walking quickly away and told her to go after him. So the two ran after the man saying he took something from the girl! Suddenly a swarm of Ghanaians came running and stopped the man and were holding everyone part of his body and asking the girl what he’d stolen but she was so terrified from all the running and screaming that she didn’t focus and she looked through her bag and didn’t realize that (she found out later) the man had taken 20 cedis from her bag so she said he hadn’t managed to take anything, he was just rummaging. As they hurried back to find the rest of the group, they saw the man sitting on the side of a street with his head bloody because apparently the group of Ghanaians had taken it upon themselves to punish the man for his attempt. The thief looked up at the two from our group with what the boy told us was a look that said “See what you’ve caused!” They were so shaken they just continued hurrying until we saw them and stopped them. Whoa Ghanaians do not take thieving very lightly…

After all that, we didn’t feel like going to the Cultural Center and most of us had no money to do so anyway (especially the girl who’d had her money stolen). Some people just bought some little things from the gift shop and we headed back toward the bus station. This time, we were all seated in the same place but part of our group ended up right next to a drunk man who wasn’t wearing a shirt. He spoke little English and the rest of the bus was just laughing at whatever craziness he was saying as he semi-harassed our group. I wasn’t back there with them so the three who were sitting with me and I had a pretty pleasant ride back as usual. What a day in Kumasi!

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