This weekend we decided to spend quietly, in an attempt to recuperate from the last month of nonstop movement and excitement, however being unwilling to stop completely we decided to make our way to the Agomanya bead market a few hours outside of Accra, near Akosombo, for the day.
On Saturday morning we woke up bright and early, packed up, and made our way downtown to catch a trotro leaving the city. I spent much of our trip through the city grabbing any unfamiliar foods I saw and experimentally and unabashedly munching my way through the morning. I managed to eat my way into a food induced sleep and napped most of my way to the Agomanya market.
When we arrived we were met by the smallest, busiest, most densely packed town I have yet to see. For the most part when you escape Accra and make your way into the surrounding country side you are met with quiet and slow paced towns (then again in comparison to Accra most things seem quiet and slow paced) but the area around the market was so densely packed that you had to squeeze through elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder, all the while avoiding the cars and motorcycles that would appear through the crowd like sharks in the water. When we final managed to breach the crowd we found ourselves in the shockingly quiet center of the market, literally surrounded by chaos, much like the eye of a storm. The quiet, raised section was dedicated only to the sale of beads and beaded jewelry. Tables and tables of glass, wood, stone, and brass beads tied together on long strands of rope or cloth. Some of the loops of beads were pretty enough to wear as stand-alone pieces and I quickly found myself collecting beads for that purpose alone.
Most of the vendors were very laid back all willing to chat and were very willing to talk you through their products. They were rather unwilling to bargain but with a bit of persistence and a few nice words I was able to find a couple of bargains here and there. I spent most of the day with a club song stuck in my head (to which I say “arg!”) and at several different stations the vendor would start singing along with me, which led to several impromptu dance parties as we made our way down the aisles. We had a grand old time and shopped the day away stopping only briefly to try and find lunch.
As we made a pilgrimage for food we found ourselves walking through a large section of the market containing only dead fish and seafood. Large metal bowls filled with half dead crabs all climbing over each other trying to escape their fates. Stalls stacked to the brink with whole dried and salted fish, raw, limp fishy corpses thrown over boxes and stalls, unshelled clams, salted and left to dry in the sun, and piles of dead and smelly shrimps. I am no talking about a few stall either, this was a 5 or 10 minute trek through stall after stall of fishy horror and every turn we made seemed to only take us deeper into the abyss. I have a very strong stomach and I still fled the scene trying to hide my ever building nausea and discomfort. It was almost enough to cut my appetite but having marched our way through the market in the surprisingly warm sun (even for Ghana) we figured we should have a cool drink and soon enough the trauma of our fishy adventures had worn off and we found our hunger again.
We avidly avoided taking the same route back to the bead market after lunch, with our rather full bellies we didn’t dare take the risk of stumbling upon the fish market again but made it back to the bead market safely and continued to shop for a little while longer. When we had finished we carefully picked our way back to the road (again, careful to avoid the fish) and made our way home to Accra late in the afternoon carrying our days plunders home like precious gems.
It was a spectacular day trip and was just laid back enough that we didn’t end the day by crumpling, exhausted onto our beds. The trotro rides took us through lush, beautiful fields and we drove through half a dozen fields speckled with mango trees, through towns made up of mud huts and small wooden houses with thatched roofs andamazing numbers of goats wandering about. I have grown to love the butt numbing trotro trips we take, although sitting in a cramped car with no leg room, and very little room to shift position can be taxing the ever changing landscapes and the quick glimpses you get of the various towns and communities along the way make the drives much more enjoyable.
It was a great weekend, foiled only slightly by the cloudy sky on Sunday, as we had hoped to go to the beach, but we can do that another day and instead Sunday was spent relaxing, cleaning, and only leaving the house for a few hours to eat pizza then climbing back into our cozy little nest for a nice long nap. It was a much needed, relaxing weekend but I hope that next weekend will be activity filled with all the chaos and insanity I have grown to love to fill in the gaps, but until those adventures unfold…
So long, and thanks for all the fish.