• Around the Green Isle: Pemba October 5th, 2011

    Nowadays everything is kept secret from the Europeans, and even those who have spent most of their lives in the country have only now and then discovered hints of the wide, infinitely ramified cult which still flourishes below the surface. (Evelyn Waugh)

    Not many people make it to Pemba, which is half the charm of this mountainous island. Arabic traders in former centuries referred to it as ‘Al khudra’ – the Green Island, and it’s easy to see why. It is as lush as a tropical destination at 4° degrees south of the equator could be.

  • Forts and fishing boats September 29th, 2010

    Ten years ago I might have taken the room, but cramped dormitories with narrow beds and the aroma of half-a-dozen young men sleeping off a hangover have less appeal these days. I happily paid the extra Cedi (less than $1) and found a single room away from the beach. Welcome to Cape Coast, capital of the Central region of Ghana and one of the country’s major tourist destinations.

    The ride here was described to me as lovely, but lethal. It was neither, although I wished I’d had metal hands to slam through the window of  a taxi that pulled over in front of me shortly after leaving Takoradi. There is only one coastal road and it is busy.

  • When force matters September 25th, 2010

    In the end it required four of us to remove it. I’d struggled for two hours previously with an adjustable spanner in one hand and chain whip in the other and got no-where. I was in danger of doing myself an injury. The advice I’d been told about removing my bike’s rear sprocket was true. The thing wouldn’t budge without tremendous force. Two men held the wheel, another the spanner and the biggest of the four of us thrust down on the chain-whip. It finally gave and I unscrewed the dagger-edged piece from the hub.

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