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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Ghana: Kumasi

Despite the awful state of my mind and body I find myself liking Kumasi. Instantly it feels completely different to Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso, and that's refreshing, even if the weather isn't; for the first time in ages the sky is cloudy, the air is humid, and I can feel the threat of a downpour in the air, even if the chances of it actually raining are pretty slim. After so long in the dry Sahel I've almost forgotten what moisture feels like, and here it is, dripping off me in bed; it isn't pleasant but it's different, and a change is as good as a rest.

Malingering Malian

I do remember one thing, though, and that's just how pleasant it is to be able to speak English to the locals. It transforms things, and although it means I can't feign a lack of language skills to get rid of the touts, it removes a layer of stress that's been with me since the start of my trip (my short break in the Gambia notwithstanding). The touts in Kumasi aren't as bad as they are in places like Mopti or Bamako, but there are still some annoying little buggers who insist on following me round while trying to foist ugly jewellery on me, and one of these neatly sums up my issues with the Francophone countries. I was standing in the queue for the cash machine at Barclays Bank, and a guy joined the queue behind me, waiting his turn. He struck up conversation in French, and conditioned by my time in the Sahel, I replied in French and discovered that he was from Goa in Mali. He seemed friendly enough, but once I'd used the cash machine he followed me from the bank without using it himself.