Ju-Ju on Two Wheels

As my new #bookproject continues to take shape, I discover more and more epic tales from my early #WanderYears as a photojournalist and adventure traveller. There are literally hundreds of poems, essays, Blogs and journals to work through, blending a whole bunch of extraordinary encounters, quirky characters and audacious expeditions, always with a dash of humour on the side.

This excerpt below timelines me all the way back to year 2000 when I did a #bikepacking trip with an Aussie mate along the historic #GoldCoast in #ghana, West Africa…

6 JUNE, 2000
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GOLD COAST CRANKING
I dream that I wake up before sunrise to stare out across the ramparts of a seventeenth century castle. Below me, a palm-fringed bay ripples away towards a horizon filled with charging cumulus clouds. Square-sailed pirogues, splashed in brilliant reds and yellows and greens and blues, scuttle before the wind, while oarsmen in akru long-boats engage the ocean in a contest as old as mankind itself.

The rising sun slants long shadows across the waking village, where dogs, pygmy goats and chickens compete for scraps on dusty streets. Dawn sees a vibrantly attired mass of humanity spill onto beaches, the villagers fluttering like flocks of exotic birds in a strange morning ritual. This is not a dream, though … Apam, with its 500 year old trees, medieval buildings & multi-coloured throngs, unfolds before me in all its surreal and gritty beauty. While Tim stews a pot of tea, I scramble downhill through a collection of huts clinging precariously to the cliff-side to join the community ablutions on the beach.

Despite the palpable poverty & a few turds above the high-water mark, the beauty of this pagan continent shine brightly: a Fante grandfather meets me with a bucket of fresh water to wash the ocean from my body; on the way back a couple in a simple hut invites me in to share a meagre breakfast; schoolchildren scamper over to smile at this strange pale traveller. And no one believes for a second that I have pedalled a bicycle all the way from Accra…

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