Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shopping in Kumasi is intense like camping... (get it? in tents!)

Today was quite an eventful day! We began with a lovely breakfast at Royal Basin Resort. Some of us had a late start (ahem... Lindsey & Liz), but we headed out on time! First on the day's itinerary was visiting the Bonwire Kente cloth makers. Around 15 men all work together & set up their looms in a small building. They display an array of beautifully woven cloth on their section of the wall, and work diligently for weeks to create strips of Kente. We all enjoyed browsing and shopping through their handcrafted items!
Next, we went to the Adinkra village. The men there taught us how to transform tree bark into dye, and allowed us to grind the bark in a large hollowed out tree trunk. We each got to choose two symbolic African symbols to imprint on colored strips of cloth. Everybody purchased their favorite symbols, which were carved out of calabash gourds! We all enjoyed creating our own works of art.
After this, we headed to the Kumasi wood carving village. We had thirty minutes to shop for whatever things we desired & be back on the bus. The time crunch made it a fun adventure! All of the girls have developed shopping strategies- we go together in groups & work down the vendor together to get the price that we want. We all really enjoy shopping and bargaining! We got things such as carved giraffes & lions, the famous stools, and beautiful wooden bowls. It was a successful shopping adventure for all of us!
Then, we ate a quick lunch at a restaurant called Bonjour. We enjoyed pizza and burgers, which did not quite meet our American expectations, but were nourishing none-the-less. We journeyed to the Manhyia Palace Museum, and took an educational tour and learned much of the Ashanti kings and the rich culture, steeped with history. We enjoyed seeing wild peacocks meander around the property, and we heard them calling out to one another. The ladies also shopped in the palace gift shop (of course!)
From there, we traveled to the King Prempeh Museum and Craft Bazaar. The museum was an open courtyard with four walls, and calabash and cocoa trees were growing intertwined right outside the entrance. The tour guide described for us the numerous historical artifacts that are special to the Ashanti region in Ghana. After this, we were once again able to shop at the open crafts tents! The girls were all excited about this opportunity! We bargained and purchased for nearly an hour, and collected many more souvenirs. After this adventure, we were all tired, and we headed back to the hotel to rest before dinner.
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, swimming in the hotel pool, and enjoying quality time with one another. Overall, it was a wonderful, fun-filled day in Africa once again!

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