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If you are staying in Tamale for a longer period -and a lot of foreigners that come to the city do- it is very advisible to buy yourself a bicycle. Bikes are the main way of transportation in Tamale, because cars are too expensive and the streets in the centre are too narrow and busy to drive one anyway.
It is possible to rent a bike for a period of a week or a month, but especially when you stay for a longer period buying one will be much cheaper. A normal price for a bike -don't pay more then that!- is 500.000 cedi's, about $50,-. And once you leave you can sell it again for about 300.000 cedi's.
Bikes normally have a basket on the front: easy to take anything you need, and a light at the front.
There are several places where you can buy the bikes. If you see ten bikes in a row anywhere in the marketarea, you can be sure that this is a bicycleshop. Just walk in and ask if you can try a couple of bikes.
Written Oct 11, 2006
Address: Market area, Tamale
Almost everywhere in Ghana you have to be very careful with taking pictures of the local people. Tamale is one of the places where it is not appreciated at all when you take a spontaneous picture of somebody.
Taking pictures (or "snapping", like all Ghanaians call it) of children normally is no problem at all. They normally love it to be in front of the camera, especially when you can show them the picture with a digital camera. If you want to "snap" an adult though, you should at least ask it before you do so, and even then you should be prepared on receiving a "no" as an answer. Sometimes they ask you "why" so they give you a chance to explain that you just want to show the people back home what you have experienced in Ghana, and how beautiful the country is. And sometimes they ask you money for a picture. In both cases you are lucky, because just as often it happens that you simply won't allow you. If you do "snap" them, you take the risk of being attacked, or at least your camera being attacked.
Where does this fear for a picture comes from? There are two explanations for that. the first is that a lot of Ghanaians think that "white people" will use those pictures back home to show how poor and unmannered the Africans are. When they look at magazines and TV-programs about Africa, they often so only negative publicity. The result is a feeling of shame, and a fear of a picture.
The second reason has more to do with the religious background of a lot of Ghanaians. In a lot of regions in the country the people still believe in "voodoo" and a picture can be something to practise voodoo on. Most of the times that is not the reason why they don't want a white person to "snap" them, because they know that white people don't do voodoo. But towards other Ghanaians that can be an important reason to say "no" to a picture.
Written Dec 15, 2006
Just as we were finished our lunch, there was a bit of commotion outside the walls of the restaurant, with a crowd gathering and throwing stoned at the ground just by the wall. Being curious creatures, we went to investigate, and found that it was a snake! The locals had managed to kill it (although it was still wriggling) by the time we got there (thankfully) and we never did find out whether it was poisonous or not (again thankfully). A bit of excitement for the day though.
Written Feb 7, 2007