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How I Learned to Relax With Bucket Showers; Also More Camel Drawing

There is a lot to love about the Yas Guesthouse. First, the guests themselves. The flourescent light importers, the Saudi Arabian rice traders, the Malian couple that fight endlessly, the family of seven that stay in one room and use my doorstep as a playground. Then there is Mavis, Eko, Ernest, Winifred, and Doe, the most prominent, colorful, and outspoken members of the family of 11 (and counting?) in charge of the place. Three steps out of my door and I’m laughing about something. There is always a willing checkers opponent. And there is always a dance party:

dancing in accra, ghana

Idleness is forbidden

There is a problem, however, with water access at the guesthouse and in Newtown in general. Because the taps flow intermittently, I have taken to filling up a large bucket whenever I can. I use this bucket to bathe. With a quarter of the water in the bucket I can get myself cleaner than I ever did in the states. Why is this? The added consciousness about the limited water amount has made me more methodical and efficient. I spend most of my time soaping up. And I use an abrasive “sponge” that is really a big piece of woven twine.

In addition to being cleaner, I am also reaping psychological benefits from bathing this way. Every night I drag a chair into the bathroom and ritually clean my feet. I splash them with water and then massage soap into them for ten minutes or so. Is this too much for you? Maybe you’d rather read about me shitting my guts out. It doesn’t take long before I’m in a trance – taking your time with a repetitive action that has a tactile element seems to have that effect. By the time I rinse them off, my feet are sparkling and I am practically on a narcotic. Cleaning my feet is as meditative as it is purifying.

The larger machinery of travel forces us to be in the moment more than we may be used to. The novelty of the experience, the lack of a routine, and depending on where you are travelling, absolute unpredictability – all redirect our attention to the present. Washing your feet can be done without the help of these forces and surprisingly it can have a similar effect. While it might take a little extra effort to concede ten minutes of your day to cleaning in between your toes, you won’t regret it.

Alright, Let’s Get Silly

I was not as uncompromising in my critique because this girl has some confidence issues.


Take one. Drawing a camel with imagination alone. Winifred around 39 seconds with her “oh my god, what kind of cammoll is this??” is priceless.


Take two. This one is after the first lesson in my Camel Drawing Course (the $45, 3-page ebook is coming soon). Again Winifred provides great commentary: “pardon me to say this, but it looks like a flag?”

strange drink in ghana

I don’t know what the hell this liquor is made of, but it tasted like a piece of wood coated in cough syrup. Add it to the list of drinks that can inspire me to puke just by thinking about them (becherovka, the christmassy drink from the Czech Republic is on this list, along with kava, and raki and anything else flavored with anise).

strange drink in ghana

My eyes tell the story. Eesh.

drinking alomo bitters in Ghana

Now this is a drink. Two parts gin, one part alomo bitters, one part lime cordial. Can drink all night.

I am finally wrapping up a mini-documentary that should be up here in a day or two. That’s all for now.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Corinne August 12, 2010, 4:26 am

    I think it’s wine! ….. HI PHIL!!!!

    • phil August 12, 2010, 9:34 am

      Corinne! Bring Cannon to Ghana!!!!

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