(edited 2/29: Images have been added -DR)
The Diplomat is one of our favorite restaurants in which to enjoy a nice lunch when we go to town on Fridays. Notice the rather sophisticated sign and somewhat pretentious name. Inside is fairly nice too; simple but clean, with actual plastered and painted walls, ceiling fans, and plastic table cloths.
The kitchen, however, is straight from typical West Africa. Women cook outside over wood fires in back of the restaurant. The woman in the picture is covering a large basin of cooked chicken parts. Others are washing dishes outside in tubs.
Prices are a little expensive for Northern Ghana but quite good compared to the US- $2.80 for a large plate of shredded chicken and rice or $1.80 for “Red Red” (red beans and plantains, one of DJ’s favorite local foods). Add 40 cents if you want a coke. Despite the primitive kitchen, the local lunch food has Taco Bell beat all to heck!
Saturday we left early for a relaxing adventure to the village of Shiaga, located about 10 miles away. Most of the trip would be on what is an average dirt road with washed out bridges, rocks, bumps and gullies. A regular car would not make it on this road, but it is OK for a motorcycle or 4 wheel drive vehicle. If all went well, it would take about us 1 hour to get there.
We had barely left the house when the moto engine suddenly stopped for no apparent reason. We coasted into our small local repair shop, they replaced a spark plug and we proceeded on our way. After two miles, the engine stopped again. By this time we were on the dirt road, more or less in he middle of nowhere. By a stroke of good fortune, it was market day in a village about 3 miles further along the road, so there was an occasional moto going that way. After a few motos stopped to help and quite a bit of fiddling, the moto started again and went another 3 miles before stopping. By then were were within pushing distance of Pelungu, a village large enough to have a repair shop. Pelungu is at the end of n active electrical transmission line, just installed within the last year. Consequently, I was able to get a wonderfully cold Coca Cola from a shop in one of the mud buildings during the wait.
A picture of David and the mechanics was taken just before the moto was completely disemboweled, but can’t seem to get it posted (edit: see below for the image). After one hour of work on the fuel line, filters, carburetor, etc. we drove off and the engine died again. We pushed it back to the repair shop for round two. At this point the engine was placed under scrutiny, spark plugs were cleaned again and many other important things seemed to happen. In the end, we paid a total of $3, and the engine still dies unpredictably, but not quite as often. We did make it all the way to Shiaga, where we visited friends and had lunch. We did make it back home, though the moto engine continued to die at random intervals.