In the centre of the city is a mountain. It looms over the rest of the city and can be seen from everywhere as a constant reminder of how small we are. The buildings here range in size and shape from the giant stone fortress on top of the dormant volcano to the bamboo and gold structure built to house the city’s insane. There are many stone built buildings that can be gloomy on the dark cloudy days that are usual in this part of the world. The grey is held back by teams of workers who plaster brightly coloured pictures to the walls of the city streets.
This is the birth place of wizards and a place where tales of Africa originate. It has a dark side and many stories of murder have started here. There are vaults underground that were once home to the city’s poor and a hiding place for criminals. Here is the home of grave robbers and the place where plague victims were walled in to die.
But this is the past, now it is the home of entertainment, a place where the unreal can exist for a short time.
On arrival you could be forgiven for thinking that there are only rich people here but soon you will realise that they hide the poor behind the mountain. They let them wander amongst the other inhabitants disguised as dancers and actors, occasionally their bodies are found on the streets but it is passed off as art.
The majority of the inhabitants can be found in the city centre, an area covering about 2 square miles. Here they congregate to socialise with each other. Exchanging information, watching each other, learning and then taking the stories of this city to all parts of the world. People here will stop you and tell you of their life without hesitation.
The sights and sounds of this city are a combination of cultures from around the world, there is everything here from the Russian ballet to African drumming. Surrounded by the grey buildings and high street shops people dance and tell jokes. Buses pass by as people tightrope across gardens and men walk down busy streets carrying chainsaws.
This is a magical place where fruit walks the streets following the instructions of the fruit controller, the command “stop fruit” causes a pile up as the banana runs into the strawberry.
The crowds stop to allow a corrugated iron creature to pass by, many take pictures and the animal (if that’s what it is) poses with them.
But, one word of warning to any visitors, don’t mention the trams.