Never fear, I am never far.
I've just returned from five days at the Green Turtle Lodge, near Akwidaa, Ghana.
Why? To hang out and exchange ideas and experiences with several other JHR folks (Kat & Hicham) and to chill by the sea. And that's certainly what we did.
Well, until the storms of Sunday.
Storm one began Sunday at dinner time. A rumbly tumbly. Profuse sweating (even for me). Chills. Headache. Aches. Pains. CHRIST! MALARIA!
But there were a few clues that this wasn't malaria.
Earlier in our trip, we had met Dan Arsenault, a vacationing crime reporter and beer drinker from the Halifax (Canada) Chronicle-Herald. Only hours before he had taken ill. Same symptoms, same amateur diagnosis: malaria.
In another odd twist of fate, the day before, Dan, Hicham and I walked a couple of kilometres to a small fishing village in search of some fresh fish. We had asked the Green Turtle folks if we could do this, and cook it ourselves. They had no problem with the idea as long as they cooked the chips. Deal.
So we picked up several small unknown fish and a big tuna. We walked back to the lodge with our bounty. We cleaned it, cooked it, and devoured it. Yum!
I was barely through my plate of red-red Sunday when my internal warning systems sounded General Quarters. By the time I reached my cabin (with it's own private toilet, thank God), I knew I didn't have malaria. I had food poisoning, this being my third time.
I prepared for a war of the innards and the winds outside began to howl, announcing the arrival of the second storm. I shivered from my chills while sweating from my rising temperature. Coconuts fell on my roof as I managed to make #2 AND vomit simultaneously.
The storms continued for about 12 hours when, in unison, the rain outside stopped and the pain in my gut subsided. I heard angels sing. I felt like I was in a Midol commercial.
Neither Hicham nor Kat suffered from the fish, which we still don't understand, but I harbour no real grudge. And the illness did have the somewhat positive result of keeping us at the lodge for an extra night. A damn fine idea.
This morning Kat, Dan and I hitched a bumpy ride to Takoradi from Green Turtle staff. Dan and Kat both continued on to Accra while I went to work and found no internet.
Which brings us up to date!
I am now at an internet cafe downloading a few hundred emails. More work follows for the remainder of the week. Some catching up to do. Some projects to get rolling. Some workshops to prepare for.
I apologise for the lack of pictures, and I plan to purchase a replacement point-and-shoot camera as soon as I can. The SLR is too expensive and bulky to drag everywhere, but I find I am missing so many great opportunities by not carrying a camera.
That's it for now.