Sunday, May 27, 2007

from the "short stories" dept.

It's around 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday night at the Sharpnet internet cafe in Accra. My eyelids are heavy and I am dreaming of a comfortable nights rest. It is doubtful that will happen as I am sleeping on a floor tonight. But, I should add, it is by choice. I should also add that it will make getting up and the crack of dawn and heading to the bus station a little easier.

And an apology: I'm writing this as a brain dump sans any copy editing. Hold on tight, a grammatical train wreck is just around the corner...

THURSDAY -- the day after the trip to the refugee camp was fairly busy. Running her, running there. Buying this. Buying that. In the evening I went for dinner at a nice restaurant in Adabraka called the White Bell. It was a mixed JHR/Ghanaian crowd and with much political discussion over several Star beer. I pulled the pin around 10 p.m. so I could get back to the hotel and do a quick hand wash (I've become an expert at this) and pack.

FRIDAY -- I checked out of the hotel and zipped over to Mark and Janet's place in Labone. Our plan for the weekend was a trip to Ada Foah, a coastal village roughly 100 km east of Accra. There is a small "resort" there with a cluster of 15 or so thatched huts on a peninsula of sand where the Volta River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

From Accra, we took four tro-tros and a short canoe-with-a-motor ride to the end of the peninsula and paradise.

Inside each hut is a bed and a chair (or small table). The floors are sand, there is no electricity and you have to make do with squat toilets and bucket showers. But at roughly $7 a night, it is heavenly. There are plenty of hammocks and loungers to read from. The food is good (and cheap $3-4 mains) and it's an amazingly tranquil environment.

The fear of sand contamination kept me from bringing my good camera (although I have found a Sony Store in Accra to buy a replacement point-and-shoot once my replacement Visa card arrives), but my travelling companions snapped many a photo that I will post eventually. In the mean time, I found THESE PICTURES on Webshots and THESE on flickr.

Friday night we sat around until around 9 p.m. There were few other visitors and we were tired from our long journey. I found it difficult to sleep, chalking it up to a lumpy mattress.

The next morning I couldn't get out of bed. I had absolutely no energy. I felt like I had food poisoning but without the vomiting and the runs. In other words, it wasn't food poisoning. I decided to roll over and sleep for another hour. This continued until late in the day. My friends checked to see if I was alive several times and I assured them I was (my voice being a dead giveaway).

I rolled out of bed around 5 and dragged my ass outside to the table everyone was sitting at. I explained how I felt and declined to order any dinner. Around 7, I was done and headed back to bed. I actually slept through most of an evening drumming session, bonfire and sing song.

Sunday morning I bounced out of bed before 6. Feeling much better, I refreshed myself with a bucket shower. I declined the squat toilet, figuring I could hold it for another day.

We spent the day eating, wandering around and reading. Mid-afternoon a big storm hit, sending us all to our huts. After an hour or so, the heavy rain stopped but it remained quite cool (hurray!) with sprinkles. This gave us time to discuss what had made me ill. We concluded that I must have had sunstroke from the funeral earlier in the week. This could be true, as I did get a pretty bad sunburn and I was now shedding facial skin at an alarming rate.

It was getting late and we decided to pack up and head home. It took forever to pay our bills, but this is Ghana and things here work differently. Customer service really isn't a priority.

We each had three bills - one for the hut, one for the food and one for the drinks. Interestingly, coffee counts as food. Fanta counts as drinks. We also discovered a discrepancy in prices. This, we were told, was because the menus were old and hadn't been updated. Change was also a problem. No one seemed to have enough notes to give us the correct change. It took and hour to figure it all out.

Eventually we crowded onto our canoe-with-a-motor and headed back to the tro-tro stop. We found that most of the tro-tros back to Accra were packed. But, thanks to Janet and a group of German students, we decided to hire our own. It wasn't cheap, but we were tired, it was getting late, and it was still raining. We made it back to Mark and Janet's around 8. After a quick slab of pizza in Osu, we returned to the internet cafe to check the mail.

I'm going to sleep at Mark and Janet's tonight and grab an early bus home to Takoradi tomorrow. I am exhausted and I miss my bed!

That's it for now...


PS: My mom sent along this interesting item from the National Post... click here.

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