Saturday, March 29, 2008

OUT OF AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hallelujah! It was an insane mad dash, but we survived and are now bona fide Real Ultimate Bad-Asses.  The bus came when it was supposed to, and we were standing there waiting to get on when they informed us that the bus was broken and wasn't going anywhere until the next morning.  We slept at the station and decided that if it showed no signs of moving by 800, we were going to high tail it on bush taxis.  They worked on it a while and at around 9 made us all get on, They put it in gear and moved about a half a foot before deciding we should all get back off.  It seemed as though it would be fixed at any time, so we waited.  At around 1 or so they gave up and decided everyone would just have to wait for the next bus that night.  The problem with that being that our plane was supposed to take off at 605 the next morning and there was no possible way the bus would make it by then.  In addition, we'd sent a couple of bags ahead of us so we wouldn't have to deal with it.  We'd pretty much given up hope of catching out flight when a nice Nigerian fellow who's been living in Ghana and was on his way back informed me that we could get there by 8 or 9 if we took public transport and left right away.  Instantly our spirits lifted and the nice SNTV (bus line) man gave us a refund without any problems, so off we went.  We got a car, a really nice one, and had to pay a bit more, but only had 5 total people in it, just like it was designed for!  Borders weren't too much of a problem, and we really made decent time.  We did lose our friend at the Togo/Ghana border, but it was probably for the best as he was keen on taking us to his house and getting our contact info and all, and really, much as he was a great guy, I've already got plenty of people to try to keep up with.  I just wish we could have given him something for helping us so much.  Once across the Ghana border, we had to find another car, as  the one we had wasn't going all the way.  It was quite a mess and there were plenty of people who were trying to gouge us for 10 times the normal price because we are white and therefore have more money than we could ever use.  Little do they know...  We got a taxi for the normal price though and only had to wait an hour to leave.  Taxis in Ghana do get stopped every 5 miles or so so police can shine in their flashlights as you slowly drive by and see what you've got attatched to your cieling, or so I guess because we were in a taller taxi and that's all they could really see.  We even got stopped by a Ghanaian policeman who told us where the bus station was so we could get our bags. 

Once we got to Accra we had a time finding the station, it's very poorly marked.  But people were very helpful and soon we found Zarma's who helped us out.  We got to the SNTV station at about 10pm, but it was locked up.  There were, naturally, about 6 people making tea right there and the called the guy in charge and he was very nice to come and give us our stuff.  We paid him most of the cfa we had left, as it was really no good anymore to us, he made more for that than most nigerians make in a day, about $6.  Then they found us a car for $10 that would take us to the airport safely (they warned us that half the taxis would take us to their waiting friends and shake us down. We got to the airport and found a cybercafe as well as a food cafe that sold us delicious sandwiches, of the very type that Seabass had been lamenting for just that very day.  There was almost tears at the whole ordeal.  It was such a mad dash that I feel like the amazing race would be a piece of cake.  We got cleaned up a bit and changed into fresh clothing and really didn't have to wait too long at the airport before we could start the whole process of the checking in and all.  The flights went great, save a slight delay in Casablanca, but frankly after everything else, it was absolutely not an issue. 

The only thing that bothered me about that place was this little 8 year old twerp that kept harassing us.  He was just being a brat, trying to steal our cards, smacking my bag (the one with the computer in it, mind you, not a way to get on my good side), raspberrying us and calling me a "wormy worm worm".  I chased him off and told his parentals that he was bugging us, thinking that maybe they'd do something about that.  Later he kept coming and taunting us so I cussed him out in Zarma, which he didn't understand, and neither did his father; but his father decided to come and yell at me for being angry at his kid.  He decided that I was lying about the bag smacking and said that "he's a child, you should respect him".  Luckily for him I was in a very stable mood and he left it at that.  I was actually more worried about Seabass going off on him, which would be a change, usually I'm the one with no tolerance for stupidity!  Long story short, the dude was a dick and his kid is well on his way to becoming the same.  Alhamdulilahi, they were on a different flight and I'll never see them again.

Once in London, everything went pretty smoothly, we found where we were going without much trouble.  There was a bit of Seabass getting caught up in the crowd and zooming ahead.  We were on about 6 hrs of sleep in 72 or so and I was having a hell of a time with my baggage.  ( I don't recommend moving via vacation, just not convenient to haul all your stuff with you )  We got to the right station and his very nice cousin Sammy picked us up and gave us a great meal and a place to stay for the night, complete with hot shower, internet, heat, and a great bed with pillows galore and a heavenly down comforter.  It was the best I've slept in ages.  They made us bacon sandwiches and all and dropped us off to stay with another cousin, Lizzie, tonight.  She's got an incredible television and a Nintendo WII, which Sebastian is enthralled with right beside me. He says Super Mario Galaxy is really fun, even if Lizzie says it's crap.  We got all our travel sorted out today for the rest of the journey to the states, off to Dublin in a couple of weeks on British Airways ( we tried Ryan Air, who wanted to fly us for $20, but they wanted about $320 to take our baggage, Nerts to that!!!).  Then we fly home on 14 Apr, and part ways from there.  I'm headed to pick up a car for dad and drive it home, and Seabass is off home to VT.

Overall, london seems even more awesome than I remember the states being (don't worry, I'm not staying or anything), but I am having issues with prices, the pound being about 2 dollars, and I have to mentally adjust every price I see.  I had a bit of a freak out in the grocery store, Seabass found me just staring at the soft drinks looking like I needed to be rebooted, but I'm doing a bit better now.  Its also very chilly here, which is incredible after 26 months of eternal summer.  I think my favorite part though, is that I can get real dill pickles again, what more does a person really need?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Moving right along....

Again, sorry for the delay, but here's what's up.  I've closed my Peace Corps service and am on my vacation/trip home.  We were going to go to ghana since we've not been yet, but the embassy took a long weekend and we didn't really have time.  We still fly out of Accra tomorrow night, and we're heading there on the bus tonight.  We've been hanging out in Cotonou and Grand Popo, just chillin and enjoying the fact that there are no demands on us right now, and there's nothing we could do about it if there were.  It's kind of the most free I've been in, well, ever.

We'll be in London for a while visiting Seabass's relatives and seeing the sites, then we fly to NYC on the 14th of April and I'm probably out that night on greyhound to get a car for dad and drive it home.  That's not all worked out yet, but sounds like it could be perfect. 

I kind of had my freak out in Grand Popo one night, and now I'm okay with this transition, I just kind of wish I could stop travelling for a while.  Part of me is so excited that from here on out till the states is new things I haven't seen before, but part of me just wants to snap my fingers and be home.