I arrived in Ghana dishevelled and reeking of vomit. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Previously on The Trini Travel Diaries…(cue harps and blurry wave motion visuals)
To quote my mother, Ghana ain’t here. It’s FAR. And getting there involved a two day journey over three continents. I set off from sunny T&T on a Friday morning bound for cold, foggy New York. Considering I was on a flight which originated in Guyana, this leg of the journey was trouble free. Apologies to all Guyanese but you guys KNOW what I’m talking about.
Arrived in JFK with three hours to kill and per diem burning a hole in my handbag. Checked in for my next flight (to Frankfurt) and gravitated towards the nearest place offering food and alcohol. Before long I was tucking into a caesar salad and much needed glass of Pinot Grigio. Incidentally, I was delighted to be asked for ID when I placed my order, although a dear friend in the UK pointed out this was probably standard practice for all patrons. I disagree. The couple who followed me weren’t carded. So what if they were both salt and pepper grey and wearing Burberry raincoats? They could have been mature teenagers.
Before I knew it I was on a Lufthansa aircraft heading to Frankfurt. Top class service, roomy seats, and who can argue with an airline that has wifi on transatlantic flights? Pity I was in cattle class and didn’t experience that last perk. It was the first time I’d been on an aircraft where one had to go downstairs to the loo. Or should I say loos – five off them snuggled together. Yes, this was a big-ass plane.
I slept most of the eight hour flight, apart from two hours devoted to ogling Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs (I could write a blog post about him alone – but I digress). Before I blinked twice, it was time to spreken zie Deutsch.
I love the continental European approach to immigration. I got off the plane and basically wandered uninterrupted around the airport for several hours. I was asked to show my passport once – after I had already been in the airport for a good two hours. The official barely glanced at it and waved me on.
Mega kudos to Frankfurt airport for having miniature chilled bottles of Proseco available for sale at 6 am in the morning. This should be mandatory in all international airports. Did I mention that it was Saturday by this time?
What does one do when you have an eight hour layover? Find a comfortable place to sleep for a few hours – again kudos to Frankfurt airport for having reclining lounge chairs at the departure gates – and engage in not too surreptitious people watching. Frankfurt has an amazingly high percentage of celebrity doppelgangers. In swear I saw Jackie Chan, Jeremy Irons, Shah Rukh Khan and Joan Collins.
By the time I boarded the second Lufthansa plane for the final seven hour leg of my journey, I was feeling a bit weary and my stomach was starting to complain about the strange mixture of food I had ingested. (My philosophy on eating while travelling is simple – eat everything put in front of you because you have no idea when or where the next meal is coming from). This might explain why I threw up as soon as the plane landed in Accra. The Ghanaian man sitting next to me hurriedly shoved a plastic bag in my face – I was too mortified to look at him, let alone say thank you. I remember thinking “Blast! Not the Coach handbag!”
Which brings me back to the start of this post. I arrived in Ghana dishevelled…yadda yadda. So far my first visit to Ghana was following the Westerner Travels to the Dark Continent Movie Plot. I had the obligatory argument with the sour-faced immigration official “Where’s your visa?” who tried – and failed – to make me pay $100US for a visa I didn’t need.
Two static-filled phone calls to the hotel established that no-one was at the airport to meet me, “But he’s on his way ma’am”. I was started to get a bit irked by the steady stream of strange men offering to take me wherever I needed to go. It was 8pm on Saturday night and I was tired and in need of a shower.
The driver finally turned up and it was a short ride to the hotel. Of course when I got there I found out my reservation had been cancelled (they thought I was arriving the previous night) but Akuna Matata – soon sorted out.
The hotel is adequate – no ants sharing the bed this time a la South African experience. I did get a bit concerned when the maid turned up this evening to spray the room. Spray for what?? I don’t want to know.
Slept all day today; rising only briefly to have breakfast and crawl back into bed. Around 4pm I decided I’d better do some work. Yes, work – I’m not here on a jolly. There are actually people willing to transport me half way around the world and pay for my expertise (I pity the fools…).
Tomorrow is my first day on Client premises. I’ll be practising my intelligent-and-interested face until I fall asleep. Which will be soon. Stay tuned for the next thrilling installment of “Trini Girl Lands Big Wuk in Foreign”.