Friday, November 10, 2006

Africa - Day 11

On our last day we got up super early and headed out to the market before picking up our finished clothes at the tailors. In the market, 2 different merchants tried to sell me ivory. I wasn't shocked really, but I was upset. They tried to tell me that it was old ivory and that old ivory is ok to buy and bring home - that's the biggest line of bullshit anyone has ever tried to feed me in my whole life. The wackiest part was that after I chastized these merchants for selling ivory, they tried to show me their other wares. I explained very pointedly that my market dollar would be going into the pocket of a merchant who wasn't selling ivory. I'm obviously wasting time trying to educate people about CITES in Toronto, next trip I'm taking a wad of them with me.
We headed to Zac's and picked up our clothes, he was cutting button holes and snipping threads as we were walking in. We all wrote down our addresses in case he ever visited Toronto. Then after we were done, Ash pointed out that Zac only speaks French and Ash only speaks English, yet for some reason she put her phone number down. This led Zac to do a hilarious impression of him and Ash talking on the phone.
We booted it back to the hotel and dragged our luggage out and hoped in a cab to the border, which is literally the edge of Lome, 5 minutes with no traffic. As we pulled into the border area people were running beside the moving car trying to negotiate carrying our bags on our heads for us as we crossed the border. Now, with all my extra purchases I had added an extra bag, and had considered getting a porter to help me over the border, but the throng was just too intimidating. When we got out of the cab, there was at least 15 people clamouring to get in the trunk. Dan and I both announced that we wouldn't be using any porters.
Then suddenly the trunk was opening and 30 hands were grabbing our bags and pulling them in every direction. I managed to grab ound of my bags off someone and put it over my arm, but there were 3 or 4 people fighting over my other bag, and in the melee all I could see was it heading away from me. So I pushed and shoved my way to the bag, and started screaming at the people and pushing and pulling it to try to loosen their grips. As I ran for the border, people were chasing me and pulling at it. I yelled at them in French to leave me alone and as I was getting away from them I heard them mocking me repeating what I'd said in a high pitched voice.
If that had been Europe, it probably would have all been some kind of elaborate diversion for a pickpocketing, but it wasn't that. I'd say it was just incredibly agressive business practices. But it wasn't a very pleasant goodbye to Togo. When we crossed into Ghana, all the Ghanian border staff were so friendly, and one of them even came up while we were buying some water and paid for ours while he was buying some for himself. We all agreed that we loved Ghana the best.
The cab from Aflao was uneventful until the end when Dan offered to give the driver directions to our destination and the driver said he knew where he was going, then, drove us all over Accra. We finally insisted that he take us where we asked and gave him directions. Then he tried to convince us that we should pay for his extra gas. Typical. We didn't fall for it.
We left our stuff at J's and went shopping. Ate at Country Kitchen again, that place is so good. This time I had my Red Red (cooked plantains and sauce) with beans and Palava sauce. The restaurant was full of well dressed swanky Ghanians, we felt a bit like jerks being in there all sweaty and wearing jeans, but kicker was Ashley's behaviour when a spider landed in her hair. Ash hates spiders, hates them. So this big black and white one was in her hair and Dan pointed it out. She started squealing and jumping up and down and made a big scene. I'm sure all the swanky locals were pleased we were there. But it was too funny not to enjoy the moment.
We did a last round of shopping and then we headed to the airport, which only has two gates as far as I can tell, but yet, it's still as confusing as a rat maze.
We stopped in Lagos again on the way back, while we were fuelling, it started to rain. The rain got really bad, and there was thunder and lightening. Ash hates lightening. She's not too fond of taking off and landing in planes either. Usually Dan and I are pretty calm fliers, but this take off was pretty hairy even for us. After a while the pilot taxied out to the runway and went up and down a few times, testing brakes and traction. When he decided it was safe to go, we were right at the end of the tarmac when we finally left the ground and the plane had to ascend at a really deep angle. Knowing that those airports only have visual air traffic control doesn't lend much confidence to the situation in my mind.
We hung out in McDonalds the whole morning in Frankfurt while connecting. I went out of the transit area so I could get a stamp in my passport, the stamp sucked and the lady at the security took my anti-itch cream off me on the way back because it was 118ml instead of 100ml - I hope that lady gets mosquito bites all over her body one day and I'm there to take away her anti-itch cream. Boo-urns!

1 comment:

Miss Ash said...

I thought i was rather composed at the restaurant with the spider in my hair LOL.

As for that take off from Lagos, i'm glad i took that gravol, though you're the devil for telling me how slippery and awful it was and how we are all going to die.