Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Greetings from Africa

Greetings to all from Africa, sorry that I didn't get to post anything sooner, but I've been very short of internet time. A lot has happened since we've been here, so I'll try to give the short story.
The vacation definitely started out on an off note. Due to traffic in Toronto going to the airport, I almost missed my flight. They had actually closed the flight, and someone took mercy on me and let me check in anyway. Then on our way there we had to sit on the tarmac in Lagos for ages because the president of Nigeria was flying. There were rotting airplanes all around the runway of the airport in Lagos, it was quite odd.
When we finally did get into Accra, I realized that I definitely wasn't in Kansas any more. This place is p-o-o-r. We've tried to walk around a bit, but most places really aren't safe and I don't really get the impression that the locals like tourism.
I got really yelled at for taking a picture the other day. The roads are nearly undriveable and getting anywhere takes ages and ages crushed against everyone else in the car. Really, they think 7 people in a regular car is a full load. You're crammed in like sardines and the driver says, 'of course I have room for another person!' And of course everyone but us is paying way less to be in that car - which is a pretty big kick in the pants. No one ever told these people that reverse racism is still racism.
After the hustle and bustle and exhaust fumes of Accra, we decided to go to a beach resort and chill on the beach for a bit. It's lovely here - not that I'm much of a fan of the beach. I've gotten a pretty bad burn, despite my best efforts with the sunscreen - I'm soldiering on with the sunscreen even though it gives me a rash. Also, I haven't had much success keeping the mosquitos away with the bug spray, I'm sticking with the bug spray even though it gives me headaches and hot flashes. I am on anti-malarials, but there are so many other diseases you can get from mosquitos, dengue, elephantitis...
While this is a lovely resort, it's a bit of an enclave in an otherwise grindingly poor area. If you walk along the beach too far in either direction then you'll discover the unique new sensation of stepping in poop - human poop.
For that matter, I can't say I blame the locals for pooping on the beach, in fact, I've been tempted to do it myself. I tried to be really careful about food and water, but I got sick almost right away. I took the whole three day course of anti-biotics and it didn't even put a dent in it. I'm pretty sure it must be a parasite. I had to skip visiting the slave castles yesterday in order to stay near the toilet. That was a real bummer.
I've been trying to stay hydrated, with the oral rehydration therapy and all. And also to keep eating, which has meant a lot of burgers and fries because, aside from the fact that the local food is what made me sick, I've also discovered that goat meat and excessive spice are not my bag.
We're on to Togo now and hopefully the second half of the trip with improve and either my stomach will improve or I'll go see a doctor if I can find one who speaks English and does try to cure me with ground-up,dried, endangered animals.
I'm sure you all know that I've wanted to go to Africa my whole life and I'm glad I came. But, I think this trip may have cured me of the desire to go back.
Now, for everyone who believed what they just read, I'd like to tell you that I was kidding. I'm actually completely in love with this place. Did I fool you? Were you feeling sorry for me with my sad-ass whiney post? This place is actually fabulous and beautiful with friendly people, tasty food, and interesting historical sites. I was a little sick, but no big deal. We've walked around, taken lots of pictures. The slave castles were interesting. Everyone here thinks it's hilarious that I like their local signature dish fufu. I've even acquired a local name, Adjwa, no idea how it's spelled so that was just a guess, but it means that I'm female and I was born on Monday.
I've written bits and pieces as I've been going along, so I'll post those bit by bit, also pictures will follow.


Princess Pessimism said...

OHHH...JENNY. You had me fooled!! I did feel bad for you. And when you said that you were cured of ever wanting to go back, I was thinking to myself that you love to travel, and if YOU dont want to go back, it must be really bad....

but then you were kidding...

tokyo tintin said...


you're the first team to arrive, but i'm sorry to tell you that you did not complete the detour in frankfurt correctly and have to go back to the hauptbahnhof to get your next clue.

Miss Ash said...


you have also been given a 3 day penalty for not following the clue correctly and must wait the 3 days until returning to hauptbahnof to receive your next clue.

yrautca said...

ummm.. I believed your first part of the post. I think it was a good experience for you but it was tough as well.

Jennifer said...

Ha ha! I fooled 2 people!
Yrautca, I'd actually have to say that that was one of the easier more relaxing vacations I've had in years. No one argued, we did stuff that was interesting, we had fun. I'd rather eat sand than sit on a beach drinking all you can drink next to obnoxious morons at an all inclusive resort in the Caribean on my vacation.
It was more relaxing than Vegas. I had more culture shock in Japan. It might have even been cooler than the ridiculous central heating in Paris. I'm really bummed to be home.
The secret to a great vacation is going with good people, I'd take a vacation with any of those three again, in fact, if they are up for it, I'd like to go with all of them somewhere else next year.

yrautca said...

Yeah, like the beautiful state of WA. I just read in Men's Journal that we have the best ski mountain in Crystal Mt. and the best mountain climb in Mt. Rainier, in the US. i can ask you people to come with you to the above places.