Ghana Journal #16: Homebound

October 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

8/4

London flight was boring. Slept off and on after listening to Hugh Laurie’s second blues album. Pretty sweet, but the lady next to me had her arm/elbow on my arm rest which had the control panel so she kept turning my volume up/off, pausing my music, and turning the overhead light on. You’d think she’d realize sometime in the seven-hour flight, but no. She was old and Ghanaian, if that’s any excuse. Now I’m in Heathrow for three hours. I’m tired and low on wifi because you only get 45 free minutes! Damn Brits! This is why we rebelled in the first place.

London to Texas I watched Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, Amazing Burt Wonderstone, and the Late Quartet. Also, my phone fell out of my pocket sometime in the middle of the flight and I had to ask the seat behind me to pick it up before we landed. Nerve-racking!

Texas to Portland. I got through customs and rechecked my bags easily. I was at my gat for like two hours. On the plane ride I read Big Sur. Excited to be heading home, but really tired. Also, I’m getting pangs of Ghana (seeing vans as tro-tro’s, hearing Ghanaian voices, missing things, and differences). I heard that reentry can be hard, but seems to be okay so far. Maybe it’s just sleeplessness. I hope.

 

The End.

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Ghana Journal #15: The final days

October 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

8/2

Slept in a little, got some stuff together to trade, went to brunch at Metlting Moments and got macaroni cheese again. We had a late start (like 2:00 pm) from brunch. We got a tro-tro to Tema market, but got stuck in traffic in Osu. We got out of the tro-tro because we thought walking would be faster, but then traffic cleared up. Ugh. We decided to just walk to the market. Took awhile and everyone was tired. The Tema market sucked so we went to the one we’d been to before across the road. I got some crazy patterned pants with some of my trade and leftover cash. And once everyone was done we taxied home. I was stuck in the back with Conor, Maddie and Julianne while Caron got to sit in front and laugh at us. It was very uncomfortable. Oh! And we finally found dark chocolate, on the way to Melting Moments, being sold on the street. Needless to say we bought ever single one we could. Delicious.

We came hole to the seamstress, but she was quick so we could go to our last dinner at this French restaurant. I was part of the first wave of the group to get there. We sat down, got water right away and some peanuts to snack on. The waitress started to take orders, but we didn’t have menus. She seemed confused that we wanted them but got them for us. We looked at the menu. Holy poop. We had to excuse ourselves and tell the next wave of our group that this place was way to expensive. It was like 50 Cedi a plate. There seemed to be some commotion about us leaving, because we had made a reservation and all that, but we got out safely. We decided to go to the cheaper and friendlier Chinese restaurant, where we discovered that they raised their drink prices! (It was 8 Cedi for a Club, when it should usually be like 4 at the max.) Anyways, we stayed, and ordered lots of things to share. But the tofu I got isn’t sitting right with me.

8/3

We did have a house party [last night], which was pretty lackluster. A lot of the group stayed up all night on the roof, and now they’re crashing. I got up at like 8:30 this morning and the tofu is striking back with vengeance. Horrible. Had Tums and granola bar for breakfast. Now I’m waiting for Juwan and Michelle so we can go to Shiashe market to trade and buy stuff.

***

We were at the market for like 3 hours. Boy, do those two like to barter. I only got a shirt, but I should’ve got more.

I’m stuck with 50 Cedi because I didn’t buy anything. I’m sitting here at my gate two hours early watching what I assume, and found out, is the last half of that Tom Cruise movie Oblivion. It’s pretty boring though because the sound isn’t loud enough and I’m a bad lip reader. I don’t know what to do for two hours. Buh.

Excited to get home, though. Saying goodbye to everyone was sad (Jeff was a little teary on the taxi ride over, I’m sure Steph and Kinsey in Doc’s car were too). I actually wasn’t able to say goodbye to those three because after I checked into my flight, I couldn’t find them again. (We were on different airlines.) I’m sure they’re okay though.

I can’t wait for my 30 hours of planes and waiting. Woo.

After Oblivion, this show called “Efie and Friends” came on. I thought it was going to be light-hearted based on the intro, but it turned out to be about a high school girl getting raped and murdered! Didn’t get to see the end because I had to board, but any UO J-school student with a handycam could’ve replicated this show and made it better.  Just being media literate here.

Ghana Journal #14: Goodbyes

October 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

7/31

Sent my toothpaste ideas to Ramesh, and he just came in to tell me “Squeeze” was a “brilliant idea.” This was after he had asked if I came up with it. (A silly question, I thought. Why would I send him something I didn’t create?) He said he wasn’t sure if the client would take it, but that it was a big idea. That made my day. [As of 10/16, I do not believe that my idea was taken by the client, but I haven’t seen the toothpaste ad on Apex’s facebook, so there’s still a chance.]

On my way back from work, I saw a guy in a Portland Trailblazers jersey. Small world, and all that. I made it home in one piece. Ate dinner and then left for reggae night! We all got a small bottle of Ghanaian whiskey just for buying our tickets (10 Cedis each). The show didn’t start until 9:30, maybe 10? Anyway, late. I left with a few others around 11:30 I think because Shatta Wale still hadn’t performed, and it was late.

8/1

Happy birthday Conner [my brother]. Saw a guy with a monkey on a leash on my way to work. My last day of work, nonetheless. Didn’t have anything to do so I wrote my Internship Report [for the program] and my media log. Now all I need to do is my big research paper.

Ramesh just came in. “So, last day.” “Yeah,” I said. He shook my hand. “Best of luck. You’re going into advertising when you get back, right? Good.” He made some joke about me becoming President or something. And that was it. Said he’d be in a meeting later, so that was his goodbye. [I then wrote “3:30,” but nothing else after that for this entry. Not sure what that’s about.]

[If I were to continue this entry, I would say that at 5 I sort of snuck out of the office. Might’ve said goodbye to a few people on my way out, but I don’t know if all of them knew it was my last day. There weren’t any tears on either side of the farewells, but I did have a good experience.]

Note: After I’m done posting all of my journal entries, and we are nearing the end, I’ll be posting my scripts for Apex somewhere online and share them on this blog.

Also, check out this video that one of the UO professors did while we were in Ghana about the internships. If you look closely, you can just barely see me in a couple of the shots.

Ghana Journal #13: Awards night!

October 16, 2013 § 2 Comments

7/29

Made a Google Form for everyone to vote for the Ghana Awards, and it’s been a great hit! Everyone loves my descriptions and they are laughing out loud at their work (I can hear them from here!).

Nothing else really exciting. Got home and had leftover pizza, talked about the Awards, then had a “mini-reggae night” with Bob Marley and Settlers of Catan. About it.

7/30

It’s 12:52 right now and the Internet has been down for 20 minutes or so. I have a Google Doc opened so it appears like I am doing work, but I don’t know what to do without the Internet. Maybe I’ll handwrite a blog post. Maybe I’ll write about the death race my tro-tro had yesterday with a taxi that cut us off and swerved to almost hit us! Our driver seemed pretty immature though.

Anywho, almost everyone has voted in the awards, so that’s good. Windows diagnostics was able to figure out the Internet problem (guess there’s a first for anything).

Met up with Michelle and Dani after work to go to Paloma Station to meet others for dinner at place called Eddy’s Pizza. I got chicken alfredo, thinking I could pick out chicken, but it was blended into the sauce pretty well. I did my best. On way back we found an American House tro-tro and on the way back it ran out of gas. So we waited in our Obruni-filled van and the driver and mate went off to get more gas. While we were sitting there, a gang of adolescents were hustling us for money and food. They claimed to be orphans, etc., but we didn’t know if we could believe that. One kid, pointing to me and talking to Carson, said, “He looks like that guy from the movie.” “Jesus?” Carson asks. “Yeah, he looks like Jesus!” The kids had a laugh about that, but the kid was actually talking about Merlin, apparently.

Got home and we started the Awards ceremony because all of the votes were finally in, but the seamstress interrupted us. We eventually made it through amid laughs and memories. I would post the results here, but most of the things were inside jokes. I did win Most Trusted, Mr. Congeniality, and the Jesus Award (which I beat Jesus for).

Ghana Journal #12: Swimming with worms

October 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

7/27

Group, in infinite drunken wisdom, thought it was a good idea to skinny dip in the river next to our hotel. Texan University people we met at our hotel thought we were crazy.

Beginning of day we drove over here from other hotel.

Breakfast at other hotel was meh. Had toast and omelette thing. Sat in the back of the bus because Julia didn’t like the bump on the head she got last night. I don’t blame her. The back of the bus sure is bumpy. Had lunch, but it started to rain so we decided to do our boat tour tomorrow. Went into town to get booze, I guess, after some jumped into the river and swam for a bit. Dinner was okay, but Sena and Sam [our Volta region guide and driver, respectively] went elsewhere because they were “tired of Ghanaian food.” WAT?

Anywho, partied after dinner, met some people from University of Texas, danced, swam, got naked, danced, then I didn’t feel good so I’m just in our room now. Probably pass out soon. So tired. Night.

7/28

Had pretty good breakfast, then went on boat ride in the Volta river.

After we got back, some went swimming in river and a German guy came up to the group of us who weren’t swimming and said we should “get our friend to hospital.” We were a little wary and confused at first, but he said that there’s a worm that infects people living on the river and it could’ve infected us. Might need to get checked out in a month (when it matures) or just take some OTC dog de-wormer. Oh well.

Drive back was easy enough. Saw some baboons on the road, there was a baboon sanctuary nearby, but it was pretty expensive to go (15 Cedi per person!). So we just stayed on the bus and enjoyed the view from there. We got our photos so ha!

Came back home and went to a place called Starbites for lunch, but my pizza took forever to get (it was just a cheese pizza!). Then we relaxed at home and did nominations for our Ghana Awards!

Ghana Journal #11: Waterfalls and monkeys

October 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

7/25

Ended up not going to police station, I guess it got pushed to next week. On way to work today I was approached by a Liberian (he said) with a sob story about how his need to get to a camp. I felt bad but only had my tro-tro money on me. I gave him a Cedi coin anyways. He asked if he could see me again tonight (after work, for more money I assume) or tomorrow. I told him I didn’t have any more money today and that tomorrow I would be leaving. We parted ways shortly after, and I was in front of my work anyways.

Not too much else. I tried the red-red at the Living Room (a misnomer to be sure) restaurant/bar near out house, but I was disappointed.

7/26

Busy day. Left a little late on bus [to Volta Region]. Ride was boring without my iPod to distract me. I was in and out of sleep. People were passing around wine bottle. I passed it along, but I did not inhale, I mean drink.

We hiked to a waterfall after lunch. The hike was really cool. It was beautiful. The waterfall was super tall and really windy. Apparently, I was the first one to touch the wall behind the fall (with Jeff right behind me). The only reason I mustered the courage to do it was because I thought everyone else had. We had to back into the waterfall because of the gusts of wind and the spray and the current. Behind the falls there were about two feet and it wasn’t very peaceful. There were still buckets of water pouring down. I couldn’t stay long behind it. We tried taking some group pictures in front of the falls, but there were these two Ghanaians were kept inserting themselves into them.

After that we went to a monkey sanctuary. The monkeys were cool, but we were promised monkeys climbing on us, and that didn’t happen except to a few people, least of all me!

Bonus! A monkey movie!

We made it to our hotel after getting lost a bit, and having to drive up this steep hill where the bus almost broke down. Dinner was good though, and we got single rooms, but no wifi. Don’t know what to do now. Everyone else seems to want to party. I just want to shower and sleep. Watching a concert on my room’s TV. It’s African jazz with 80’s-style transitions and weird scene insertions [Reading this later, I don’t remember what I meant by that]. Good music though. Channel Gh1? GTV? They especially like transitioning where the next scene is created with circles. Weird. Next up, “Amor Bravo.” It’s a poorly dubbed tele novella. Like an English-dubbed samurai movie. The voices are just like that.

Ghana Journal #11: Reggae night

October 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

7/24

Juwan always leaves his phone in the room and the alarm goes off multiple times. This morning it went off at 6:15, I turned it off at like 6:20, then 6:25 it goes off, I turn it off, then again at 6:35. I looked at his alarm was set for 6:45. Grr. Turned entire alarm off. Hope he notices before tomorrow.

Also my coworkers share torrented movies at work. It’s weird. I guess torrenting is legal here. Strange to see in the workplace though. Coworkers often wathc movies. At least the one whose computer I can see does.

Going to Melting Moments after work for dinner. Hope 20 Cedi will be enough. Wait, just found another two 5’s in my tro-tro fund pocket.

Dinner was good. Got this awesome Macaroni Cheese (no &). Then home on a wild tro-tro ride past the airport (thought that we were going to get dropped off there, never gone that route before).

Seamstress came (late) and Doc came by to update us. Supposed to get copies of police reports tomorrow. Then we went to reggae night. Tons of fun. Music was good, people were nice. Met Reggie, a Rasta man, and some Brits. Cool people I guess, though a wee bit hard to understand. One of them started hitting on Michelle, then Julianne, then Dana, I think, but they all handled it well. Then a creepy Ghanaian guy was all up in Daryl and then Michelle’s grill. Jeff helped Daryl and I helped Michelle out (fake boyfriend thing). Then Michelle, Leslie, Maddie and I left because it was getting weird. Maddie was insistent on 9 Cedi and fought for it, too (as opposed to 10 Cedi taxi driver said). I just wanted to get home. I was nervous. Also, it was a nice beach, but very littered.

P.S. Jeff’s coworker Nana made it, and we hung out with her for a bit.

P.P.S. Carson and Maddie made it on stage to dance, then a bunch of Obrunis wanted to get on stage, too.

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