First Day

June 26, 2009

Made it to Africa! And it is absolutely amazing. The plane ride to Ghana was 11 hours, complete with screaming babies and cramped quarters. Needless to say it was a very long trip. Met the whole Las Vegas team at the airport and they are awesome people. Super friendly and I can tell they are down to have a good time anywhere they can. With Anna, Maylinn, David, Mark and Eric, this trip is going to be a blast.

The two-hour van ride to Ho from Accra was like nothing I have experienced before. The land is incredibly green, full with vegetation and trees with an abundance of leaves. Every plant here looks like it is on hyperactive- miracle grow. Even the grass blades are as wide a strip of scotch tape. As we drove, streetwalkers with baskets of goodies on their head waved products and drinks at our window, trying to get us to stop. Mud huts, grass-like tents and rickety, open wooden structures lined most of the street, providing very little shelter to the vendors. They sold everything from DVD’s, melons, coal, and cement building blocks. The best description for American minds is slums. We marveled as women carried giant baskets up to three feet high on their heads as they strolled down the muddy street. I immediately fell in love with miniature goats, whom ranged freely. They were everywhere, no bigger than a small dog, and so adorable.

The buildings we passed looked ready to collapse with dirt floors and a couple of logs to hold up a tin roof. So I was getting a little worried about our hotel, but when we entered Ho, the city was much larger than anything we had passed. Our hotel is the best in town complete with TV, bathroom and everything you could expect, except Internet service. Apparently, the Internet is dow in the whole town (so I hope I get this blog to you so

We went and had lunch at this great little place our guide Richard took us to. We ate a type of fried rice, really nicely seasoned chicken, a shredded salad.
Next we decided to walk the market. I figured it would be an average-sized market a couple of blocks long. Wow was I wrong. This event was huge. We weave between hundreds of stands, trying to stay out of the way of the children with baskets of dried fish on their head, bikes, and anyone else carrying various food on their head. Plantains, tomatoes, bread, fish, beads, veggies, bags of water, shoes, grains, rice, live crab, peppers, clothes, and many other things I was clueless about were laid out in front of women children and men, trying to sell their product. I felt like I was in the middle of an Indiana Jones’ movie, but more crowded. The people were so sweet and curious. One woman stopped us and asked our names. Some others shouted out, “White people! White people!” The children kept reaching out and touching my skin. I would turn and smile at them and they would giggle and wave. Eric mentioned many were staring at me, and one man asked me excitedly if I was a half-cast (guessing that means biracial, which I am). We stood out like a sore thump to say the least.

On the way back, the crew decided they wanted to sit and have a beer. We were all laughing and having a good time, when we noticed it was getting dark. Next thing we knew, everyone started to run for cover. All of a sudden, it started to downpour. Now I’m from the Northwest, and I have never seen rain like this. It felt like we were in a hurricane. Sheets of rain came sideways. Blowing away anything that was not nailed down. We sat in the bar/hut for a while, the guys were sure it would pass quickly… it didn’t. An hour later some of our crew had to go to the restroom, which was basically behind the hut in the wide open. We laughed hysterically as some returned soaked, explaining how they tried to balance the umbrella and go to the bathroom and while a man in a red jacket stared them down the whole time. Finally, we gave up and took a taxi back. Now we’re getting ready to go to dinner. Very long, but amazing day.

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