Hello everyone!!! I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas and that you will have a Happy New Year. I know that I am having a great December. How about I tell you all about it. Sound good?
So everyone knows that my friend/old college roommate Jade was coming to visit me. I am going to start there. Nothing really much happened before that.
So I have to get a taxi out to airport at 10:30 at night to meet Jade at the airport. I call one of the taxis and he agrees to take me and even says he will sleep at the airport until she arrives. This works out to my advantage. So I go the airport and wait for her plane to come in. She arrives about midnight, and we leave the airport about 1. We go straight to the hotel and talk about her flight and stuff and we finally get to sleep about 3. We get up at 6:30 and we head over to the Transit house and then I head to the Peace Corps bureau because I had an appointment. I get back and then I realize Jade needs to exchange her money out as well. So we wait again. A series of events continue to happen that doesn't allow us to leave Ouagadougou until 3. At this point, Jade gets to experience her first of many buses in Africa.
We arrive in Kaya and I have to argue to get Emma's bike from the guy at the gare and then we take a taxi to my house and we get to see the town of Kaya. Jade just pretty much thinks its cool, but dirty. We arrive at my house and I give her the grand tour, it lasted all but 30 seconds. That night I brought some brochettes and had a brochette sandwich for supper and Jade at some of the pizza that she had for lunch in Ouaga. Also about this time, Jade takes a shower and rinses off and makes a comment about if I knew that I had a few big spiders in my shower. I told her yes. I then told her about my leasing agreement where spiders can stay as long as they stay above my head. Later that night, one was on the floor and it had to be killed. After that, We watched some movies and sleep.
The next day is Jades adventure in Kaya day. We started out at my school for a small tour of where I work and what I do. She did not get to see my classroom because I gave the key to another professor. She did get to meet some of my professor friends who were very nice and only a few asked if she was my wife and if not if they could have her. This was to be expected. After that I took her out to lunch and we ate with Grace. We ate at the Orphan restaurant. It was delicious as always and I even saw some other people eating there for once besides just us. I am hoping they can continue to be open, because their food is amazing; even if I can't afford to eat there everyday. After that we went to Jade's favortie part of going to a foreign country... Shopping. I showed her around my marche (market) and had her see all the things that I buy and a couple of my friends in the marche. She saw where I buy meat at and her only comment was, I can't believe you eat that. After that I took her to my leather marche and let her go crazy. I am not going to ruin the surprises of the things that she bought, but it was alot. I came to the marche with an empty messenger bag and I left carrying it full and another big bag of stuff. After that we went back to my house and ate and watched some Modern Family. We went to sleep, because we knew we were going back to Ouaga tomorrow.
The next day we get up and make our way back to Ouaga. Jade gets to experience her second bus ride, but this time on a big comfortable bus that comes to Kaya I believe once a day. We arrive in Ouaga and drop our stuff off at the hotel and head to the transit house so that Jade and I can get our last hot showers for the next 12 days. After that we (Jade, Shannon, Diana, and I) go out to eat at La Vita where Jade and I get some Chicken Fingers and fries. That day was the day that the new group of volunteers swore in, so after that we went to De Niros (a bar in Ouaga with pool and cheap drinks) and partied with the new volunteers and other volunteers who had come in to see the swear in. Shannon and I drank and Jade and Diana watched. It was a lot of fun, but we left about midnight to get a taxi home because we had to get up at 6 to catch a taxi to the Gare Routier to get on our bus to go to Ghana.
The next morning we get up to go to Ghana and wait for the taxi to take us to the gare. He is a half and hour late, but this was to be expected. TIA (This is Africa; I am telling you this now, because I will be using it a lot in this article I think). We arrive at the Gare and the bus is supposed to leave at 8, but ends up leaving about 9:30 TIA. We are on the bus for about 2.5 hours until we reach the border. That is when all the craziness happens. When you get off the bus you give your passport to a guy who hands it to the Burkina guard, after this you have guys running at you with piles of money trying to get your money. They want you to exchange your CFA(Burkina Money) for CEDE(Ghanaian Money). They are yelling and crowding you and one guy accidently stepped on my flip flop and almost knocked me over. I get into my bag and get my money out and finally get it exchanged with one of the guys. I did not like this process. After wards you wait until they give you your passport back and your walk across the border. Then you get to the Ghana side where they scan your passports in and take a picture of your face and things. It is really high tech versus a guy who just kinda looks at your passport.
After that it was on a bus for the next 15 hours. We made some stops along the way and I got to eat some delicious chicken and fried rice, but it was still a long bus ride. We arrived at Kumasi at 1 in the morning and waited for the next bus to come at 4 in the morning. We got on that bus and it took us about 6 hours to get to Cape Coast. By the time we arrived, we were happy to go to our hotel and just relax for a while. Our hotel here was Hans Cottage Botel. This was a wonderful hotel. It had one of the most bizzare and awesome pools that I had ever seen. The pool was rectangular and once you stepped in there was another rectangle inside that was about 3 foot wide and about 1 foot deep. Then you stepped into that rectangle and there was an L shaped area that was 6 foot deep or two small squares that were about 3 foot deep and 5 foot deep. It had a slide also. Not only this but they had a gift shop and a restaurant that was on a lake. Inside of the lake were fish and crocodiles. The crocodiles were fun to watch while you ate. Also they would feed the fish and you could see the crocodiles come and eat the fish. It was nice and the beds were the best that I have slept in while in Africa. While we were in Cape Coast we went to a slave castle that was used when the British were exporting slaves to America and other places and we also went to Kakum National Park and did a tree top walk. Now, this tree top walk was a literally made of rope, metal ladders, and wooden boards. I felt pretty safe on it, but it shook alot and at some spots the ropes on the side of the bridge were not as high as my chest, so I could have fallen if I was in my klutzy Trent mode. The good news is that I was only about 120 feet off the ground at its tallest, so only enough to kill me. It was beautiful though. After that we stopped by a place that said it was a monkey sanctuary called Monkey Forest Resort. It was not a resort, but it had all kinds of monkeys and was run by the nicest and most fun people ever. They showed us all kinds of monkeys, turtles, civets, a couple of birds, and a couple of snakes. After the tour we sat down and just talked with them. They were telling us about living in Ghana and thier lives. It was my favorite part of Cape Coast. After three days in Cape Coast we left and went to our next city. Busua.
Busua was only about 2 hours away from Cape Coast. We took a tro tro (the ghana equivelent of a Bush Taxi) to Takoradi and then a taxi to the Alaskan. This was the most relaxing part of the trip. We stayed at the Alaskan which is a hotel right on the beach. We had a little hut with 4 beds in it and there were trees lined up with hammocks in them. The restaurant at the Alaskan was amazing and I ate BBQ Chicken and Hamburgers. For lunch, we would go to the Black Star restaurant and eat Burritos or pasta. We went swimming everyday and I did my favorite activity, talk to people. Each days I would go out in Busua and talk to people and I made friends. I am too much like my mother. it was cool though because 2 nights while I was there I went over to a guys house and played some Playstation soccer with him and his friends.
I did have one little mishap while on Busua beach. I was swimming and talking to a Canadian girl. She was watching her friend swim and we started talking because we were both staying at the Alaskan. We kept talking and jumping into the waves and it was a lot of fun. We started talking about how it was weird because the water kept getting cold then hot, then cold then hot. It was strange. So as we are talking we feel a current pulls us really hard and we say go lets go to the beach. So we start swimming and she is a much better swimmer than me and the current just goes crazy and starts pulling us. She gets out of it and heads for the beach. I am not so fortunate. I start getting pulled... and pulled... and pulled. I try swimming against it, but the more that I try the farther I go. I try for about a minute then I quit swimming and just worry about floating. I then start to yell for help. I realize that I am screwed. The more I try to go for the beach, the more the current pulls against me. I see the Canadian girl and she is on the beach yelling for someone to help me. As I am floating, I keep thinking the same thing... I cannot die this way, this is a stupid way to die. Then I finally get myself calmed down and I say, well I may get carried out to sea, but enough people have saw me go that they will get a jet ski and come save me, so I just need to worry about not drowning. Finally, I look up and see a German guy coming towards me with a football in his hand and he is telling me to swim sideways, so I swim sideways and he is telling me calmly to swim towards him and as I do, I realize I am making progress and I am going back to the beach. I reach him and I realize I can stand up and I walk to the beach. This is when I recieve the information that if you are ever caught in a current you are supposed to swim sideways to get out of the current. Information that I did not know, because I have swam in an ocean maybe 3 times my entire life. So now, if I ever start to get pulled out to the ocean again, I know my safety rules. I also learned the rule of if the water keeps changing temperature... get out. So that was my, Oh my God, I am going to die moment. I feel every vacation needs at least one of those... Right?
After that, I was done with the ocean. Which was fine, because our next location was the Desert Rose Lodge. It was run by a Swedish couple and it was a resort by itself. It had a pool and pool tables and was a nice out of the way place to stay. We were staying there for the holiday though and the count was 7 Swedes, 7 Aussies, and 6 Americans. 2 of the Americans were with the Aussies and we made up the other four. It was almost like an International Spring Break. I learned how to play a new game called Kubb which is awesome and is kinda like a Cornhole, but with sticks. We drank and played pool and darts on Christmas Eve, which is when the Swedish celebrate Christmas, and then on Christmas they roasted a pig and it tasted amazing.
The morning after Christmas we left and started our long journey back to Ouaga. We were really excited when we learned we caught our bus back to Ouaga, because we thought that we were going to miss it. Now we are back in Ouaga and Jade leaves at 6 am tomorrow. It has been great having her with me and really awesome to have someone from home who knows about the the things that I do and how I live. It was great for her to see these things. One of the other great benefits is that she is going to be posting pictures. Yes, that is right pictures. I will maybe post a few on here, but if not, they will be linked on my facebook. Finally, you get to see some pictures of things.
Well I know this has been a long one, but again I hope everyone here has a wonderful New years. I have people coming up to Kaya to celebrate. I will give you a shorter blog post about that later.
I love you all and let the countdown begin. 7 months left.