Monday, April 12, 2010

Made it to Bolga!

Wow. What a journey the last few days have been. At the moment my computer battery is running low, so I will type as much as I can as fast as I can! I've got a friend that is going to look for a plug adapter. They said "when you are up this way, sometimes you just have to break it off" (speaking off the third prong my computer plug has)! LOL! I don't think so. ;-) Somehow I'm not worried. Things always seem to work themselves out here if we "take it slow" (in other words, don't worry).

The trip up to Bolga was something I'm sure I will take many funny stories away from, but something I don't personally ever desire to experience again!!! We learned a TON for the future though. The night bus to Bolga doesn't run on Sundays unless there happens to be enough people. There weren't. We thought we would have to wait and take a bus that would be arriving in Bolga at 5am Monday morning. That was cutting it close since there was paperwork to sign. Eventually we were on the bus going to Kumasi. Kumasi is Ghana's 2nd largest city. We could catch a Bolga bus from there. That sounded better than waiting around.

We were on the "executive bus" to Kumasi! I don't think we realized at the time just how good we had it on that bus, and we thought we had it good at the time! The seats at reclined, and there was plenty of leg space. It was sort of like first class on a domestic flight (not as good as first class on an international flight). It was a very quick 4 hours to Kumasi.

We got to Kumasi at around 4am. It was fairly quiet at the bus stop, but plenty of people were waiting for buses. In fact, the Bolga bus was already full!!!! No worries though, the bus to Bawku had seats for us (Baku is farther than Bolga and they will let us off in Bolga). The bus to Bawku was a far cry from the first class seats we had from Accra to Kumasi! And we didn't get the worst bus! Some of the busses had hard plastic seats. Ours, at least, had pleather seats with a bit of cusion.

At around 7am we started boarding the bus. Wow. Maybe it wasn't chaotic by Ghanaian standards, but it certainly was by US standards! All of the luggage did not fit below the bus, so what was left had to go in the bus with the people. There was a LOT left! Our seats happened to be towards the back of the bus. We were the "lucky" ones that had things stuffed in the aisles, and in front of the emergency door, and under our feet, etc. It was crazy! Yes, there was a chicken. I know you were all wondering! LOL! We were stuffed in there like sardines. My 5'5" body was just packed in. I can't imagine how the 6'3" dads were feeling!

In the morning the cool air from the open windows did well enough to keep people from getting overheated. Didn't quite work well enough to keep the woman behind me from vomiting several times, but that's another story! Mid-way we stopped at a rest stop for 15 minutes. That was the shortest 15 minutes on record, but we were thankful for a flushing toilet and cold drinks. It wasn't long before we were stuffed in ready for the 2nd portion of the ride.

The afternoon was miserable. People kept saying we were 1.5 hours from Bolga....for way more than 1.5 hours! The sun is just stifling here this time of year. "Strong" is the perfect work for it. I've never understood how people wear long sleeves in the hottest environments before, but now I get it. Your skin feels like it's being penetrated by the sun. It hurts, even if you don't get a sunburn. I could have sworn my face and arm were severely sunburned yesterday, but it was just the intensity of the sun literally hurting my skin! Anyway, the last 2.5 hours of the trip the sun was pouring in on me (in the window seat) so I covered my face and arms with a cloth. Under cloth it was hard to breath. Outside of the cloth, the sun hurt. It was a LONG 2.5 hours.

By the time we got into Bolga I think all of us Americans were very close to the end of our ropes. I know I was, and I didn't even have a child to care for! I was feeling close to heat exhaustion when we stepped off the bus. The FanYogo guy appeared out of nowhere like an angel from heaven! LOL! I was so thankful to hold that frozen icy treat, and suck some of the sugar sweetness down to keep me going! Sammy and Andrella enjoyed the rest. =-)

We were so exhausted by the time we got to the hotel late yesterday afternoon. Emotionally, physically, everything. Exhausted. I guess I should only speak for myself, but I'm pretty sure the families I'm with felt somewhat similar to me.

But it was Sunday. And on Sunday people aren't open for business as much. Not too great when the A/C in your room isn't working! 2 of 4 rooms had A/C issues. My room was okay. The other two families suffered through a very very hot night (although they assure me they were okay and I should stop worrying). I would have been miserable! There was electricity and fans at least. Amazing how quickly you start to appreciate the simple luxury of moving air once you're here.

We were hungry. There had been a few bananas, a few granola bars, a fried egg here and there...for 24 hours. Everybody needed a meal. But everybody was so exhausted that nobody really wanted to WORK for the meal. The restaurant very near our hotel was closed (Sunday). Joha tells us there is a restaurant "just a short walk" away. Do not trust Ghanaians when they tell you this! LOL! A Ghanaian "short walk" and an American "short walk" is not the same! LOL! It was about a 15-20 minute walk. Not so bad on a nice sunny American day after enjoying your central air and good food and roomy car. VERY BAD after riding in a stuffed to the gills Ghanaian bus for 9 hours! I made it, but boy I was tired! Thankfully, the hotel owner gave the families a ride. We took taxis back to the hotel (which I'm sure our Ghanaian friends were laughing at on the inside).

After what seemed like a neverending day we all finally collapsed to our prospective rooms. Oh, except that they give a free breakfast here. When you don't know exactly where your next meal will come from, you want that free breakfast! But we did NOT want to wake up at breakfast time to eat it! It was so funny talking to the hotel owner, asking him if we could have our breakfast at noon. He said, "But breafast is in the morning." It was beyond him. I finally said something like, "Can we take the breakfast food for our lunch instead of our breakfast." OH! That registered. Then he said sure, "Arranging this is the least of your concerns." Yea! So we all enjoyed a wonderfully long sleep and met around noon to enjoy our breakfast for lunch. =-)

The rest of today will be a recoup day. Nothing to do. Just sit in the cool and relax. Our big chore of the day will be walking out into the heat to cross the street and go to dinner. I think we can handle it. =-)

I don't know what the rest of our days in Bolga will look like. Funny how once you get here you give up the notion of planning. Just go with the flow. We don't have anything we HAVE to do for several days. So, we'll decide as each day comes. Fine. And somehow, it will all work out. I can say that now, after 12 hours of sleep and many hours in the fan and a/c. I wasn't saying that last night in my exhausted state!

Love to all.
P.S. Taevy, Samren, Bright, Kendi, I love you and miss you!!!!!


Mama D.'s Dozen 10:11 AM  

Oh the memories that this brings back!

Praying that your days in Bolga are successful (with paperwork), beneficial (for the families), with a little bit of fun and relaxation thrown in.


Kristin Jag 12:42 PM  

Sending cool thoughts your way! Glad you have each other to encourage along the way. Enjoy the fan ice. I always loved the chocolate. Daron loved the strawberry. Do you have a favorite?

A. Gillispie 4:31 PM  

Kristin, I am totally a FanChoco girl, but yesterday the guy only had starwberry. I don't think I've ever enjoyed strawberry so much! LOL!

Jen 5:34 PM  

Oh Anita, I so enjoyed the details of your story. It is like a frog in water- it gets worse and worse slowly- although at the end of it, you are still alive and grateful for it! It brings back memories of my traveling adventures when I was there. Always funny to reflect upon AFTER the fact!