July 09, 2012

Traveling with my parents... part one

So I got to Accra a day early. I flew in, which reduces the trip from 27 hours on a bus to 2 on a plane. It was lovely, and only occasionally did I think guiltily of all those "other people" only at their first rest stop. 
The first day by myself consisted of me walking around looking at things, getting stuffed at KFC, watching a movie in my bed at the hostel while eating cheese and crackers, and generally enjoying being not in village. The second day consisted of me waiting for my parents to get there. My parents didn't get in until what seemed to me like entirely too late, and I was really glad when they arrived and I knew that their plane trip had gone OK. 
The next day we toured Accra some, went shopping, got a different hotel, and went to eat at some really great places near it. I got (good) pizza and one the best cheeseburgers in my life in the same day. It was amazing.
The next day we were ready to get out of the city and spent the morning trying to get to a resort near the beach. We ended up renting a car and driver even though it wasn't cheap because we had 8 bags (my parents are cool and brought me suitcases full of stuff from the US).
The beach. was. AWESOME. Even in "rainy" season. Even when I had to wear a sweatshirt sometimes. (My parents said the weather was great, but it was at least 20 degrees cooler than here!) Few people, beautiful views, cheaper rooms. I was very happy.
We went to go see an old Portuguese slave castle and watched men make fishing boats the next day. We also took long walks on the beach, slept on the beach and near the beach, ate near the beach, went boogie boarding and swimming. (I liked the beach, can you tell?). 
Next we went to Kakum which is a small part of a rain forest you can walk over. It was beautiful, but a little short for my taste. We had to pay not to go with the millions of school kids there to see it. But that part was worth it.
Then we went about as close as one can get to Cote d'Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) to see a little village built on stilts. My mom loved it. I liked the jungle-y looking row boat ride to and from it. My dad liked the dug-out canoes.
Then we tried to get to a monkey park in the middle of the country. Getting to and from kind of sucked. The lodging was basic, but we stayed right next to the researchers working there and we got to see a ton of monkeys (Colobus and Mono) up close and personal. I smiled a lot because, hey, monkeys are cool!
At some point in here we took some tro tros, all of which went pretty well.
We ended up in Tamale where we rented a driver to take us to Mole (moh-lay) national wildlife park. He turned out to be an jerk, but the only other option was a city bus on an unpaved road full of potholes that looked like a river at one point (I am not exaggerating. My mom took pictures). The lodging at Mole was simple and the staff not really that helpful, but the park animals were super cool. 
It was raining the evening we got there, so we played a card game that I am trying, for the sake of family harmony, to get good enough to be competitive at. We saw some brown smudges in the distance explained to be bush buck (think african deer) and had a surprise visit from a warthog family. The next morning we went on a two hour hike that, frankly, disappointed me. We a saw a fair few animals, but many of those were around the workmen's houses and we didn't stray too far from the place we were staying. No elephants either. 
That afternoon though, we took a drive with a great guide... and saw more than four enormous elephants ,in the wild, from up close. It was enough to make everyone's heart stop. Elephants are SO much bigger than they look in the zoo! If you've never seen an elephant up close and you have a chance... do it. Even my dad, who's seen a lot of things and been a lot of places, thought it was cool. The following is the bast picture I got, but, man!, you can't even tell!

After the elephants we made our way back to Tamale and then a few taxis later, to Po and decided to head right on up to Ouaga. Somewhere in there I am leaving out the tro-tro ride from hell (it took 5 hours to even LEAVE) and what my parents considered to be a lot of fried rice... but this is my story and so this is what I remember without trying to get it all figured out. 
From Ouaga we went to village.... but that's another story...

Peace, JK