Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Joys of Travelling

Oh how I love travelling for 21 hours straight! Truth be told, I actually enjoyed the ride. It was my first time flying with such a large group of people, 23 of us in total. On the flight from Toronto to Amsterdam I spent half the time sleeping and the other half learning Dagbani, the local Ghanaian language in the Northern Region. Elisa and I kept testing ourselves using cue cards. But alas, it was only to arrive in Ghana to discover that at least half of our pronunciation was completely off. It was enjoyable nevertheless, and we did learn at least 25 phrases.

We had a six hour layover in Amsterdam, which I've heard is the airport to be in because of all the exciting things to do - this is especially so when we were told that it would be "grossly negligent" to enter Amsterdam, where we don't have insurance coverage. So we traipsed about, searching for a frisbee, and happened upon a mini-art gallery inside the airport. Naturally we were compelled to explore. They had some very beautiful oil paintings, done by artists that I didn't recognize - one in particular was a giant fruit platter, detailing a succulant bunch of green grapes. Needless to say, I've been craving grapes ever since. I don't even know if you can find grapes anywhere in Ghana.

After singing along to Ben's guitar for a while, in a sectioned off area of the airport - from which we were promptly evicted - some of us decided to "enter Amsterdam". Technically, we didn't actually leave the airport, but rather passed through customs and explored the mall on the other side. We found a terrace area, outdoors, that overlooked the runway and sang, danced...did some random aerobics for a while. It was a gorgeous day!

After our little outdoor adventure, we finished off our visit with a picnic on the airport floor comprised of peanut butter, cheese and bread. Then we headed back to board for the next flight to Accra, Ghana. I can now say that I have been to Amsterdam and I have the stamps in my passport to prove it! Although, I think I will need to go back at some point for a more extensive visit.

Then on to Accra - how can I even begin to describe what it was like to fly over the Sahara desert, and knowing that this is real - I am really going to live in Ghana for 4 months. The desert is so vast, so expansive - with sweeping winds blowing the sand so harshly that it could be seen from thousands of kilometers up. And this vast, empty land - along with miles upon miles of ocean - will be separating me from the things I know and am comfortable with. It was simultaneously one of the most exciting and terrifying moments of my life! Although, excitement ruled out in the end.

And then we landed in Accra. But that is another post.


At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debra-- I've just now discovered your blog, and I am so grateful to read your account! You are a wonderfully descriptive writer, and I really enjoyed reading your entries. I'm so excited for you, and I really can't wait to read what you'll be up to next. I wanted to wish you a safe and happy 3 months in Ghana, and I hope you have a really meaningful experience. I miss you, and I'm keeping your bed warm (literally. right now).



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