Travel in Ghana

Monday, September 12, 2005

Leaving Accra, Stumbling through Ireland, & Going Home

Our last two days in Accra were spent with family. The images in my head are of packing and unpacking and packing again, of sitting in Jefferson’s uncle’s living room watching TV and listening to his sister and their younger female cousins laughing about everything, and of driving around town on various errands with Jefferson’s cousin, K, at the wheel. I took note of one particularly clever sign that we passed by at some point; it was a mobile phone store by the name of “Frank-‘O’-Phone.” Cute.

The 8 days that followed were like one long journey home, decorated strangely with a colorful youth hostel in Dublin and a double-decker bus tour in Belfast, among other Irish things. Mostly, I remember being tired, being at lots of airports and lots of planes, and wanting to go home. It’s confusing to re-enter Western culture in a country where everyone drives on the wrong side of the road. But at least Irish folks have really cool accents.

My coming home welcome was a head-cold. This was not surprising, but it undermined all my “as-soon-as-I-get-home-I’ll…” plans. The good news was that Geordi remembered us, and has even matured over the summer, now (almost) letting us sleep through the night (jet-lag is a different story). And I see my town, my apartment, and my life with new eyes. Which, I suppose, is the point of travel.

The streets seem unnecessarily wide. The sidewalks seem empty. Everyone’s clothing seems flat and inexpressive. I don’t know how to describe it, but people’s eyes seem to look inward, like their vision stops about two feet in front of their noses (e.g., at their laptops). I’m not saying that Ghanaians are always staring off into the distance, but that there’s a sense that their regular field of vision covers a wider space. A space beyond themselves; a more communal space. Or, maybe I’m just surprised that people don’t stare at me all the time anymore.

As I type this I’m at the local café that we always go to, drinking the coffee I always get, sitting at the table we always sit at. Doing the things I missed about home. At the same time, I already miss Ghana, and I’m looking forward to going back. Travel reminds us of life’s balance, enjoying where you’re at, dreaming of where you could be.

Twins, Ofori, and Pictures

We are back home in Mountain View, California; jet-lagged, but preparing to get back into the swing of life here.

I want to touch on some wrapping up issues, that resulted from comments made on the blog and email i received over the past couple of months.

The Twins Post

First, the twins post. For those of you who asked, I am both people in the picture (if you notice, both of me is wearing the same pair of shorts). It came about on an evening when Lauren was doing work, and out of boredom, I started playing with my camera. We thought it was so cool, that a few days later this picture was taken:

Ofori Amponsah

A couple people asked me what this song was that was so popular in Ghana over the summer. In our last few days in Accra, I spoke to a few CD vendors and learned that the singer was Ofori Amponsah and the song was Otoolege. No one seemed to have the CD for sale, so I ended up getting it online.

If you want to see the music video, go here. (The connection may not be the best).

Finally, our pictures

We spent much of this past weekend posting pictures from our trip (we have about 150 of our over 400 Ghana photos posted). Here are the Ghana pictures and here are the Ireland pictures. If you have any problems viewing these, email me at