Friday, February 3, 2012

Accra warmth

Flying back to Accra was like a dream, I've often 'knocked' Ghana preferring Cote d'Ivoire but there's a lot going for Ghana too!  Landing in the warmth of Accra's evening, I was in my element, thrilled to be back!

Algeria had been cold, I didn't expect it to be so similar to the temperatures that are found at home in France, but it was chilly & I had packed 'warmer climate' clothes on the whole.  Should have done a little more research!!!

Accra's balmy & humid temperatures were perfect.  With the biggest smile on my face I cleared immigration & went out hunting for my 'priority' labelled bag, which as usual in Accra, was one of the last to find its way through!

I made my way outside to wait for the BA crew (my oldest friend was the SFO on the flight) to come through & joined them on the crew bus to go to the hotel for the night.  Everyone was exhausted, it was a difficult flight for the crew taking-off mid-afternoon & landing at 9pm GMT; lots of demands by passengers on flights like this.  I think there was only one member of the crew that succumbed to bed, the others all joined my best friend & I outside around the pool.  It was a late night but my first in two months I could sit back & relax!

The following day I took my oldest friend down to Nima to meet Charles Sablah of Ghana Nima Tours.

Charles is a young guy in his 20's living precariously, desperate to better himself & has set up walking tours of Nima.  An impoverished slum where most tourists are too scared to go.  He did a fantastic job & introduced her to a small school that teaches the children in French & English.  She was thrilled to see it all & is currently setting up collections via her children's schools to take to Accra when she is rostered to fly back.  Charles' tours are now a feature for BA crews & with continued focus he should do well as he's being interviewed by 'Time Out' magazine in Accra.

With the BA flight leaving just before midnight, I left her to sleep mid-afternoon & went off to meet someone who I had been in touch with since the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire.  I was generously offered a room there during my time in Accra & my host was a real gentleman ensuring I had everything I needed.  Importantly in my own economic constraints, I had a room in Accra to stay in whilst I had business meetings & the conference to attend.

My welcome on my return to Ghana Civil Aviation was outstanding; the ladies at reception were both very pleased to see me.  A surprise for us all that I had returned so quickly after the WAFRIC conference.  I had meetings in & around the airport all week then Saturday dawned with the conference speaking promise.

The main reason for my return was to support the Aviation Club Ghana which is run by a group of graduates & under-graduates of the University of Ghana at Legon.  I was impressed with this group in October, but what they had created with this conference was outstanding.  Some prominent local speakers from the aviation industry, a room full of students from High Schools and University with live internet streaming.

Sunday I got my usual driver to take me to Kaneshie station to get the VIP bus to Takoradi, I ended up on an excellent ADB service for 11GhC leaving at 9am & arriving at 1pm.  Finally after a tro-tro from Takoradi & a taxi from Agona Junction I was back in Busua!  Arriving at Busua Inn, it was perfect, calm, warm with a breeze but I wasn't sure if I was in the right place.  I was meant to be meeting up with my friends who also own Ezile Bay & staying over at Ezile next to Akwidaa village.  With James the manager expecting me, I put my bags down & waited for them to return from Ezile.

I had got it wrong, but decided to move over to Ezile the next morning.  Ringing Ezile from Agona Junction, the line actually rang as the reception is terrible over there I discovered that they were on their way back to Busua.  Back to the Busua taxi rank at Agona Junction to some surprised drivers & back to Busua for a few hours.

Eventually I spent 3 days and nights at Ezile.  The culmination of stress & lack of sleep left over from my two month Algerian sejourn caught up with me.  No internet, weak phone signal (or climb to the top of the hill on the edge of the bay) and no electricity meant I had days with nothing to do but swim in the wonderful bay that doesn't have a rip tide unlike the coastline nearby.  Early nights, that sent me to sleep with the finest freshest food (mainly fish from Akwidaa village) cooked up by Comfort & watched over by Danielle.  I slept so soundly every night with the waves crashing on the shore 10metres from my cottage door, it was paradise!

I have to admit on the 4th morning I started getting jittery, I hadn't checked my e-mails, not received any calls ... it was time to head back to Busua & Accra ultimately.  It was a sad drive back to Busua for the night (where there weren't any important e-mails!) and onto Accra the next morning.

My final day in Accra, I returned to the conference which was busier than the week before & spent the last few hours in the Fiesta Royale Hotel winding down.  The board of the Aviation Club Ghana returned me to the airport, where I got a flight back to the cold of Europe.