We’re in Ghana!

We are officially in Ghana.  I have no idea where we are, but we’re in Ghana!  The transition from paved road to dirt road, about 10 minutes outside the airport (in our taxi) was abrupt and interesting all at once.

Much of what we’ve read in our research has already manifested itself.  I was hissed at, Miranda noted, by a customs official, while my camera was out before we passed customs.

Hissing is like their version of a whistle or a “hey!” … and when I say hiss, I mean: like a snake.  Miranda likes it, as a communication tool, and I have yet to form an opinion.

As we deplaned, and then went to get our luggage after having our visas stamped, at the carousel a man in a bright green vest joined us.  There were many of these trolley attendants there, and I was surprised to see that trolleys (aka carts) were free.  Certainly at LAX they are not.  Anyway, he begins asking us what our bags looked like, and I was unclear at first if we were allowed to grab our own bags, or perhaps weak Obrunis are not to be trusted around dangerous machinery.  I grabbed three of the bags, and he grabbed one.  He then began pushing our cart to a secondary customs clearing area, and telling me to “prepare his gift.”  Hah.  Long story short, this is how you bribe your way through customs.  Or in our case, pay $2 to your trolley attendant (something Miranda saw a Ghanaian do, and when in Rome…), and then the customs person he is working with hassles you.  In response to his $2 tip he informed us that for $100 we could bypass customs.  We almost bypassed customs anyway, but the lady he was working with grabbed us at the last second and made another agent do a very cursory inspection of 2 of our bags.  Then it was off to another checkpoint.  And then to our cab.

The homestay we have arranged to stay at for the first few nights was good enough to pick us up, and although they don’t have Internet (as their site said they did), they do have running (cold) water and electricity.  We are at a containershop now — a small shop built in a 20×8 ft steel shipping container — it has $1CEDI/hr Internet access, and the reception guy at our homestay was kind enough to loan us $5CEDI since the money exchange is closed by now (6pm).  I will update with photos and more ethnographic insights in the next day or two, as we get more reliable access to Internet, as well as a better sense of where the heck we are.  Right now the best I can say is that we’re around 15 klicks from the airport.


2 Responses to “We’re in Ghana!”

  1. Marisa says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait for pics!

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