Monday, May 3, 2010

Kumasi: Dark and Alone

It's my anniversary tonight. I'm sitting in the Engineering Guest House at the sprawling University of Kumasi, listening to Elliott Smith in the dark. LED lights are great and all, but I'm really starting to miss some nice, bright incandescent lamps. I'm feeling a little gloomy. I was supposed to Skype with Alisha, but the network is down and there isn't any internet. I spent three hours last night in Accra trying to get Skype to work, and for some reason the call would end every 23 seconds. I guess African inefficiency must run like clockwork.
We left Burro as the sun was setting, and had a long, bumpy ride from Koforidua to Kumasi. I don't know why Ghanaians have to build speedbumps in sixes and place them every mile. Maybe they miss the bumpiness of a dirt road. There are also police checkpoints every few miles: bandits in uniform, is how I heard them described. Fred, our driver, told us he tries to make a rule not to drive after 8:00 pm. I found out why that is: it's impossible to get anywhere. Between the traffic, guys on bikes, goats, chickens, and the rest of the zoo crossing the road, you spend most of your time riding the brake and honking. Our 120-mile journey took five bumpy hours.
My body is starting to feel the effects of Africa. I usually have stomach cramps after eating, or when I go out in the heat. I have these waves of exhaustion and dizziness throughout the day. Maybe I caught a bug with a long Latin name. For some reason the kink in my back from a week ago hasn't gone away. Every bounce of the bus brought a wince of pain as I drifted between half-sleep and bored consciousness. I like to travel, but I hate traveling, if you know what I mean.
Maybe I'll be able to talk to Alisha tomorrow. I'm running out of money, this trip was a little longer than I expected, and I'm getting worried about the situation back at home. We haven't sold our apartment contract yet, don't have a place to stay in DC, or money to get there, and I don't know if I have enough cedis to make it another week in Ghana.
I'm really glad right now that I'm not a drinker, because tonight would be a bender.

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