After 19+ years of writing my first Pen Pal friend, first starting with postal mail I met up with Kwesi, a journalist in Accra. I’ve been staying with him and it was amazing to finally meet in person after all this time. I had re-read all his original letters before this trip. Today I woke up in Accra without any real plans other than I was going to leave the country for some additional exploration of West Africa.
After a few phone calls it was decided I would fly to neighboring Cote d’Ivoire, to their capital city of Abidjan. I already had the visa as I was planning on meeting Bernard and Danielle of Border Jumpers there but when plans changed they found themselves up in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and it turned out to be too pricy to catch a ticket at the last minute as well as secure a visa.
Finding out the flight was at midday on Emirates Air, I scrambled to buy the ticket and arrived at the airport just in time to catch the flight. On the way to airport we passed the Holiday Inn where US President Obama stayed during his 2 nights in Ghana. The entire hotel was shut down for he and his staff. With the confusion of my issued visa showing the US standard of day/month/year I was initially denied boarding. After some explanation and back and forth between employees I was allowed to proceed. Then they caught the fact that my ticket was one way and that required further explanation before being allowed to board.
I’ve always wanted to fly Emirates ever since seeing the exotic uniforms of the flight attendants while in Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok. You can use your cell phone while airborne – how cool is that?!
Abidjan is the world’s largest French speaking city and for someone who only knows a few words getting around is a challenge. Not to mention getting money – after visiting our 8th bank our atm cards finally worked!