For some people vacation starts the second they step foot in country. For me vacation started the second I left my village. The bus rides were infinitesimally better knowing I was on vacation.
I hauled my backpack outside to hail a taxi to whisk me away to the airport. It was late at night and that meant party time in the taxi. The taxi driver and I had a mini dance party while sitting in vast amounts of traffic. The traffic was so bad that the taxi driver drove in the dirt near the street and made his own lane.
I quickly checked in and made my way to immigration. I filled out my form and waited patiently in line to see an immigration officer, so I could bat my eyelashes at him, speak in Twi, and get out of the country. While waiting in line, something so Ghanaian happened, I couldn’t help but click my tongue.
A man looking surly walks briskly up to the line, cuts a bunch of people and just squeezes himself in. So the guy he cut gently taps him on the shoulder and asks him what’s up. Guy doing the tapping was an African-American. Line cutter guy (let’s call him Leeroy) FLIPS OUT. Almost punches the guy, gets in his face and waggles his finger, and starts saying the greatest thing I have ever heard: “DO NOT TOUCH ME. You do NOT know who I am. You don’t even know who I am.” Uh oh. Big man syndrome. He continues on being a total pompous ass for the entire queue. He keeps confronting the guy about tapping him on the shoulder. Leeroy was like a bunch of fireworks at Fourth of July just waiting to explode on a bridge in one big glory burn. I was making every subtle Ghanaian noise possible to show my distaste.
Eventually I make it through immigration to go sit and wait at my gate for eons.
Lucky me, the Champions League was on and everyone in the building was watching soccer. Including the security and gate guys. While sitting watching everyone else watch soccer, I people watched the hell out of that gate.
Interesting side note, while sitting down, I noticed the window next to me was open. Could you image having an open window at an airport in America? Haha. Makes me laugh just thinking about it. Anyway, I was sitting there watching Turkish Airlines taxi when suddenly I was almost knocked back by a sudden gush of wind. I was 3 football fields away from that airplane, inside, upstairs, just sitting next to a window and I felt the jet engines. No tro feels like that.
Something very interesting I observered was the lack of females on my flight. There were probably 15-20 of us on a flight of 200+ people. So strange. I slept almost the entire flight, which was fantastic, especially since it was a red eye. Woke up in time to watch the sunrise over the skies of South Africa. Simply stunning.
When we landed I noticed something in the grass near the tarmac. I’m pretty positive it was a jackalope, obviously. Either way, I knew that it was a good omen.
At the airport, I indulged in some good ole fashion BREAKFAST. Bacon, cheese, wheat bread, all the good things you never forget about and pine for all the time. The waiter asked me if I wanted honey with my tea and ice with my water. I just stared at him confused. Wait, ice? That exists? That’s a real thing people put in their water? HOLY SHIT. I walked around the airport incredulous at all the trappings of western civilization. Bakeries, oyster bars, shops, bookstores – all inside an airport? What is this place? This isn’t Africa.
On the mini bus to the actual airplane that connected me to Cape Town, a guy introduced himself to me after seeing my American passport. “Oh, so you’re an American!” No matter where you go, everyone loves Americans. Well, except some hostile states, but whatever. We start chatting and it was great. I told him about Peace Corps in Ghana and life in Ghana. (Mind you this was a long bus ride – relatively speaking). Even the captain, who wasn’t on the plane yet?!, was listening in and staring at me like “BUSHLADY.” Don’t worry I was milking it for all it was worth. I had a captive audience of rich white South Africans. I was telling them stories about real life in West Africa, from a white person. Tell me that won’t make you eavesdrop on a bus?!
Boarded the plane, BULKHEAD SEAT. Holla. And off we went to Cape Town.