Friday, November 26, 2010


I had joined a study abroad trip to Accra, Ghana, and it was our first day in the city. The study abroad group was to be there for 3 months. The other people in the group were off at a day of talks and introductions, but I had sneaked out to explore the town. It was a cloudy day, and pleasantly warm - both temperature and color-scheme-wise.

The town was a mix of architecture, with narrow brick and stone buildings squished together to line the streets. I was walking down a tan cobblestone road, and turned a corner to come to a river-front street where a number of buildings were coated with a thick layer of sand, stuck on adding a foot to 3 feet of thickness to the front features of the houses and shops it coated. I took out my camera to photograph this beautiful sight, but while I fumbled with my camera settings, a shop owner came out and opened and shut a large security panel until it knocked all the sand away from his building and the neighboring ones. The sand disappeared into the ether as it was knocked away.

I walked a few meters down the street, and up a few stairs to the next street to get another view of the buildings, still intending to take a photo. A large woman walked around the corner, and walked down the street towards me. She seemed like she didn't want to be photographed, so I tried to adjust my camera more. I may or may not have gotten a good shot of the storefronts and little cars parked along this block.

I turned around, and continued walking in my original direction towards the river. The river was actually an inlet filled with sea-water, and a floating wooden-slat bridge spanned across to the part of the city where my group was staying. Approaching the bridge, I passed by a large group of identical-looking, short, pudgy men with somewhat Italian features doing a variety of exercises. They were blocking the road in parts, hanging from bars, and doing a strange head-focused push-up on their backs. But they made way for me as I passed.

I started across the floating bridge, and about half-way across I noticed some dark tan mammal with a few small darker brown and black spots swimming to my right, near the bridge. I paused to look at it, thinking it might be a kangaroo, but I couldn't tell as it's face was in the water. It raised it's head and it looked more like a long-nosed anteater. I walked along some more and the bridge sunk into the water about a foot, so I was up to my knees in the water. It was warm, and easy to move, though I had to stop for a minute while a baby orca swam across my path, momentarily pushing the bridge a bit deeper.

When I got to the other side of the bridge, I noticed that a large clear garbage bag I had been carrying was now full of water and two eel-like creatures. I didn't intend to keep/catch/eat them, and I poured them back out towards the water, though they dumped out onto the sidewalk and got stuck at a little 6 inch breakwater keeping the sidewalk dry from low waves. They didn't flop around, so I was a little concerned that they were dead.

Then I was in a narrow hallway with some of the people from my study abroad group. Some of the students in the group were complaining about how boring the day was, and how they were reconsidering coming here, and I thought they were ridiculous.