Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 25 - Broken Camera, Flying Cockroaches, and Bucket Shower (Mole Trip Day 1)

The alarm went off bright and early at 4:30 this morning. We had a 12 hour drive to get up to Mole and needed to get there before dark (given that we are so close to the equator, it is usually dark by 6:15 or 6:30). This was especially important given that these were unfamiliar roads and out in the middle of nowhere. After loading the truck and filling up with the gas, we got on the road at 5:55. Not bad considering we wanted to be on the road by 5:30.

As I was wide awake by this time, I decide to take the first shift driving. About 15 minutes into our drive, we passed a mountain that had mist all over it. Not wanted to miss out on this "picture perfect moment," I asked Andrew to take a picture. He pulled out my camera, rolled down the window, and prepared to take a picture. At the same time, we noticed that the tarp in the back of the truck was flapping around. I proceeded to slow down and pull off the side of the road so that we could secure the tarp. As I pulled off the side of the road, there was a slight bump. As we went over the bump, I saw a sight that you never want to see. It was almost as if it was in slow motion. Camera falling out of Andrew's hands onto the ground below. At first, my thought was. Its oks. Probably just a little scratched up. Andrew got out of the car, and picked up the camera. "Ah oh," he said. The LCD screen on the back had cracked a little. Frustrated, but nothing that I could do, I thought to myself "as long as it still takes pictures everything will be ok." My relief was short lived as we immediately tried to take some pictures only to realize that some of the sensors must have gotten broken inside. This is how the pictures turned out...

By this time I was pretty upset. How could he drop the camera, I thought to myself. I started thinking about how this was going to ruin our friendship and how the rest of my trip was going to be a complete waste. After all, how can you go on a safari without a camera. How would I survive the rest of my time in Africa without a camera? Electronics are incredibly expensive here in Ghana, and I would have to spend two or three times as much to get something of the same quality.

Needless to say, my worries were in vain. One of Whit's business partners, Jan, is coming over to Ghana tomorrow. After making some phone calls and other arrangements, she has graciously agreed to stop by Costco and bring me over an additional camera. Thanks!!!! In addition, it pays to use your American Express to make purchases. Ever hear of Purchase Protection? If you purchase an item using your American Express and it should break or get stolen within the first 60 days, they will replace it or refund your money!!!! As soon as I get back, I will be filing a claim to hopefully get my money back. Thanks AMEX!!!!

Also, luckily the others had cameras that we were able to use to take pictures. Thanks for sharing all!!!

Here are some of the interesting pictures / stories from today.

We drove by several large trucks / buses that has fallen off the side of the road or had tipped over going around a curve.

So as you will notice in the picture below, the Burro truck has speakers on the top. Whenever we go out to a gong gong, we play loud music as a way to attract people to come and listen to us. We decide to use the speakers as we were driving. We would put on some music (like Bob Marley) as we would drive through the small towns and villages. All of the little kids would run out to the street and start waving at us. Some of the kids would even start dancing to the music. It was fun to watch!!! Note to all, if you ever are working / living in Africa, make sure you have a car with loud speakers on it. :)

So the whole time that I have been here, we keep hearing about how the company is named after the burro animal. Something about how it is such a dependable and trustworthy animal and helps you accomplish more in your life. I still hadn't seen one yet, until a little while outside of Kintampo. We thought it very fitting to have a picture of a burro along with the green Burro truck!!!!

Up north the villages were quite different. You see a lot of adobe houses with thatched roofs similar to these.

On the road to Mole, we stopped in a small village to shop in their market. (Here in Ghana, most villages will have one or two days a weeks when it is market day. During these times, people will come from the surrounding areas to sell their wares. While we were stopped, the kids swarmed the truck because Debi had some items to hand out.

So just before we arrive at Mole, we stopped in a very small village / town called Damongo. This was the last place where you could get gas prior to getting to Mole. We had already gotten gas several hours earlier at Kintampo, but were hoping to fill up before getting to Mole. (If we were going to be driving a lot in Mole, we wanted to make sure that we had enough gas). So we get to the one and only gas station in Damongo and get in line. We waited over 45 minutes to get gas. It appears that the because of how far out of the way Damongo is (you have to travel nearly two hours on a very rugged, dirt road to get there), that they only occasionally have gas. When the gas arrives, everyone around shows up to fill up. There was one guy ahead of us that had 10-12 fifteen gallon jugs that he was filling. Luckily, there was still some gas left by the time we got up there. Made me think that was probably has it was during the time of gas rationing in the US (long lines just to fill up).

Welcome entrance to Mole

After traveling for 12 hours, this meal tasted great. And it was my first experience eating Guinea Fowl. Pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

So as we were getting checked in to the motel, there were some of these big flying cockroaches / beetles flying around. While we were eating dinner, one started flying around and landed right behind us on the window seal (we were eating outside). The guy next to us grabbed a glass and covered the beetle. Next thing we know, the beetle starts moving around and knocks the glass off the window seal. Remind me to never get in a fight with one of these.

So tonight I got my first taste of a bucket shower while here in Africa. Apparently the water is only turned on during certain times of the day here. Because we didn't get here until 8:00 tonight, we missed using the running water. Fortunately, they had big buckets of water in each bathroom that could be used to take a bucket shower with. After traveling all day long, anything felt good.

Right before going to bed, we heard a bunch of racket outside our window. Upon looking out, there were a bunch of baboons eating all of the bugs that were collecting around the lights. More pictures of these tomorrow.

Well, tomorrow will be an early morning. We have to leave by 6:45 to go on safari. Can't wait!!!