I didn’t know what to expect upon arrival in Ghana, but certainly nothing like this was on my mind. It takes me a minute after getting off the plane to realize what’s odd: the highest lights are those of the control tower. This isn’t nearly as surprising as the convenience with which we get out of the airport. British Airways wows with delivery of all 10+ of our bags, and our escorts allow for a far smoother passage past customs and eager cabbies that I’d expected. Except for the recent, still-learning-to-type introduction of computers to the immigration desks, this was the smoothest arrival I’ve ever had.
Wouldn’t expect that from a Third World country, would you? Surprises continue. The Golden Tulip Hotel looks flat-out luxurious, but a U.S. economic embargo prevents us from staying there lest we risk a $10,000 fine for transacting with a Libyan-owned business. Hotel Koreana ends up being not half bad, about a Comfort Inn plus brown ripples in the tub. Turbo air conditioning more than offsets the rusty bathing, resulting in cooler conditions a few degrees north of the equator than in my Pennsylvanian, sparsely-A.C.ed home. Speaking of lines on the globe, the Prime Meridian actually passes through Tema, which is the little chunk of Africa that we’re calling home for the night. I’m within miles of as close to the intersection of 0 degrees latitude and 0 degrees longitude as you can get without swimming into the Gulf of Guinea, which is mostly meaningless but minorly interesting.
3 people much more important than my proximity to being at 0-0: Ricardo, Colonel Opong, and “Auntie” Mary. They’re facilitating this trip in different, strange ways, all of which will take some getting used to.
We wrap up the day really roughing it: watching “Family Guy” on a laptop in a hotel room that’s not a Fahrenheit above 65. If you weren’t so busy enjoying your free trip to the most exotic place you’ve even been, you might wonder if we’re actually doing enough good to justify this trip… but then you’d fall asleep in a very comfortable hotel room and have some vivid dreams.