5.5 weeks * 39 days * 936 hours * 51160 minutes

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 29-30 Exploring Accra

After getting some much needed rest we had a day to explore Accra before heading to the north. The city was pure chaos! It was fast pass, with the hussling and bussling of people and traffic. We were able to experience the markets and last America food. Along the way we stopped at Annie Hakim's relatives jewelry store. All the metal work was handmade and intricate. Absolutely beautiful!! We went back to the hotel as we all knew we had an early start the next morning.

We were ready tuck in for the night, when madness broke out. As Leena laid in bed, she noticed moved that involved a small tail. She leaped into Beth's bed (luckily she was not tucked in) pointing and screaming "There is something up there!" (on the curtain rod). With a puzzled face, Beth questioned Leena ability to see without her glasses (Leena had contacts in!). After finding a poking device, Leena looked like a courageous knight going into battle. After a big poke a lizard crawled out and was chillin' on our curtains. Not so courageous after all, there was a lot of screaming, jumping and fear before we could compose ourselves to make a plan.

Plan of attack...dadatada!! Ross to the rescue! We quickly called Ross who saved the lizard and returned him to his natural environment - the crazy city of Accra??

Did we really sleep? Our day started at 2:45AM to catch a flight to Tamale. We have a long bus ride ahead of us to Damango, our next home for 10 days.

Courageous lizard hunters....Beth & Leena


After an exhausting four days in London, we were finally heading to Ghana. We had to be on the road at 7:30AM (that is 2:30AM Michigan time!!!) to make our 12:30PM flight. The Gatwick, England airport is a zoo. There is a holding area prior to gate assignment. Gates are not posting until boarding time. Once posted, it is off to the races to get to your gate and board! Our first leg of the trip was Tripoli where we had a 2.5 hour layover. Though we have to stop there on the way back, it will be the last time Leena and Beth willingly stop in Libya. It was an interesting experience. The country is Arabic speaking with minimal English translations. The Tripoli airport was a culture shock in itself. We found that the majority of the workers and travelers were men and found it difficult as two traveling women to find assistance. It was challenging to maneuver through the airport as security was strict and multiple stations along the way. The flight to Accra was delayed but finally we arrived at 12:00AM Ghana time (that is 8:00PM Michigan time). We were ready for the challenge to collect our baggage, exchange money, and hale a taxi to the hotel. We were surprised and relieved to see Janaan and Ross there to pick us up and already have a taxi waiting. Once at the hotel, we settled into our room and quickly fell asleep.

THREE CHEERS - we made it!!!! Leena and Beth

Sunday, June 27, 2010

After 22 hours of car rides, airports, and layovers we finally made it to the UK! We spent 4 amazing days with Leena's crazy family.

We landed Thursday, June 24th at 11:30 a.m. - three hours later than anticipated. There was no rest for the world travelers! We immediately went home, freshened up, and went to Windsor Castle. It was quite remarkable to see St. George's Cathedral, the Royal Doll House and some of the Royal Apartments. While there, we saw staff prepping the gardens for the Queen's visit the next day. We know so because one of the security guards told us so! After a few hours of exploring we headed home. Leena's family all came over to her aunt's house to see us and we were up past ten. We finally crashed and had to be up by 9 a.m. to go to the city the next day.

We spent Friday in London checking out the sites. We started at Green Park and made our way to Buckingham Palace where we observed the changing of guards and the Guard's Museum. Then we were on our way to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament but Leena's aunt was starving so we had to stop for lunch at Ask (Italian Restaurant). After lunch, we DID make it to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and wrapped up by riding on the London Eye where we saw the entire arial view of the city. Tower Bridge was our next stop. We walked across and headed down the path to take photos of the beautiful structure. We soon found ourselves in a Starbucks (something we NEVER see in the States!) since we had been walking all day. We felt like crazy tourist (even Leena's family) as we chased the bus down to St. Pauls Cathedral. Beth and Leena went in and took a glance of the the gorgeous building. Did y'all know that Princess Diana got married in this Cathedral? We went to Trafalgar Square, there used to be tons of pigeons but now they are not allowed in the area. So now it's kind of boring. We ended our day by catching multiple buses and trains to get back to my aunt and uncle's house. Where Beth and Leena were forced to karoake to ABBA - Mama Mia. Let's just say Beth squashed Leena. She is a ROCK STAR in disguise! Before bed, we had a proper English dinner with chips, mushy peas and baked beans. DELICIOUS! Steve and Jarod....dinners to look forward too!

Saturday we spent our day at Thorpe Park an amusement park with loads of water rides, roller coasters, food and games. We went through the Saw Maze (haunted house) let's just say screaming was abundant and holding on tight was a neccesity. After the park, we headed over to my cousin's for a BBQ (sweet potatoes, corn, a type of cottage cheese [charcoaled on the grill], green and red peppers, onions, mushrooms and fruit punch). The night ended on a sad note with the US losing to Ghana....but Ghana should be interesting with the big advance in the World Cup.

Sunday was our day to SLEEP IN. Well deserved we think! Once we got ready for the day, we went to Wembly Stadium and Market. Beth found a nice Ipod cover and the family found themselves spring rolls. One of Leena's aunts eats every hour and must have her sweets. We hung out with depressed uncles after the 4-1 England loss to Germany. We spent the rest of the evening with Leena's family enjoying our last dinner and evening in London.

Tomorrow bright and early, we head to Accra, Ghana. We promise our loyal blog followers to be better bloggers throughout our trip!

Already weary travelers ....Beth & Leena