As soon as I publicly complain about the unfriendly nature of other westerners we meet a couple (an American from outside LA and a Brit) at our lodge, who were easily the nicest people we’ve met so far. We were all leaving, so we were able to share transportation into town. Unfortunately, they were headed to Yengi to grab a ferry down the Volta and we were headed to lake Bosumtwi, they seemed like a perfect couple to travel with. Everyone seemed disappointed we weren’t all heading in the same direction, especially given the advantage of strength in numbers. Either way, it was refreshing to meet friendly and engaging fellow travelers.
We discussed the usual,
“where are you from, why are you here.” Then we somehow got on the topic of medical students. Alex has met several gap year students from the UK about to start medical school (at age 19!), and they couldn’t understand why it might be advantageous to be older when starting medical school (I certainly wouldn’t want a 26 year old treating me!). But our British friend agreed, and felt a lot of it had to do with prestige and position, not for a love of medicine, sound like the US! I think it was refreshing for Alex to meet someone from the UK who agreed few 18 year olds (or 22 year olds for that matter) are mature enough to know for certain that medicine is right for them, but more importantly that they would actually make good doctors.
Sitting on the metro mass on our way to Kumasi, Alex realized he still had our hotel keys, which were actual keys-think 18th-19th century-esk, and less easily replaceable than the swipe card variety. The bus happens to pass the entrance to the hotel, which lies a few kilometers south of Kumasi. As the dirt driveway approached we opened the windows and threw, as far as possible, the keys from the bus. We figured this, plus calling them was better than doing nothing! What was most interesting, was that no one on the bus seemed to notice, probably used to a large amount of littering and road side trash receptacles (aka, bushes). We were on the metro mass, instead of the usual STC because it left at 9am, instead of 5am. Though no AC or comfy seats, it wasn’t too bad, and much was half the cost. But what really made it worth it was the mandatory stop half way (about 3 hours in). It stopped at a different place than the STC, and unlike its competitors choice had the great luxury of flushing toilets. On the way up at the other stop there was only one bathroom, essentially a hidden trough where women squatted and relieved themselves, together. I’ve used squatters, and open air shacks with holes high up on freezing mountains. But this, I could not handle, not to mention you have to pay for it! 7 cents, but still. I still don’t know why, but it was just too much, and I decided to wait. So you can imagine the thrill on the way back to Kumasi when there was a full functioning bathroom!
After the usual unexpected delays, that pushed back our arrival time (only two hours late!) We finally boarded a drop taxi from a small village at the end of the tro route. It took us another 10 kilometers through peaks and valleys of the now familiar Jurassic landscape, affording us brief glances of the expansive lake, with sun setting, as if on cue. Tired from a long day of travel, it was instantly worth it. The air, normally full of smog and unspeakable smells, was clean, cooling in the warm night. The views were strikingly beautiful. As we traveled another 2.5km on a single-track dirt road, dark in its solidarity, we saw warm lights ahead and the soft murmur of people who’ve shared a bottle of wine. We arrived at the Lake Point Guest house, the entrance to which is a warm lively outdoor restaurant, decorated in rich colors with a definitive South African influence. After placing an order for dinner we were led up a stone path to our guest room, each of which stands on its own against a hillside, covered with gigantic-leaf plants that dominate the region. We ate dinner, drank beers, and watched a group of late teen-volunteers plan for something, more and more exuberantly as they finished bottle after bottle of wine. It was an excellent end to the evening.