I feel slightly better about my progress now because I have called some random art galleries that I found on a phonebook ish thing on the internet and now have three appointments set up over the next three days. IN YOUR FACE, KOFI, BAHA! I have to get over my paralyzing fears of being awkward and feeling like an idiot and the phone in general to do this so I am very proud of myself. I think I still sound like an idiot and it is REALLY difficult because the phone service is never good and I can never hear anyone. But whatever, I have three semi productive days ahead of me, life will be good. I could try to do something outsidedly productive today, but it’s Sunday, and Ghana is dead on Sunday, so that probably wouldn’t even work out anyway.
OMG look now I have a fourth interview! I’m so productive! I feel so great about my chances in life! So anyway now I feel okay about saying more things and telling more funny stories or something because it is Sunday, I have set up 4 interviews, and my project will not be a TOTAL joke.
I will tell the story of the art opening adventure. So once I decided that this was a thing I should go to or else I would be wasting my life, I called Trent and he agreed and we set out from our separate locations (I don’t really know where he lives but it is far away) to go to this place. It turns out that the gallery that the show is at is near the beach, so we figure we’ll both find our way to the beach area and then go from there.
I put on one of my outfits that is not 100% sweaty and ugly, aka one of the dresses I got here. It’s not really that cute and I probably wouldn’t wear it at home if I was trying to look nice but the pattern is pretty and I don’t really have many options. Lace shirts, I miss you. I even put on my urban outfitters sandals instead of my chacos in the effort to not look like such a slob. Then I set out on the adventure. I walked to America House as usual, then got on a tro tro to 37 because I recognized it earlier in the day from the time we went to the beach early on in the semester. I got to 37 pretty easily, but then, as usual, they let me off at a random spot on the street instead of anywhere near where all the tro tros are. A guy told me which direction to go, so I started walking that way but wasn’t really sure where I’d find the tro tros. While I was waiting on an island in the middle of this intersection, this guy on a motorcycle motioned to me and this is the universal (in Ghana) code for ‘I will give you a ride in my taxi/car/motorcycle.’ I walked over and was like where are you going and he said Accra Accra (which is another big tro tro interchange) and I said oh, I’m going to the beach area. And he said I’ll take you there for 6 cedi. I said hmm how about four. And he agreed. Now at this point I was like hmm pros cons…okay I’m just going to do it. So I get on the back of his motorcycle and he hands me a helmet and we’re off! This was very exhilarating, flying through traffic at night on busy Ghanaian streets, on someone’s motorcycle! It is only a little bit scary but mostly just so much fun! He weaves through the traffic just like motorcycles are not supposed to do and gets me where I am going much faster than any other vehicle because of all the traffic. Sometimes he tries to say things to me but I mostly can’t hear him so I just nod which doesn’t work on a motorcycle, then I say things like ‘yes,’ ‘ahh,’ and ‘oh good.’
He lets me off near the beach and gets my phone number (as usual tsk) and I walk in the general direction of where I think I need to go. I pass this hotel that the website said was next to the gallery, so I’m like okay good. Then I walk for a while in between a bunch of trees and then I’m by a construction site and suddenly I realize that that map must have been WAAAY out of proportion. So I turn around to try and maybe get help or directions from the hotel. The kind people of Ghana keep shouting out their car windows “you shouldn’t be here at night!” “be careful, do you need help?” “go to the hotel!” and I am happy that I am living in a place where the people inquire as to my safety versus trying to kill me. Back at the nice hotel I ask the men at the gate for directions and they lead me to another guy who is also trying to find this same event. We leave in his nice car (yay, nice cars, with seatbelts!) and try to find the thing. As we’re looking for it, and this is taking forever, I look at the brochure which he has a nice handsized copy of. On the back it says an RSVP number, so naturally I commence with amusing myself by thinking of all the things I will tell the people at the door if they say I am not on some RSVP list. This is a fun game, making up stories about how I am scouting art for a possible show for the University of Redlands esteemed professor of art Ben Bridgers and if I cannot get in he will be very upset and will never feature these artists in his spring show. I love making up fake stories in my head.
About a million hours later after driving really far and turning into a place that is not the place and turning around and passing the correct things and finally finding the place, I get out while nice man parks the car and head in. There is obviously nobody checking any type of list and this is a totally open event but my made up stories were a fun way to pass the time anyway. I am overwhelmed by all the classy people here and immediately know that even though I am an obroni within this crowd I am not going to be the special commodity that I am on the streets. This is a good thing though because then I can just be intimidated and look at the art in peace. I immediately find the open bar and get wine (AN EVENT. IN GHANA. WITH AN OPEN BAR. WHAT IS THIS.) and then I start walking around and am amazed by all the art. I am just in love. It’s so fucking cool. The two main artists on exhibition are taking up all of the second floor and I am just wandering around with my wine staring in awe at how beautiful everything is and how original and how wonderful and how lowly little me is at a real art opening just looking around and no one is telling me to get the fuck away because I am a pedestrian. I am just the happiest girl. Then I see Trent who has also found his way to the event somehow. Neither of us really understand how we made it to this far away place. We now continue to be amazed by everything but are now amazed together and have someone to discuss our amazement with. We keep wandering around in awe, looking at things and talking about how great they are and how wonderful it is that we are here and patting each other on the back that we decided to come. Everything is happy and beautiful and inspired and some guy with food on a tray hands me an appetizer and I am in heaven. Trent and I wander about, find great paintings, go tell each other how great they are, stare at them, and we are amazed at our good fortune. Some random guy talks to me for a second and I am happy that the world is giving me friends. Another guy who claims to have art in the show starts befriending me and he and his friend are entertaining me and we go around and they take pictures with me and if he is a real artist I get his contact information for my project and life is so fun. Then it is starting to close down so Trent and I head downstairs and we talk to some obronsters who are dressed WAY classier than us and are from NYU and probably hate us, then we set off into the night to make it home.
Also an adventure, just like this whole night, we cross streets and wander about, still talking about the greatness of our night and art and art and life, and then we find a place to wait for a tro tro. None of these tro tros are going to 37 or Madina, our destinations, so some random guy takes us down this path to a big tro tro stop. We get on a tro tro bound for both and continue to have great talks. Me and Trent just have great talks, what can I say. I get off at 37 but soon realize that I also have to go to Madina before I can go to America house. Curses. But then this funny thing happens where I get on a tro tro bound for Madina, and then suddenly it isn’t leaving and something is going on so I take out my ear phones and realize that the EXACT SITUATION FROM OUR SKIT IS HAPPENING, aka people are yelling and fighting over change. Unlike in our skit, I do not jump up and say “No matter black or white, we’re all people together!” or whatever our narrator said (I was actually the driver in the skit) and I just sit there and am amused and only a little bit annoyed. We eventually make it to Madina where I try to find a shared taxi to America House but this guy cajoles me into a chartered one and I’m tired so I just don’t care. He talks to me and I decide that he is nice so it’s okay that he is cajoling me into spending extra dollars. He drives me all the way to my house and asks for my phone number but my phone is dead so I agree to take his and I will eventually lose it but it’s not like I was going to answer anyway because I never answer my phone here because really what good would ever come of that for any party and now I am back in bed and it has been a great adventure!