Remember what it was like to have a simple life? I do, and I am so excited to get back to it. I mean this is good too, but tiring. You shall see. I already have planned my simple plans for winter break: watch Modern Family, 30 Rock, House, and whatever other shows I can get my hands on. Sit on couch. Eat copious amounts of Taco Bell. Also McDonalds. Culvers. So much ICE CREAM. And some nice restaurants. Maybe walk a little bit to keep the habit up. Lie on floor staring at Sasha and have her punch me. Hang out with parents and sister. CHRISTMASSSLKGJSLKJGSLKG that is how much I love Christmas. Cannot wait. Go shopping. It will be awesome, it will be my life.
Anyway, now not for the future and for things that are going on here. It’s hard for me to remember since it’s been a while since I posted! Well I have either been really crazily doing a lot of stuff for my ISP, or doing none at all, or riding on a ton of tro tros and walking around a lot. Mostly the tro tros and walking. I’ve been careening between doing a lot and doing nothing because as you may know, nobody ever helps me no matter what I say and I organize everything on my own. It’s fine, I’m getting better at it, whatever, but still man it gets tiring! And I may or may not have cried to Papa Attah on Monday. Not that that accomplished anything, but whatever it’s good to cry in front of an educational person once a semester. Actually I can’t remember the last time I did this but I’m sure it’s happened.
Maybe. Wait. Break in me talking about Africa and try to remember if I’ve cried in front of a teacher. This seems like such a natural thing that I feel like I must have but I can’t actually remember. I have made teachers cry (no not because I’m a bad student because I write really emotional essays obviously) and I have cried during math tests (but just on the paper not to a teacher’s face) but yeah I really don’t know if I have cried to a teacher before! This is so weird!
Anyway…my ISP is going fine but I wish I had more help and I ask for help and no one gives it to me, welcome to Africa. But anyway the past week or so.
LAST Wednesday and Thursday were both fairly productive. Friday Cam came down from Krobo Dumase again so we hung out and I went on the internet at school and we went to a bar (the usual.) In the late afternoon I attempted to go back to the Artists Alliance Gallery to look at stuff more and to see if they had any contacts. Instead, I took a two hour tro tro ride to the area, got in a taxi, rode up and down the street for half an hour because he didn’t know where it was and well clearly I know nothing and couldn’t find it, so then I got out threw money at him and leaned on some cement type of thing while crying on the phone to my mom that A.) I spend a kajillion dollars on transportation and SIT doesn’t support it even though it’s for my project or, you know, give a shit B.) I didn’t even check in with SIT that day so no one would even know if I died C.) my advisor is not helping me get any contacts or really do anything so I end up on wild goose chases around Greater Accra trying unsuccessfully to find things and D.) TAXI DRIVERS DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE GOING! Okay guys I really try to be culturally sensitive and not get pissed about things but I feel like knowing some basic locations is in the taxi driver job description. It’s not like I ever ask them to take me to hole in the wall restaurant or the SIT house or a random artists house without calling him. I ask for big landmarks. (And yes, considering that there are three art galleries in Accra and we were ON THE STREET THAT IT IS ON, I would say this is a landmark) I ask for interchanges. And still, half the time the taxi driver tries to get me to direct AND THEN overcharges me. Shiashie is a TRO TRO STOP. HOWW can you call yourself a person who takes people places and not know even the tro tro stops? UGH. Anyway, taxi rant done.
So that was the beginning of my frustration. Haha lies but it was the beginning of this current ISProblems frustration. Saturday was also interesting, and by interesting I mean I tried again to go to this gallery and this time I made it, but this time I also got kicked out of said gallery for taking pictures. Well technically not kicked out, this attendant just was mean to me until I left. In my defense, when I was there the first time EVERYONE was taking pictures so they should tell those people instead of yelling at me, and 2. They should have bigger signs! But anyway, so I went there looked at art but was too scared to ask for a list of the artists they have because all the attendants were talking to important looking people and then when I was loitering innocently in the antique mask room (NOT taking pictures mind you) this guy came in and went on for about 39 years about how I’m being disrespectful and no pictures are allowed (actually I don’t even know if he said disrespectful, he just basically kept repeating that I couldn’t take pictures and I kept saying, over and over I’M SORRY I’LL DELETE THEM I’M SORRY but he just kept shitting on my face and being a jerk) (and don’t say it’s because he didn’t understand me or doesn’t speak English because that is BLATANTLY false) but anyway then I got scared and left. And was embarrassed and vowed to never set foot in said place again which I will have to devow since everyone wants me to go there to talk to some professor, so obviously I will have to go in disguise.
Anyway then I decided that this was a stressful enough experience that I deserved to go drink on the beach alone and draw. What a great reward! Drinking alone and getting harassed! When I was buying my Sprite and Coke and gin packets at the entrance to the beach is when the harassment started. Some guy was trying to ‘be my friend’ and get me to buy him alcohol and usually I am respectful but decline in these situations but at this point I was just like NO LEAVE ME ALONE I’M NOT BUYING YOU ANYTHING! Or something along those lines. I just get sick of people talking to me every second of every day! But more on this later. Much more.
Then I sat on the beach for three hours drinking and drawing. It was nice. My drawing of the beach sucks because everything was moving and all of the men in the world continually harassed me, but it was okay. I only got really annoyed when one of the guys was asking me ‘why I was so reserved’ and he was implying rude and I was like LISTEN. I’M DRAWING. THIS IS FOR SCHOOL. I’M NOT TELLING YOU TO LEAVE ME ALONE, I’M LETTING YOU TALK TO ME, SO PLEASE DON’T BE A DICK AND INSULT ME. Obviously I did not say that. But I did say something along those lines. One of the guys I talked to was actually really nice and not obnoxious and I got a semi okay informal interview out of him. But really sometimes you just want to sit and not have anyone talk to you. Here, there is no such option.
A couple hours later I left to go meet Cam and Emily, as well as Annie, who had arrived earlier that day, in Osu. They got there a lot later than me so this is what I did in the intervening time:
- Wander around the Koala grocery store, being happy. I love grocery shopping (Laura Young) so even though I wasn’t buying anything I was still happy just to look at it all. I especially enjoyed the frozen meat section, the microwaveable food section, the juice section, the cheese section, and the produce. I also took this opportunity to look at some magazines and peruse the DVDs. Then I left and went on to my next activity. These may come out of order since this was last Saturday and now it is Thursday.
- Wandering up and down the street. I enjoy doing this in Ghana because I always feel safe; anybody who talks to me is enquiring after my well being (or trying to sell me something) rather than freaking me out. There are always things to look at and nobody questions me so it is nice.
- Next I stopped in a casino bar (only in Osu) called Hemingway’s (cute) where there were about three people and a bar and slot machines and two roulette tables. (Only in Ghana are there fancy seeming places like this and then you go in and realize that they are populated by three people.) Anyway this guy tried to teach me how to play roulette. I did not understand even though he explained it at least four times. I just pressed numbers of things I like (12 mostly, TNT!) and was pleasantly confused. Then I left and did some more walking.
- Really what I wanted was a bar but unfortunately on this one block stretch that I was traversing back and forth there were no only bars, they were also all restaurants. So further down the street I found…
- Another casino. But this one was just a casino. It had a doorman and everything and only business casual attire allowed. Luckily since I am an obroni my Le Sac dress that I’d been wearing for three days straight and my giant backpack counted as business casual attire. They didn’t mind my confusion and inability to know how much money was acceptable for things. I played a slot machine and won nine cedi! Look at me go! I was really excited about this and the guy next to me laughed. I decided to take my nine cedi and run with it so then…
- I went to one of the stands that was still open and bought some nice wooden souviener GOD DAMMIT sovigner sovegner sovigner HOW DO YOU SPELL THIS WORD souvenir keychains for my friends with my winnings.
- At this point I wasn’t sure what to do because I’d walked up and down the street a LOT so I found an alcohol store and found a nice drink called KISSMIX that was a cranberry and vodka (but let’s be honest mostly cranberry) type of thing in a can. The lady cashier was watching Sex and the City so it felt nice and familiar.
- Then I walked up and down the street with my drink until I ran into my friends.
We ate at some random chicken fast food ish place that no one will have heard of. It was very delicious especially since we discovered some awesome sauce that just tastes good. I may go back and purchase some.
Then we attempted to go out but mostly got sick (I did not get sick no worries my immune system is still soldiering through) and took a lot of taxi rides. We also got some free rides but then had to pay more in taxis to come back from a club with no people (Ghana.) It was a good adventure though and we had fun.
On Sunday I was absolutely unproductive. But it was awesome. Cam and Annie and I went to this awesome expensive obroni restaurant and I had 178 (no not 178, 18) dollar pasta (its hard to press the number keys sometimes) and to everyone that said money can’t buy happiness, they clearly have never had expensive pasta in Ghana. Then we came back to the apartment and watched a few episodes of Modern Family (my new obsession) and then maybe did other things but I don’t really remember. But lazy Sundays are happy days because I don’t have to feel bad about doing nothing.
I shall end this now for all of you who do not like to read long things and continue with this week in my next entry.