My eagerness to start my 6am standby in the hope of the Brisbane that I was so legal for didn't go quite as planned. Let me set the scene:
Having packed nothing in preparation for whatever trip I didn't yet know that I was going on, I went to sleep at 11pm and ring ring ring, was woken up at 6.15 the following morning. Truly delighted by the time I was woken, I grabbed the phone and greeted crew scheduling with a very eager 'hello, am I going to Brisbane?' I was met with silence, then a not so apologetic 'no my dear, you're going to Accra'.
My first thoughts? THIS is the trip that everyone tries to avoid on standby and reserve and I got landed with it at the fantastically early time of 6.15am. I managed to get a few details out of scheduling, including my return date and to my further delight was told I'd be coming back in FIVE days.
My next thoughts? MALARIA. Need to pack. I have no hairspray. Are my uniforms clean? Where are my togs/swimmers? Pretty much in that order.
So, I ran around like a headless chook, managed to miss my bus and was on the next one 10 minutes later. I waltzed into briefing having comforted myself somewhat on the way to work with the thought that least it wasn't Lagos (think armed escorts on the crew bus & no leaving the hotel) and discovered that the briefing room was buzzing with that rare atmosphere that comes with an awesome crew.
Although our flight was delayed and we had to do not only a flight to Accra, but Accra VIA Abidjan because someone's captain had called sick down route (thanks captain), we all laughed and joked and before we knew it we were all aboard and I was queen of the galley.
The 8.5 hours to Abidjan flew by (literally!) and before we knew it, we were there. A short stop and refuel later and we were Accra bound and due to the 40 minutes flight time, there was nothing to do. We hit a big mamma of a storm just out of Accra and it was serious enough for the captain and those with window views to be saying their prayers. I was luckily sitting in the back galley with only a view of my feet and the bars that could potentially pose a danger to my life if they weren't secured properly and wasn't privy to the huge bolts of lightening, pouring rain and dangerous dips from side to side that our little old scare-bus airbus was doing. There were squeals and gasps from the cabin as we lurched and dropped, lurched and dropped. I get motion sickness, so was more concerned with my stomach contents.
Thankfully we landed in one piece and opened the doors to more rain. I was happy to stand at the doorway and farewell passengers, getting rained on in the process.
We soon found ourselves at the Golden Tulip, our home for the next 5 days. An instant millionaire, I was in possession of 1 595 000 Ghanian shillings or something as ridiculous and wearily headed to my room for a quick shower and change before dinner, drinks and obligatory clubbing.
I was dismayed to find I had no towels, and waited for 40 minutes before falling asleep on my bed in full uniform - minus hat, jacket and shoes. I woke at 1am, clearly having missed dinner and drinks. It turned out to be the biggest night of the trip and I was disgruntled with housekeeping for not giving me my towels in the first place. As we find that some things are 'only in Dubai', clearly some other things are 'only in Africa'.
The next day was spent baking by the pool, followed by a ripper of a pool party that involved not only our crew, but the crew who's shuttle we'd just done. I was delighted to find the lovely Katja, flatmate of my friend Angela, who's birthday we'd just celebrated at the Shangrila. Our party organisers were Lebanese guys who live in Ghana and are apparently so bored they throw parties for the crew. Think pool party in hot Accra sun, with unlimited booze, food and great company. Well, needless to say we rocked it till about midnight. There was dancing, swimming and dirty drunken pashes galore. I'd gotten rather scorched that morning and decided not to take my togs. Well, who needs swimmers anyway??? I was thrown into the pool fully clothed. Charming.
The rest of our days were spent lounging by the pool, consuming litres of water and vanilla milkshakes lovingly prepared by Gladys our waitress, and going to some great restaurants for dinners. Hot tip of the week: for those of you heading to Ghana in the near future, check out Mamma Mia's for pizza - the Quattro Formagio is a MUST TRY and the Ostrich at Monsoon is equally as wonderful. Just ask for it to be medium-well done, as medium is still moving a little too much for this girl!
Sad to leave, but all sporting fantastic tans, we all piled into the little inadequately air-conditioned bus and headed a whole 5 minutes to the airport, where we waited in an oven-like terminal before being let loose on the aircraft.
Back to Dubai we went, sad that our adventure was over. So sad in fact, that we planned a catch up for that night at the Shangrila to taste the Peking Duck in the upstairs restaurant and then drinks at Barasti and onwards to Zinc for end of the night dodgy dancing and drinks.
A fantastic evening was had, which prompted us to plan for a trip to the beach today. I tell you, Team Ghana is just never-ending! And after such a great trip with a great crew, why would we want it to?
With bags bulging with Lebanese food, we hit Jumeirah public beach and settled in with a million dollar view of the Burj al Arab and swam the afternoon away. There were waves, lots of laughs and very very full bellies. An post-sunset evening dip was essential and then we packed our bags and went home. But not before planning more clubbing for tonight!
Sadly I have airport standby tomorrow from 6am and can't go. But something tells me that Team Ghana wont be retiring any time soon!