Trip to the North

Day 1: Driving to Kumasi

We spent most of the first day driving to reach Kumasi. The journey is between four to five hours between Accra and Kumasi. The drive is not always easy. There are certainly times when the road is either unpaved or although paved, there are many potholes that must be avoided. In spite of the driver’s best efforts, it was still very bumpy making it a little bit difficult to sleep. (Although I still managed to fall asleep.)

There are a few things that made this drive very interesting though. First would be the views of the different villages. Driving in the car, we had a unique opportunity to be able to observe the way many of these villages along the way functioned. Seeing the way that these small, isolated villages lived offers a perspective on lifestyle that we don’t find in the United States. These quaint villages seemed self-sufficient and very relaxed. The emphasis (as can be found most places in Ghana) were clearly on family as most of the people we passed seemed to be simply enjoying spending time with their families and others in the village. For the most part, they were very receptive to seeing us and waved as we would pass. Probably one of the most interesting sites was seeing a gentleman walk by our bus balancing a large, probably 32-inch, analog television set on his head as if he was wearing a helmet.

After a long journey, we finally arrived in a beautiful hotel, clearly designed for foreigners. Among the incredible accommodations, were internet access, a pool and spacious suites each with several rooms and a balcony. That night we enjoyed playing American-style drinking games (I observed, but did not drink), sleeping in air conditioning, watching American shows and playing limbo outside the pool, while some of our colleagues swam. After a long day, it was perfect to relax.

Day 2: Kintempo Falls/Mole National Park

That morning, we woke up to beautiful prayers of a local mosque. I found it very interesting to realize that for once in my life, I was staying in a primarily Islamic area, something that I had never experienced before. Then it was time to shower, a hot shower that I had been craving ever since I arrived. Quickly, I realized that as I didn’t turn on the water heater, there would be no hot shower for me. (Although by this time, another cold shower was really just another cold shower.)

We had a full breakfast of omelets, toast with a ginger-flavored jelly, pineapple and instant NesCafe Coffee. After that, we quickly checked out in order to start on our next leg of the journey, probably the most difficult part of our entire trip. This trip was broken down into two parts. First we were to stop at Kintempo National Waterfalls and then after a brief tour of the falls we would continue on to Mole National Park.

The first part of the drive to Kintempo falls was not bad. It was certainly bumpier than we are used to driving on our highly paved roads throughout the US, but nothing like what we would face later. Kintempo Falls is a national park where visitors can see the three stages of the waterfall. Also, it served as a rest stop, probably primarily for tourists, but for travelers to relax and use a restroom. Although there are some rest stops between Kumasi and Kintempo, they are a little bit of a novelty and often having one questionable restroom (which we were absolutely thrilled to use!). Anyway, we were met by a young guide who took us on the trails to the different stages of the waterfalls. The first stage was the source of the waterfall where the water started and was only 10 feet or so off of the ground. Water gracefully cascaded over large, rectangular, onyx-colored rocks amidst lush green trees and other vegetation. Need I say anymore? Our group climbed onto the rocks to capture every angle of the waterfall, beneath, directly in front of and behind in a semi-open cove. While we were exploring, our tour guide found a millipede. Chocolate brown in color and about 2 inches long, everyone was a little squeamish about holding it. Eventually most of us, including me, got over our fear and held it just long enough for a picture. When you held it, all of the feet tickled and gave me shivers. After a little bit, I got used to the feeling and it didn’t bother me, not that I was too disappointed to pass it along to someone new.

The next part of the waterfall, stage two, was a little less impressive. Essentially the water trickled over a few rocks creating a very small waterfall.

Stage three was by far the most impressive. To get down to the bottom of stage three, we climbed down close a lot of steps (between 50-100 maybe?) that basically hugged the side of a steep hill. As we walked down the stairs, between the foliage, you caught glimpses of the top of the waterfall (that looks a lot more picturesque than what was captured by my camera). However, it wasn’t until you reached the bottom that you could see the waterfall completely. The water started maybe a hundred feet or so above us and trickled over three main sets of rocks, forming a pool at the bottom and then creating a babbling brook of sorts that continued into the trees beyond where were able to be.

While many of my classmates enjoyed swimming in the pool, I enjoyed documenting the experience with my camera. A big part of why I never got into the water though was because I had been advised by several people not to go into fresh water because of parasites. I don’t intend to get any sort of parasite or worst of all, the dreaded Guinea Worm, just so I don’t hear any I-told-you-sos when I return.

We stayed for approximately 30 mins swimming and enjoying the scenery and then got back on the bus to begin the journey to Mole National Park.

This part was, well, educational I guess. In the United States, I think the drive would have taken approximately 2, maybe 2.5 hours based on the distance between the two places. However, because the roads were not well taken care of, our journey took between five and six hours. Because I wanted to take pictures out the window, I chose the remaining window seat in the back for the ride. This seemed like a good decision, until we actually got on the road. The roads often times during this journey are hardly navigable—-these were dirt roads where there were more potholes than road. I doubt our speed surpassed 30 mph for most of the trip, but required some professional maneuvering on the part of our driver who had to drive a Volkswagon bus on both sides of the road and negotiate traffic patterns with the other cars also trying to drive on these roads. Like I noticed when traveling to Italy a couple years ago, traffic is like a social dance and all of the drivers know just the right moves. While the rest of us stressed multiple times about driving situations, it seemed almost like a game to our driver and he would just laugh after every difficulty we faced. This not to say that it wasn’t a long bumpy ride where you wouldn’t be able to sleep at all, especially in my seat where you were airborne after clearing every pothole, it just gave a whole new meaning to “off-roading”.

This night was the first time we really got to see a sun set amongst untainted, natural scenery. As many of us desperately tried to capture this moment with our cameras, the trees became really thick and it disappeared. It seemed to be the quintessential sunset over African savannah, and offered a nice break from thinking about the long drive.

After several bumpy hours of travel, puppet shows by one of our classmates and eventually scary stories as it became dark (not a ride for anxious young children—-this was enough to drive 20+ year olds crazy), we entered Mole National Park, home to different animals such as elephants, antelope, warthogs, monkeys and baboons. We quickly checked in to our hotel and then went to enjoy a dinner complete with American-style French fries (this never gets old)! Tired from a long drive we primarily enjoyed a quiet dinner and enjoyed briefly talking to some other foreign students (obronis!) eating at a table not far away.

Throughout the last 15 minutes of our drive and while we were eating dinner, we noticed lightning beam across the sky several times. Because we couldn’t hear thunder, I personally assumed that it was heat lightning as it didn’t seem to be approaching and it was a hot evening. As most of us settled into our rooms, it became very clear that this wasn’t just lightning. Slowly, the lightning and thunder did get closer and rain followed, steady at first and then monsoon-like. The rain roared on for most of the night dwarfing the sounds of the thunder. Although there was nothing we could do, our group had two primary concerns, would we be able to go on our safari/hike tomorrow and would the roads that we came on even be passable?

Day 3: Mole National Park and Larabanga Village

We met the next morning at 6:30 for our safari at 7:00. We were quickly informed that due to the rain storm, some of the trails had been flooded and that they wouldn’t be taking anyone out this morning. They would monitor the conditions and reevaluate in time for the 3:30 safari. From there, we all went back to bed for a little while until breakfast was ready.

Tired and a little disappointed we ate our typical breakfast of omelets, instant NesCafe Coffee, and toast. As they placed our food in front of us, we were met by some sneaky baboons intent upon stealing food from unsuspecting guests. Although we were not victims of their thievery, a baboon jumped onto the tablee of other international students where it snatched something and then ran off. Shocked and surprised, we all laughed at their experience, while secretly paying more attention to our own food.

After this, we were met by a speaker who told us about the history of the north and explained to us why it exists as it does. From the underdevelopment of the area to the establishment of Mole National Park, we discussed the effects of colonialism, religion and natural resources and the impact that they had on these regions.

During our time before the next chance at a safari, we took the opportunity to visit a nearby village, Larabanga. In Larabanga we were able to see the oldest mosque in West Africa and then also saw the mystic stone, a large stone that they have tried to move several times, including when they were trying to build roads, would always end up back in the spot where it is now.

Although these were fun, little touristy things for us, the whole experience of being in the village is more worth writing about. By this point, we are used to having the bus surrounded by people selling us stuff when we stop. With an unreasonably heavy load on their head, they come up to the windows and try to get you to buy something. There were certainly people trying to see us stuff, but everything was not what anyone expected.

The lucky members of our group were met by little kids. Children under the age of 5 who simply wanted to hold your hand and talk to you (if they were brave enough). These kids were so precious, and seemed to have some admiration for many of the students. This sounds horribly conceited, but what made me think this was that there were two little girls who were walking with one of the girls in our group. When our tour guide was trying to tell us about the history of the mosque, she decided to crouch down in almost a catcher’s position. Two little girls that had been walking with her, noticed this and did exactly the same thing, checking periodically to ensure that they were crouching just so. Although not initially, but eventually, a young girl came up to me and just grabbed my hand. I asked her what her name was and she replied almost inaudibly.

Those of us who weren’t so lucky, including myself were approached by others closer to our age. They were on a mission. The guy who approached me started by asking questions about me and saying things like he wanted to be my best friend in Larabanga. Having been proposed to already, I wasn’t too phased by such false flattery. He was nice enough to explain some of the history of the mosque and even explain to me the meanings of some markings on a wall—-a calendar of sorts. However, after catering to what he believed were my interests, he told me that he wanted to tell me about a little problem that their village encountered. He explained to me that football was a crucial part of the community and they had a very important game coming up. Sadly, their ball had either popped or was lost and they wouldn’t be able to play without it. He then asked me if I could buy a ball at one of the nearby markets and bring it back to him. Although I was slightly offended and annoyed, figuring that this was quite rehearsed and that was done to every tourist group that came by, I tried to be diplomatic and said that I would think about it. This person then asked me for my contact information which I declined to give him and he followed me to the bus, where he watched me from the window. When we got onto the bus, it turned out that everyone had been approached for the same thing—a soccer ball from many different people, including five captains of the team.

While some of the girls in our group came prepared with little toys and school supplies to give to villagers, I felt bad that I didn’t even have trinkets to give. However, as they continued to hand stuff out, they were quickly rebuked by our tour guide. His voice raised louder and louder as he lectured them about giving stuff directly to the villagers. According to our guide, by having us give stuff directly to the villagers it only encouraged them to approach visitors expecting gifts and then often times, the gifts may not end up in the right hands and not benefit the village outside of one person. At this point, we were all a little frustrated and overwhelmed, primarily because we had just become so accustomed to the overall generosity and unbelievable kindness of the Ghanaians we have been meeting. I think to be bombarded with requests in the way we were here, was just so contradictory to our experience thus far that we weren’t quite sure what to think, but nonetheless, we agreed that we were glad to have visited the village anyway.

Tired, we went to go see the mystic stone. As we approached our tour guide told us more about the history of the stone and its significance to the village. When we went in, it was very simple, a brick encampment with the stone propped up in the middle. We all touched it and got some cool pictures of our hands and stuff, but only spent about 10 minutes looking at the stone and enjoying the serenity of the area. When we decided to return to the bus, we noticed that the children from the village, giggling and adorable, had followed us all of the way from the village to the stone and then ran behind the bus as we approached the village.

After that little excursion, we returned to Mole National Park and the Mole Motel for lunch. Since we were able to order lunch on our own, most of us chose American dishes because we knew that we probably wouldn’t have many more opportunities to eat them for a long time. I personally chose Spaghetti Bolonaise while many others chose fries, club sandwiches and salads. Thoroughly enjoying our American cuisine, we finished lunch quickly.

At this point, many of the animals in park had begun to wander into areas where tourists would go. For instance, as we went back to our rooms to rest, there were a couple of warthogs just chilling in front of my doors (and I should note that they don’t have the most appealing scent). However, we were nonetheless excited to see wildlife in our midst. Right after many of us went to our rooms, we were called by others to let us know that an elephant had wandered near the starting point of the safari. Not expecting to be able to go on the safari we quickly headed over to see the elephant. First I ran back to my room to grab my camera. When I exited my room, there was several girls from our group standing around. Apparently, I had just missed one of the funniest things that has happened during the whole time that we have been here. So, one of the girls decided to offer a baboon one cracker, while holding a whole package of crackers in her other hand. The baboon decided it didn’t want the one cracker, so it slapped her across the face causing her to drop the entire package of crackers. The baboon snatched the packet of crackers and ate all of them at once like a sandwich. This same baboon was later caught on tape eating a butterfly (gruesome, but also really cool to watch at the same time). On our way to see the elephant, we ran into another pack of baboons, but more specifically a baby baboon and its mother. The combination was adorable. However, we got way too close to the both of them and the baby started screeching a little, showing that it was scared. Initially, this seemed okay because the mom just picked it up and walked on. Since some other tourists (not in our group) continued to pursue the mom and baby, they quickly became annoyed until the mom jumped out at the group and began to make noises at us. I took that as my cue to leave.

We then went a little bit further down the trail to see if the elephant was still there. It was! Standing very close to the safari welcome center, it was just chomping away on some bushes. While some other tourists told us that we should get closer to get good pictures, once the tour guides saw how close we were, they yelled at everyone for being too close. I wasn’t able to get any pictures. At that moment, the elephant raised its ears slightly and started walking a little closer to the welcome center. Our guide for the whole trip, who had been chased by an elephant before, became very nervous and started to walk away. Considering her experience, I thought that it would be best to follow.

After a couple hours, they decided that they would make an exception (I guess they don’t normally do any safaris after it rains) because we and the other foreigners wouldn’t be able to stay an extra day in order to go on the morning safari. Our group separated into two and we parted. The safari was very cool, but mostly very relaxing. Walking on trails throughout the park, we saw some animals, but mostly had the opportunity to enjoy the scenery. We crossed paths with warthogs, bush pigs (which kind of look like warthogs), antelope, another kind of deer-looking creature and different kinds of baboons. The highlight of the trip was the end where we saw a family of baboons and then three elephants crossing the street approximately 50 meters away (that’s supposedly how close it was recommended we be). After that we changed and went back to our rooms to prepare for a quiet dinner.

Day 4: Driving to Kumasi

We woke up the next morning for an early breakfast because we knew that we would have a long drive to get back to Kumasi. Although we were planning to take a different road, it would still be a long and difficult journey. The best part of our typical breakfast was the visit by our lovely baboon friend to our German friends. Having had something stolen during almost every meal, they were ready this time. Our German friends faced the monkey head on, standing in karate-like poses holding large 1.5 liter water bottles which they banged together. The monkey didn’t seem too scared, but for the first time it didn’t steal any of their stuff.

Throughout our journey back to a new hotel in Kumasi, we encountered a couple of interesting things. As we drove through one town there was what we believe was a graduation in progress. However, it looked like the best graduation ceremony I had ever seen in my life. The “graduates” were in the front of the line and then what seemed to be the rest of the city was following close behind them dancing and singing as they walked down throughout the area. Needless to say, they all seemed to be having a blast!

We also spent some time at the craft center where we were able to go into a few select shops that were open and also just walk around. In a pavilion, there apparently was a Nigerian wedding going on too. It looked very interesting and different from what any traditional wedding. There was a lot of shouting (joyous I believe) so we would have never guessed that it was a wedding when we first passed it.

What was probably the most interesting encounter we experienced was walking around the square and having a chance to talk to some of the people there. First, when we were sitting, a palm nut farmer came and sat down next to us wanting to share the word of God with us. Now, let me break just a minute to explain that Ghana is a very religious country. Particularly in the southern parts of Ghana, people are generally very Christian and faith is something that is commonly talked about. In fact, it is so commonly discussed that a large amount of little shops and businesses incorporate something about God in their title, such as “By God’s Grace Bakery”. So, it really isn’t that surprising that someone would come up to us and talk about faith. Anyway, after the girl that I was sitting with said that she wasn’t really interested in talking about faith, he asked us if we liked the food here. We told him that we did and that most of it we couldn’t get in the United States and tried it here for the first time. He seemed to really enjoy talking to us about that, especially since he grew food that we were eating here.

Later, while we were walking around, we met another small group of people. They were all well-dressed as if they had just gone to church and seemed to be relaxing in the square. We didn’t say much, but a lady holding a baby jokingly asked if we would take her child back with us to America. She was joking, but, as always, there seemed to be a slight bit of remorse that it wasn’t possible for us to do that. We refused joking that we just couldn’t however, its these experiences that really make me grateful for the fortunate lifestyle that I was born into.

Also, one of the girls in the group separated from us for about 15 minutes or so and got three phone numbers and a marriage proposal.

We spent the rest of the day driving until we arrived at the lovely Engineering Guest House where we spent a nice relaxing night. For dinner, I enjoyed fries with sweet and sour pork—-nothing like what you would have at a Chinese Restaurant (not very sweet or sour, just spicy) and the pork was very fatty and not of the caliber I am used to eating in Iowa. That night, I also enjoyed watching Spanish soap operas and CNN. And, this time, a hot shower.

Day 5: The Craft Villages

We left the Engineering Guest House early so that we could visit the market and the different craft villages. We left after a full breakfast to begin the drive to the craft villages. Before we left though, one of the girls in our group got a spider bite overnight and her knee swelled up so much that she wasn’t able to walk. Luckily we have our own resident medicine man, who knew what to do and how to monitor it.

Our first stop was the biggest market in West Africa located in Kumasi. Not really interested in buying anything, we just did our best to weave in and out of the crowd. Over a period of 15 minutes we maybe walked through about 1/8 of the market and that was enough stimulation for us. Although nothing too exciting happened to us, two of the people in our group went off to find a place where a guy could get a haircut. Once they found a place on the street where he could get a trim, the girl with him wandered just a little to see if she could find something to eat. As she began to walk off, the women street vendors called to her (not frantically, but certainly with concern) that she was leaving behind her husband. Laughing, she explained that they were just friends. To which, these women asked if they were boyfriend and girlfriend. Again, she said that they were just friends, but didn’t think that these women really believed them or understood how a relationship could work that way. Eventually though, one of the women told the guy that she had a wife for the guy, her sister, very pretty (she said).

From there, our next stop was the wood carver’s village. I was a little nervous that I was going to be swindled out of everything I bought, but I really wanted to get a mask, so I knew that this was a fear I needed to get over. As we approached the village, it was clear that they were waiting for us. When they saw a big white bus full of obronis, I’m guessing money signs appeared in their eyes. As we walked out of the bus, each one of us was approached by about 5 different people all trying to talk to us and pull us to their shops. Immediately I went with one person, keeping an eye on my fellow classmates. I briefly looked around at this gentleman’s shop and then moved on to the next shop (or I should say was persuaded and nearly dragged there). I felt more at ease there because some of my classmates were lingering there. Throughout the rest of the time there, I wandered between shops trying to find something that spoke to me. Because the whole idea just really stressed me out, I told myself that I would shop for the first half of our time and then spend the last half of our time actually shopping. While I was there, all of them kept telling me that they would give me a good price, student price, but I had to be incredibly careful not to show interest in anything. If I picked up anything that was an indication to them that I wanted to buy it. They very much had the attitude that anything I wanted, I would buy, they just had to find the right price. Sometimes I just had to say, that I wasn’t interested unless they wanted to give it to me for free. I was constantly guilted into going to new shops that finally I had to distinctly walk back to the bus followed by a line of Ghanaian men all saying, “Christiana!” (since they can’t pronounce my name) and asking me to just visit their store. I also can’t tell you how many times I was asked where I was from, to which I replied Chicago (just because no one in the US even knows where Iowa is, I didn’t expect Ghanaians to know) to which they often responded, oh I know someone in the Bronx (for example), do you know them? To which, I usually just said, “the US is a big country”.

We left the wood carving village to go to another village where they make fabrics and stamp them with Adinkra symbols. In the beginning, they gave us a demonstration about how they make the dye. First, they peel the bark of special trees that grow in the area. The bark regrows very quickly, so it is a great source of material and it doesn’t hurt the trees. Next, the bark is ground using a mortar and pistal of sorts (a big wooden one) to release the liquid from the bark. From there, the material is boiled to allow the dye to thicken (I believe). Then, they use the dye to stamp handwoven fabrics. There are probably around 100 different symbols all with their own distinct separate meanings.

For those of us who were interested, we could purchase a fabric and have it personally stamped with the symbols of our choosing—-we even had the opportunity to learn how to stamp them ourselves. The next part was a little tricky. In this village, a lot of the weaving, seemingly, is done by 11-13 year old boys and they all have their own looms. While I was waiting for mine to dry, one approached me and wanted to give me a gift. I figured this was some sort of scam so I said no thank you. He continued saying that I was like a mother to him (they respect their elders, so I’m going to say that he was trying to complement me) and he wanted to give me a gift from his heart. He then wrapped a woven fabric around my wrist. It was pretty, but I wasn’t convinced that this was a gift. I tried to refuse, but he kept asking why I didn’t want his gift. Although I replied that I didn’t think that it was a gift, he insisted that it was. Finally I just said thank you hoping that he would go away. Then he said, I gave you a gift from my heart, so if you want to give me a gift from your heart…I then started to take it off and say that it wasn’t a gift and he again said no that it was, so in the end I just gave him a cedi so that he would go away (about 75 cents, so whatever). I should also mention while this was going on, one of the other guys in our group was dealing with the same thing. To satisfy those who approached him, he gave the kid some coins which apparently wasn’t a good enough gift, because the kids ripped the cloth off of his wrist and ran away laughing. He thought it was pretty funny, too, so I guess no harm done.

From then on, I made a point of talking to others in my group, and trying to look occupied, so I wouldn’t be approached again, which worked for the most part. When I was approached, all I had to say to these children was that I already had a bracelet. A little while later, I was approached by my little buddy asked if I wanted to try to weave. I asked him again if it was going to cost money and to which he replied that he just wanted to show you how to do it. He demonstrated the motions-—you slide a wooden stick with the string connected to it through the loom, then you use your feet to secure the string by switching the top and bottom lines and then you use a comb and push it against the newly formed line to ensure that it is tight. I was surprised at how much coordination and talent it took to be able to weave as quickly as these boys did! One of my friends took a couple of pictures after encouragement from my little buddy and then we switched places and she tried to weave. I took a couple of pictures of her and that’s when it started yet again. The boy’s brother came up to me and said that for his brother’s kindness, I should give him a gift from my heart. I was kind of playing dumb and said that I already had. He seemed satisfied and left me alone. However, my little buddy came up to me soon after and said the same thing, that for his kindness, I should give him a gift from my heart. I explained to him that he said he just wanted to show me and that I already gave him something for his “gift”. I told him I would think about it. He seemed satisfied for the time being and left me alone. At this point, I was ready to go.

While waiting for everyone else to finish making their prints, I paid the guy that I bought the cloth from (who I should note, was helpful, accommodating and nice) and chatted with my classmates doing everything possible to avoid the locals. I was approached a couple of times, but I wasn’t going to put up with any more of the scams. After a while, our tour guide gathered up the half-dried cloths and began to load them onto the bus. I practically ran to the bus because I was so excited to leave. Once I got on, I placed my cloth in a place where it could dry, and then most of the village appeared at the bus windows. My little buddy wanted me to give him something and safely on the bus, I just said that I had nothing to give. Others continued to beg for anything, pens, food, whatever. Many of my classmates obliged and gave them pens or crackers. When one of the guys showed that he had a package of crackers, a whole group crowded around him and the guy he intended to give the crackers, ended up not getting them. When the guy complained and asked for more, my classmate simply said, “If you want them, go and get them”. This was the sentiment on the bus, pure exhaustion laced with annoyance. At this point, we debated on whether we should even go to the next place, the Kente weaving village. Knowing that it wouldn’t be any different than the last two, most of us were ready to just go home. Eventually, we decided that we just wanted to look and that we would only stay 10 minutes max.

When we arrived, it was exactly as we expected, they were waiting for us and swarmed the bus the minute that we drove up. Some people didn’t even leave because they had no money or no interest in putting up with the sales people. For the rest of us, we walked by people trying to sell us stuff and simply walked into the one shop. As I was walking into the shop, one girl approached a classmate of mine and simply said, “I like biscuits.” (a biscuit is a cookie, that’s just how the British say it) I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I laughed because she was just so little and so forward with her intentions. Finding it hard to admire their work, not because it wasn’t beautiful, just because we were so tired, I walked quickly around. Now, here they really wanted you to buy their stuff, instead of even asking for prices, we just said that we didn’t have any money and we just wanted to look. After seeing the varieties of beautiful cloth they had there, I decided to walk back to the bus.

Because so many people didn’t even get off of the bus, there were a dozen or more people trying to sell bracelets through the windows. “Sister, sister, don’t you like my bracelet?” they kept saying. “No, thank you,” I usually replied. Since we didn’t even open the window in the back, one of the guys tried to convince a male classmate of mine to sell his bracelets to the two of us girls in the back. He laughed, asked us if we wanted them. We, of course, said no and he told them that we weren’t interested. The guy persisted, but by this time it was just funny to us. One person was so insistent that one of the girls, that she said, “I’m going to pinch your nose off.” (Meaning that when she closed her window if he didn’t move, he was going to get hurt). Once everyone piled back onto the bus, we started chanting, “Go Martin, Go!” Martin our bus driver laid on the gas and peeled out of there. Exhausted, we were entertained by one circumstance that happened while most of us were in the shop. Apparently a little girl, maybe three years old came onto the bus and said, “Give me all of your money.” Shocked, most of the bus laughed and one girl asked where she had learned that.

Although it had been a fabulous journey, after such a long day…well, let’s just say, I never looked more forward to a 4 hour “off-roading” bus trip.

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