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Visit to the port in Tema and journey home

Wednesday was my last day in Ghana!

My flight wasn’t until the evening, but wanted to stay near Accra just in case there were transportation or other problems which may prevent me getting to the airport on time. Beth Lynn and Nancy got up bright and early to meet up with professor Ayorkor Korsah at Ashesi University College, Nancy writes about it here: Adventure is winding down

I went with Daniel, Dave and Kwaku to the port of Tema to get the computers unloaded from the shipping container.

On my way I was treated to an unexpected treat, we drove through the town of Teshie! I read about it before coming to Ghana, they are the home of world-famous coffins. The coffins are famous because they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes based on the profession and loves of the occupant, ones I saw included fish, planes, birds, bugs and an elephant.

Elephant and other coffins, another shop photo here

As we approached the port, we passed an area where a great deal of fishing is done. Fishing and sales are done early in the morning, so at 11AM when we passed by they were wrapping up their day, boats pulled up on the beach and their owners selling the last of their ship by the side of the road.

Fishing canoes

You can also see in the above photo a lot of ships in the distance, they are lined up for unloading in the port of Tema, our destination!

There are shipping containers lined up for miles around the port, photos aren’t allowed in the port itself, but I snapped a few on our approach.

We met with the shipper and were finally able to see and open the container with the computers in it! I stuck around for about 3 hours of the process so I was actually able to see the container be opened and have the unloading begin. The estimate for unloading was 3 hours, then there was hiring of the truck to take out the computers and the rest of the items in the shipment and bring them to our warehouse. It was around 2PM at this time so I decided to head back to the hotel with Kwaku so Nancy and I could do a bit more training with him and Eric.

I arrived to a tuna fish sandwich, juice and a cookie (thanks Beth Lynn and Nancy!) and we were quickly able to get to training and I spent some time finishing packing. My suitcase ended up being on the heavy side, but I wasn’t sure how heavy so I loaded up some things in my carry-on and ended up wearing my heavy boots. We left the hotel around 6PM, putting us at the airport around 6:40 so I was able to check in, clear immigration, customs and security by a little after 7. They gave me a lounge pass so I was able to relax for a bit in the surprisingly posh Akwaaba Lounge until they called us for the flight.

The journey home was the longest one I’ve ever done, leaving Accra on Wednesday at 21:05 UTC and not getting in to San Francisco until 23:10 UTC – that’s over 26 hours! Add in the 4 hours of taxi and check-in on the Accra side and BART ride home we’re at 30 hours. Part of this is due to the 3 hour layovers in Frankfurt and Zurich, and the fact that I did stop twice in Europe rather than being able to find a cheap one stop flight. The layovers were nice though, the Lufthansa Senator Lounge in Frankfurt gave me the opportunity to take a hot shower in their spiffy new facilities as well as have a quiet breakfast of fruit and yogurt. The staff at the Panorama Lounge in Zurich was helpful and even offered to reprint my boarding pass so it would scan properly (the printing job in Accra wasn’t great). The long route also gave me the chance to give Swiss Airlines a try – very nice!

Last night before crashing to bed at 8PM, I uploaded a ton (over 400) of photos from my trip:


The trip was quite an adventure but I’m glad to be home. Today I’m spending the day doing laundry, catching up on a bunch of things online and packing for my trip to Copenhagen tomorrow for the Ubuntu Developer Summit. I’ve enjoyed much kitty snuggle time and MJ comes home from a conference tonight so I’ll have a few precious hours to spend with him too.