“Then one day, when you least expect it, the great adventure finds you.”

Today is a drab day filled with clouds, maybe practice for tomorrow’s rain. It is warm at 52°. The dogs have been out most of the morning. They wander the yard. They run and chase each other. They come back inside panting.

This is a busy day for me, but I have it all planned in my head. First thing was my shower, check. Next, I have to buy some dog food and Jack’s favorite treats. I also need to hit the ATM. I have a late PT appointment after which I have to hurry home to get ready for my uke holiday dinner tonight in Hyannis. Between one and the other is 45 minutes. It will be a scramble.

On one of my school vacations in Africa, I traveled through Burkina Faso, then Upper Volta, to Niger. We rode over the Kennedy Bridge to cross the Niger River into Niamey. The bridge had just been opened. I remember that trip for several reasons. The first was my friends and I became separated at the border after our transportation from Upper Volta had died. We got separate rides into the city. I couldn’t find them so I found a hotel of sorts and rented a room. The hotel was a brothel. I didn’t sleep all night because of the noise of men talking and tromping up and down the halls and occasionally knocking on my door. At first light, I fled. When I was wandering, two small boys asked me if I wanted Peace Corps. That wasn’t surprising. It was the same in Ghana. Young white people were mostly Peace Corps. They led me to the hostel where my friends were staying. I was thrilled to find them again.

The next event was my never to be forgotten camel ride into the desert. The camel took off. I held on to the one strap for dear life. I nearly fell off, but the beast stopped just before I did. It was scary and exciting all in one. I stayed on the camel to finish my ride.

The biggest event was I caught cholera, but I had already had two shots which helped mitigate the symptoms though not enough. I still needed to camp out in the bathroom. The Peace Corps doctor came to visit and gave me medicine and a shot. Within a couple of days I could travel again so we booked a flight to Ougadougou.

After we landed, passport control didn’t want to let me into the country. I had no visa. I never got a visa to Upper Volta though I went quite a few times to Ouga. The border police just beyond Ghana used to let me in and would write in my passport I was staying just for the weekend. My friend who spoke French convinced them to let me in. It was so late at night we each grabbed a bench and fell asleep at the airport. When we woke up, the cleaning men were standing and holding their brooms. They hadn’t cleaned. They didn’t wanted to disturb us.

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2 Comments on ““Then one day, when you least expect it, the great adventure finds you.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today has been mostly cloudy with a springtime high of only 76°.

    I didn’t realize that you could rent a room in a brothel by the night. I suspected that rooms rent by the half hour. 🙂

    I would love to have ridden a camel when I was young. Today I would pass up the ride, but might enjoy a drink of camel milk. In Dubai, the closest place I have ever been to camels, races them with monkeys strapped to their backs. I don’t know if the monkey is trained to guide the camel or just hang on for dear life like you did. 🙂

    I never had nor want Cholera. My biggest traveling near miss was when my passport fell out of my pocket. I was in Kong Kong buying a ticket on the AirPort Express train to come home. Luckily, a couple of German tourists waiting in line saw the passport fall and alerted me to retrieve the document. Imagine what a mess that would have been at the airport if I had lost my passport.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      When I was at dinner, it had started to rain, but by the time I was driving home, it was barely sprinkling.

      I have no idea what the rest of the rooms cost. This was the sort of place where the women were in the rooms all night, and their visitors were there for a while.

      I was fine riding the camel until it took off on me. For the rest of the ride I was quite cautious. I think there are places which cater to tourists where you can ride a camel without a problem. The ones I rode belonged to Touregs

      Cholera comes in an outbreak. It is not around all the time. Ghana got hit with it but not as badly as other African countries. I had no lasting effects except I lost a lot of weight in a few days.

      I held on to my passport for deal life when I traveled.

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