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Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Feb 20, 2014

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Where I stayed
MJ Grand Hotel
What I did
Arrived for work

Flag of Ghana  ,
Sunday, May 8, 2011

Departed Perth at the usual time of 1030 pm following a nice family dinner and minor panic over how much luggage I had (too much it seems). Because of the filling dinner, I passed on all meals on the first leg to Dubai and slept/dozed all 11 hrs. I did originally say to the stewardess to wake me for breakfast, which she did, but I then said no and back to sleep. She said "are you sure Sir" – I replied with my most polite morning face “yes”. Good service on Emirates tho; I rate it very highly and the fold back seats with mattress make a huge difference. Couple hrs stop over in Dubai, which was ok except flight to Accra was delayed half hr and then we sat on the plane for another hr while they fixed a 'minor' air conditioning fault. The thing is, when travelling business class, I don’t seem to mind these onboard delays because of the comforts and champagne (the other bonus is u get thru immigration/customs first). The jet-lag prevention trick is to stay awake on the second flight to Accra, 8.5 hrs (plus the 1 hr delay) means that this can get a bit boring (I even watched the Justin Bieber ‘movie’ – not as bad as I imagined and an interesting story). Half empty flight tho meant I could spread out and get quick food service.

Getting off that flight I was anxious about all my bags (2 carry on; 3 checked in) and how I would carry this without a porter. I think I took a trolley without paying – oops. But my bags came off the carousel early and all 3 arrived, yay. I loaded up and did get called over by customs. There is a strange instinct I have with customs and immigration – my heart starts to race and I sweat and stutter as if I’m carrying a kg of cocaine. I think it has to do with my first overseas flight to Mauritius/ Johannesburg where the customs/immigration staff were evil to me. But this time was a breeze, she checked 1 bag v quickly and then I was free to go. It was all going fine until I was following the driver to the car outside and then my trolley hit a bump and 4 bags cascaded down the verge and onto the road. Not a cool moment, but luckily people helped me carry them to the car (again, this is a moment I stress about from my first time to Johannesburg when someone took my bag off me to ‘help’ me take it to the shuttle-bus and then demanded payment...argh, still makes me angry).

Newmont guesthouse was fully booked so I was checked into the brand spanking new MJ Grand Hotel just up the road. It is v good. Nice pool, restaurant, secure, clean.

Had Friday in Accra Newmont Offices to meet with HR and fill in a mountain of paperwork. Then meet with some of the Regional Enviro team. Got the bus to Akyem site on the Saturday morning. I was the only one so lots of room for my baggage. Even tho it is a 4 hr drive, it doesn’t seem as long now that I’ve done it a few times. Even the flights felt quicker. Arriving at site and getting to my accommodation was a mission and not worth writing about. I’m staying down in the housing compound again; sharing with 2 others but have own ensuite. I originally wanted to be here, but after last time and this trip, it is such a hassle to get back and forth to the main offices and camp. It is a bit better tho this time as they have put on a Newmont driver who is on call to drive between Jolithas (the housing compound) and 1 km up the road to the main camp/office site. See, Sundays are my day off, yet I still have to go up to site for meals – pain in the butt. And walking is revolting in the humidity, plus I don’t care much for contracting malaria or getting hit by an erratic taxi if walking at dusk.

Caught up with the other expats over a few drinks Saturday night at the wet mess (Piet’s Palace). All those guys are up at main site tho. Golf seems to be the thing to do; so I just might have to learn to play...
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