Well hello 2012, Year of the Dragon

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

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Where I stayed
Block C
What I did
Work and Party

Flag of Ghana  , Eastern,
Sunday, January 1, 2012

Very quiet work week between Christmas and NYE as expected, which was great to catch up on stuff and go driving around site without having to share the road with haul trucks, water carts and road blocks. Just me and the goats. But a couple of expats got back in following Christmas and I had several staff working.

So, in true site fashion, New Years Eve Eve became a bigger night than the actual NYE. As much as I tried to fight the trend, I got caught up and stuck around at the site bar for several hours too long and then felt a bit under the weather Saturday (NYE) morning. Most of the others worked Saturday morning and took the arvo off, I'm the opposite. Sleep in, then worked in arvo. Actually was quite productive. Then joined a few others for a walk through the mining area forest late arvo – a picturesque spot to clear the head and sweat out the remnants of a hangover.

NYE started off at the wet mess. I am developing a reputation for being a bit of a music critic when one of the guys brings his iPod down and hooks it up to speakers and plays his pre 1990 music which of course is inconsistent with my commercial radio friendly taste. So far, the only songs I have identified are Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. I even got into a debate/argument about the musical value/contribution of James Brown...partly because I was bored to tears just sitting around in a circle staring at each other whilst I played Angry Birds on my new phone (getting quite addicted) and downloading various other apps. Everyone was tired and had exhausted conversation topics from the big night before. Finally at about 930pm, a few of the construction contractor crew arrived to bring some spark (i.e. White Russians) and party vibe. The gears of the night shifted and before long the young/fun people were heading into town to check out how the Ghanaians bring in a new year.

The answer is that Ghanaians seem to avoid the parties and instead go to...............church. For hours on end. A beautiful concept, but one that was surprising and left the drinking spots deserted. This left me somewhat grumpy and altogether in disbelief that this was how I would see in 2012. I expected a raging bonfire at the bus station (as we were told, but clearly fooled...I mean seriously – a bonfire at a bus station...in the middle of the dry season... I can’t believe we all fell for that). Finally, sense came over the group and we hitched a ride to the old-faithful: the beige. Arriving at 11:58 pm, I ran up the stairs to the pool area to find it too was largely vacant. But there was no time to sulk because it was time to countdown as we stood in a circle and watched my hot new Galaxy 2 phone tick from 11:59 to 00:00. Then cracked a bottle of champagne and generally celebrated – yes, I swigged a few times from a shared bottle...I’m still not at peace with that decision. Then out of nowhere came fireworks. Tubes that shot little rockets 20 metres into the air and splintered off into star-shaped fireworks. AWESOME. I was happy again. Had a bit of a dance in the club (a total of 8 people were inside), paid for the most expensive drink I’ve ever had in Ghana (15 cedi’s, about $10) and then back to camp for a final drink with the remaining guys. Good night after all!!

Best thing was that I woke up hangover free. NYD was a leisurely lunch out at Purple Rocks by the pool and then relaxing back at camp. By this stage I was well and truly over the festive occasions and looking for some rest. No Perth Cup for me – first time in 4 or so years. Instead I watched 'Horrible Bosses’ and laughed my butt off for most of that!

So closing out on 2011 for me is like closing a very thick book and being majorly satisfied that you’ve been able to read all of that! I certainly crammed in a lot. Not only visiting 5 continents in 7 months and all the amazing memorable places that that entailed, but moving on from my Boddington home after 5 years and starting a new job. That alone was significant for me. I loved my little home and life down there. But I don’t look back...not too much anyway :-)

And now it is 2012. The Year of the Dragon - signifying success and happiness. A year I turn the big 3-0. A year that, inshalla (God-willing in Arabic), continues my international lifestyle and employment. A funny moment today when I had an Irish man and an American woman in my office and they were debriefing on travelling Morocco. An otherwise insignificant moment, but the first time it has truly dawned on me that I am working this international life with many different cultures and how I don’t appreciate it enough or even recognise it despite living it. So that is part of my 2012 resolution – get more into the cultural side of things rather than always focusing on the natural wonders and historical aspects of travel/life.

Interesting Ghana Observations: "are u sure" is a very common phrase that I now like to say with a questioning face; guys randomly urinate everywhere; returning from break I had about 15 “Your welcomes” to welcome me back and a bunch of people greeting me who I have no idea who they are; upon returning I have learned of at least 5 people that have either quit or been forced to leave because of work permit/visa issues and declines! – bit sad; the young graduate in my team told me today that he spent NYE at home and fell asleep before midnight when he started praying at 1130 to offer thanks to God for his good life & protection in 2011...how humbling is that!
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