Thursday, September 2, 2010

One ticket to paradise

On Friday I got my ticket to Ghana booked on the United routing.  This is where I'm probably supposed to announce some sort of countdown timer for the big day, but I don't think I'll need a timer to realize how quickly October 4th will come.  After a short hop from RDU to Dulles, I take the overnight flight into Accra.  One of my fellow GSK Pulse program volunteers will be landing in Accra on October 5th as well.  We'll be staying at the same hotel and flying together from Accra to Kumasi on the 6th.

To get from Accra to Kumasi, Ghana has two in-country airlines, CiTylinK (their capitalization, not mine) and Antrak (not Amtrak).  While both the websites allow online bookings, I get the impression that locals don't use this option.  Abenaa will be booking the flights for us and we'll pay cash when we show up.  I'm not sure which airline we'll be flying, but I'm sure I'll know that before I get there.

Update on my visa: Ghana must export their most efficient government employees to work in their US embassy.  On Friday, I Fedex'ed my visa application and passport to the Ghana embassy in DC with the extra money for the "expedited" service that is supposed to take 72 hours.  My passport was on the Fedex truck at 4:22 pm yesterday, only 2 working days from when they got the application.  I was very pleasantly surprised by the turnaround.

My Ghana visa is somewhat different from the visa I had for my time in Australia as a "visiting scientist" during graduate school.  For anyone who has not seen a visa before, Wikipedia, the fountain of all knowledge, shows a few examples of visas.  My Australian visa looked much like the Canadian visa on that link: a sticker pasted into my passport that has obviously been computer printed with the necessary information.  The Ghanaian visa is still a sticker, but the information on it has been filled out by hand.  (They also stapled my receipt for the payment into my passport!)  I was granted a "B2" visa, which sounds like the business visa I needed, but I can't figure out when it expires.  The information on the Ghana website is a bit unclear about the whole process, especially as it applies to a business visa, but my general background reading indicates that I may have to apply for visa extensions once I'm there.
Non-sequitur:  I just couldn't resist linking to this article I found on ghanaweb about the recently published Canadian study on cannabis.  The picture is priceless.

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