And Home

September 6th, 2010 , 20:05

Went out for a very nice meal last night. Joe got a recommendation of a place in Amsterdam, Castell, so we went to try it out. Very good steaks and we had a good time.

Up early this morning, breakfast and last few things into the bags before checking out and walking to Zuid Amsterdam where we got the train to Schipol Airport. Had to find Joe’s train and see if I could get an earlier flight, had luck with the train but not the flight. I went down to see Joe off, then went upstairs and waited. And waited. And waited. Got most of the way through my book. And now I remember why I hate flying into Heathrow – it took longer to actually land and get to the gate than it did to fly between Amsterdam and London! And then it took two hours to get home, but at least the tube was running.

Got home, started the laundry, discovered my computer is dead, and have stacks of stuff to sort. Work and tube strike tomorrow. Maybe I should have taken another day off!

Frog Blog

Wedding

September 5th, 2010 , 13:51

Took it easy on Friday, slept and read and not much else. Saturday up just in time for breakfast at the hotel. Then off shopping. Got a couple of new tops and a new shirt for Joe. Actually sort of liked Amsterdam shopping! And I hate shopping! Go into a shop and there isn’t loud blasting music so you could actually hear yourself think. Staff were very helpful and very nice (and no music so you could actually hear them). If you said you were looking they’d say ‘great let me know if you need anything’ and then would¬† leave you along. Unless you needed something then they were right there and very helpful. And did I mention there was no music playing so you could hear? So it was rather painless to get two tops and a top for Joe.

Then lunch in a tex mex place – tex mex in Amsterdam. It was good.

And off to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. It was held at De Hortus so we got there early enough to walk around the gardens and greenhouse (but not the butterfly house). The ceremony was short, the food was good, the company was very nice, and the party went on to the early hours but we wimped out around midnight!

So up quite late today, but by the time we got downstairs the brunch was in full swing and we just joined in. Then a walk to Amsterdam Zuid station to check train times and get tickets for tomorrow, tram into Central, and a walk up to Debalie where I’m on line.

Have to leave tomorrow.

Frog Blog

Cape Coast to Amsterdam

September 3rd, 2010 , 12:26

As we were at the bus getting ready to head out to Accra and the airport, one of the delegates strolled up and said his flight left at 1745!¬† So it was a mad drive to the airport and we just got there in time. Check in was chaotic and I was given a sheet of paper saying how important it was I was at the gate by 6pm. So off I scooted to make sure I was there and sure enough, arrived at 5 minutes past only to find security sitting around chatting and telling everyone that it was closed ‘come later’. Typical. Half an hour later I asked ‘when will it be opened, because we were told if we don’t go through by 7 we won’t make the flight!” then they let us through. Weird system.

Turns out could have gone in later as they didn’t even start boarding until 8 – after 4 days in Ghana I should have been used to it. Full flight and not much time to sleep so arrived feeling like I’d pulled an all nighter, which was pretty accurate.

First thing we did was stop at the cafe and get a decent coffee, then the train back to the hotel. Settled in (took a nap!) while Joe went off to his meetings. Then off to the boat trip. The couple had hired a boat to take us around the canals in the evening – nibbles and drinks and good company. Quite fun.

I’ve noticed an odd thing though – there is more smoking here than there was in Ghana! I’d got quite used to not breathing in cigarette smoke so it’s quite odd to smell it all over the place again! Apparently you can’t smoke in public buildings in Ghana but there are no signs anywhere. People just don’t smoke.

Travelling is catching up with me today, so it may be a quiet day reading and resting.

Frog Blog

More meetings in Ghana

September 1st, 2010 , 12:49

The conference happened and everything seemed to go well, even if it did run late. We had some excursions – one to Cape Coast Castle which was a little depressing but very interesting. We got a guided tour of the castle (more of a fort than a castle) with the slave dungeons and governor’s flat. But not a lot of time there before having to head back for a reception at the Vice Chancellor’s house. We also went out to Kakum Canopy walk which was very nifty. You start on a ridge and the rope bridges take you out over the valley so you end up quite high up. There were bird watchers on the furthermost platform watching what they said was a harrier eagle; I got a quick glimpse of it flying off (typical!) but then had to rejoin my group. We pretty much turned up and did the canopy walk then back to the campus so we could get ready to go out for the conference dinner.

Dinner was at Coconut Beach which was very nice. We had traditional music and a band from the university (will have to update when I get the proper spellings for the names! Quite a famous Ghanaian musician was there). Had a lovely time though the sound system wasn’t very good. We kept wishing they’d turn off the speakers (loads of feedback) and just let the band play!

All checked in for the flight (checked in on line) but not leaving Cape Coast until later this afternoon. Ready to go now as there isn’t anything happening. We’re in the office using the internet connection. Off to join Joe in Amsterdam where hopefully be able to blog more reliably! But definitely must come back to Ghana – if only to really see that harrier eagle!

Frog Blog