Bats in the Cave: Ghana, Day 4
I woke up excited about my impending FDP (faculty-directed practica, basically a required field trip), which was a trip to Shai Hills Game Reserve. Animals! I knew the reserve only help antelope and baboons, but I was excited about it anyway. I got to the bus and realized that although none of my friends were on the trip, I knew a couple of people well enough to sit and make small talk. They first drove us to Akosombo Dam, the dam that made Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in the world (fun fact: the second-largest is Lake Mead). We got a short tour of the dam facilities, but it was a million degrees in there and the equipment was so loud that even the people in the front row could not hear a word that was said. It was interesting to look at, but I learned precisely zero about the dam at that dam visit, which is unfortunate.
Suddenly it was time for lunch. The bus stopped at a resort which was situated on a river, where we ate a buffet lunch of many tasty foods (let’s not forget the fried plantains), with some French fries randomly thrown in (I was delighted at that). The food was delicious and the view was gorgeous, and I’m not sure if they were employees of the resort or just a local dance troupe, but we got a dance show as well. It was a very nice stopover,
well done Semester at Sea.
Later on, we made our way toward the game reserve. When we got there, we began a harrowing experience of off-roading on the red African dirt in our large tour bus. As we kicked up a cloud of dust, our guide pointed out a few antelope that we quickly scared away in our circus act of American tourists. The bus stopped and we all piled out, in a food-induced stupor and not looking forward to a hike in the Ghanaian heat. Our guide took us on more of a climb than a hike, which led to a cave-of-sorts. The cave was stifling and smelled strongly of bat poop, due to the large population of bats that squeaked from the cracks in the cave. It had been used in tribal rituals thousands of years ago, our guide explained. A breeze came through an opening in the cave and kicked up the dust and covered us in bat poop, so we decided that we had seen enough.
When our bus got back to the main gate of the reserve, we piled out once again and hiked the red road in search of a troop of baboons that frequent the area. They weren’t there, although we did see a random male sitting amongst the trees on the way back. Sweaty and covered in God-knows-what dust, we boarded the bus and headed back to the ship.
As soon as I got back into my cabin, I took a shower to rid myself of the grime that had accumulated on my skin. I then dressed and went to dinner with my friends. We met up with the rest of our group that had just returned from their village homestay, and planned to go out that night. I went back to my room and changed clothes, and we hopped on the shuttle to the front of the port, then got a taxi to Manila, a popular spot with SAS kids. A good thing about waiting a couple of nights to go out is that everyone else finds the good spots and then all you have to do is ask around. The bar, which was in Tema, was open-air, though it didn’t do much to stifle the Ghanaian heat and humidity. The DJ must have been asleep; he played 90s slow jams for about an hour before the dance-able music started. We danced our hearts out, completely negating the shower I had taken earlier. Our bodies slip and slid off one another as we were dancing, because we were all drenched with sweat. It’s lucky I like the people I was with, because that was potentially a gross situation.
After we had had our fill of sweaty arm-swinging, we took a cab back to the ship. I took another shower and proceeded to eat chocolate and watch Toy Story 3 for an hour or so before passing out. Another day in Ghana well-spent.