Hiding Out with Green Turtles?

Oh, what I meant to say is that this post is about two separate trips to Butre and Busua beach (Ghana’s very, very finest of beaches), staying one weekend at Hideout Lodge and the next at the Green Turtle Lodge. Right. A wonderful mess of photographs, journal tidbits, and retelling of moments follows. Nothing’s really in order, but then again, days and nights on breathtaking beaches celebrating the end of classes with good friends isn’t supposed to have much order to it, is it?

breakfast in paradise.

A Night in Butre

Night owns the beach. There is a joyful dog under my chair, Catchphrase and playing cards on the table next to Mags’ propped sandy feet, the ocean is about four skips away and I just had a very pleasant conversation in German with a Ghanaian named Gali. Du bist glücklich, he just said. You are lucky.

lucky, indeed.

Earlier: Lying on the beach with my friends, I’m reminiscing about this this exact moment three years ago – but I’m in Rhodos (Rhodes), Greece, on my senior class trip. On nights like this, there is some magical combination of sand, camaraderie, and stars that settles somewhere deep inside me and asks if it can stay forever. Tristan is teaching me about power plants and explaining how solar panels work. I love learning about things I know almost nothing about, and I love watching people explode with information and passion about a subject that burns at them from the inside. In a conversation behind me, Maggie is talking about how this summer is going to be such a good one for all of us, because we’re in our twenties, because we’re coming off this incredible adventure. With my elbow tucked underneath my head, I lay quietly on the sand wondering if the next five years of my life will be as good as the last five. And I recall lying on the sand in Rhodos surrounded by friends who, like me at the time, would be starting university in just two months. When I tried to imagine what college would be like then, I never imagined Ghana. Three years later, I smile up at the stars and fall asleep under the moon.

***

I celebrated Easter by attempting to surf for the first time. I came away from the experience having determined the following: it is not exactly like snowboarding, it is the most fun thing I’ve ever done in the water (besides diving), the scrapes and bruises on your legs are worth it and, finally, I am going to get so good at it it’s not even funny (just give me five years).

yes, i am falling.

Rachel and I had our hearts set on having surf lessons this weekend, but, for various reasons, we ended up renting beginning boards by the hour and attempting to teach ourselves. After about twenty minutes in the water, though, a few ten-year-old Busua natives – who had quickly spotted us as neophytes – paddled over to teach us. They showed us how to time the waves and how to properly hoist ourselves up on the board. Rach and I were wiped after that first hour, and while it wasn’t anything close to a huge success, attempting to surf was so fun and I easily saw how it’s something I can learn to really enjoy.

***

We played today. I was the five-year-old who wanted to be buried in the sand; the boys turned out to be quite the artists, and I was transformed into a beautiful mermaid with ornate scales and the broadest shoulders imaginable. Why is it that the best part of being buried in the sand is breaking free and sprinting to the ocean?

We also took a canoe ride and hiked. All scenes were straight out of a movie. Including the homemade pancakes that followed, which we ate in a real-life secret garden in the company of a delightful Rastafarian who promised us the “special pancakes” he was making us didn’t have that “special” thing added to them. The honey was to die for, though.

Later that day, a few of us swam out pretty far to a deserted fishing boat. We hoisted ourselves on board, caught our breath, and took turns diving and flipping off the side of the boat. The hoisting was much harder than the diving. I wonder at what age such fun is no longer “allowed.” I hate that word, “allowed”, and my family will tell you I always have. Besides, someone wise once told me to always act my shoe size, and not my age. Which clearly means I should make sure I walk barefoot on an African beach daily with some of my closest friends, convincing them to all squat down so I can, for once, be the tallest one in a group photo.

***

A Night in Busua

I just picked up my book and sand poured out of it. There are sunglasses and beers and a few neglected penne noodles from a dinner of I’ve-missed-you-so-much Italian pasta all over the table. A Ghanaian sitting nearby just spilled half his glass of wine all over his pants, and he and his buddies laugh it off immediately. Peter might be starting World War Three in his intense conversation about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with Dave, a dude from Dublin who has at least ten piercings and a mohawk, and I’m discussing education systems with a cute 19-year-old from Manchester who is spending his gap year in Ghana. Meanwhile, Will, the owner of the Black Stars Surf Shop (where we have been lounging around and eating at all day), is flipping through Peter’s journal, commenting on the pasted foreign bills and diagrams of male/female brains inside. What a conglomerate we make up tonight, strangers brought together by waves and wanderlust. We sit wondering about each other, asking questions to figure out how one another got here and where we’re going next. We swap stories, we make plans for going out that night. I will never tire of hearing the ocean crash into itself, so consistently, so rhythmically. I don’t think I ever want to grow up; instead, I’ll find a way to spend my whole life spending semesters abroad.

A day in beautiful Busua – in images.

our room 🙂

the incredible outdoor shower that i cannot wait to have outside my house one day.

occupied..

on a walk.

creating.

real coffee. real beach. real life.

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