Two people I know got married yesterday in the Tarso Hotel here in Ho, Ghana. It is where I am presently living; therefore, there was no way avoid attend the wedding.
The Ghana Wedding Couple
Ho, Ghana West Africa --- Sunday, February 13, 2011
One of the wedding gifts, it was not clear; it appears all the gifts were given from the man to the women. The people who attended the wedding did not bring gifts, although there was a dollar dance, using mostly one, two, and five Cedi Ghana notes.
Peace Corp Ghana
A Peace Corps Volunteer man came down from some city he said is the highest in Ghana to visit Ho, and walk around. He by chance ended up watching the Wedding in the Tarso, Hotel. I teased him,
"Marmot Backpack, the worlds most expensive Backpack."
We talked; he was raised in Elkhart, Indiana, which is about 50-60 miles from my home in Orland, Indiana or close to Angola.
I put a Google Map here, I am mostly playing, and I want to see how well it gets through all the MailChimp.com newsletter sending service API and if it shows up centered showing both Elkhart and Orland on the same Map. I zoom in or out, and the embed code does not follow correctly or maybe it does?
I found, if I ask for directions, then the two cities were included better.
Randal was a good person, timid, said he lost 75 pounds here in Ghana in the six months he has been here. I tell you, West Africa is a great way to lose weight. Although he said the Peace Corps administration told them, the women would gain weight and the men would lose. I thought about it, the men I meet here in Peace Corps are thin, and the girls are pleasingly plump, and just not so pleasing.
Peace Corps Statistics
He told me that 50 percent of Peace Corps volunteers were over 50, I think this are way off base. I asked him about his present group of about 150, he said there was maybe five, I am trying to recall his words, and for sure he is not the speaking for Peace Corps, so do not take this as being perfectly accurate. I just know, of the Peace Corps I see worldwide, the majority of them are less than 27 in age, although if you included the administration than I am sure 50 percent are over 50, or close.
Generally, of the boys and girls they feed to the Lions here in West Africa, the ones the place in small village are young. the older ones, the administration or management, driving around in the 4-wheel drive Toyotas… (Why not buy American, I am sure we pay too much anyway?) are older.
I think Africa will be a good thing for Randall, it will help build confidence, and toughen him up, and he is right, Africa does seem to fatten up the American girls here. Hmm, interesting idea, a Father could encourage his son or daughter to join Peace Corps to Be a Man. I do not want women to be men, I want them to have fortitude and know who they are. I think of a few ways to do this, send to boot camp, two-a-day football, work construction, maybe high steel or concrete, work on the farm, and keep the boy out of working at Taco Bell or McDonalds.
Then, it would be hard for me to say, do not work as a nerd at Best Buy on the Geek Squad or at Barnes and Noble bookstore. I have to admit, the idea of having children seems scary, there is too many crazies being accepted as normal in today’s world.
There is balance needed, too much of anything and a person fall off the edge, loses their emotional footing and end up never understanding the plot of life.
Note, anyway I do, working on the Internet and writing is wimp work, but traveling to Africa is not for boys, this is the balance.
Google Alerts Bet
Peace Corps volunteers are using Google Alerts to find new posts; they spend a lot of time playing and normally find pages with the world Peace Corps in them. google.com/alerts
Google alerts is a great way to monitor subject, for example, I have the alert,
"hobotraveler.com," whenever a person writes about my site, I get a notification, it is not perfect, but semi-ok.
Cost of USB Wireless Modem in West Africa
I am paying roughly one dollar for 50 Megs of transfer, as best I can guestimate, the cost in Guatemala and Honduras as about one dollar per 125 Megs. This means a video cost me about 50 cents USA to upload, a Blog post is about 10 cents, and talking on Skype for one minute is about one cent, with video about two cents per minute.
Use a Cell Phone to Load a USB Wireless Modem SIM
I have used a USB wireless modem now in a few countries; you should never leave the office without knowing exactly how to load on more time. Yes, these will work in the bush, however can you load in them in the bush with more credit?
The way that seems to work the best, is to take the SIM out of the Wireless Modem, and put it into a local cell phone, load up the time, and then put back in the USB Modem. This means you must be carrying a small-unlocked phone with you or you are out of luck, that USA phone is going to be heartache, or like having a second mortgage payment.
Using a USA Cell Phone Abroad
If you have a cell phone, and you use it all the time in the USA, it appears you need to remove the SIM card out the USA phone prior to traveling around the world. If you do not, the phone calls could automatically follow you, and just the calls going to voicemail could bankrupt you.
I am carrying extra load time card in my pocket, if the phone runs out of time, I want to just load on more time. The downtime of finding another card could cause business problems with a prepaid card. With the card in my pocket, I know I always have time, I do not have to check the balance, and I know I have some balance if needed.
Ghana Wedding Video
Weddings, I suspect readers can relate, food, weather, telephone, this for sure is something all readers do, not off the mental map of understanding. I will be monitoring this video on YouTube.com to see how many people view.
Videos of Hand Made Bricks being made by Three Ghana Boys
Ghana Wedding in Tarso Hotel in City of Ho of Volta Region
Enjoyed seeing the map of Indiana of both hometowns being so close to I80 just like my hometown, Des Moines at the crossroads of I80 east / west and I35 north/south. Somehow I think the interstate's closeness helped motivate me to just stick out my thumb and see where I might end up.
Weddings like funerals,the 100 Day Death ritual in S.E. Asia, christenings / baptisms, circumcision, 12/13 year old jewish bar mitzvahs, lutheran confirmations and 18 year old female "coming out" events are all part of cultural obligations attended by people regardless of how much faith each individual may have in the particular religion. My wife and I weren't sold on the idea of marriage nor it's opposite, divorce but accepted the cultural facts of life that being respected by the family, community and various bureaucratic officials and seeking to succeed in business and prosper required us to follow through with a significant wedding event so we got married in Santa Isabel in Manila's historical district, Intramuros with over 100 people who attended and attended the dinner / reception, hired a limo, photo / videographer service, custom made the weeding dress and all the bridesmaids' dresses, arranged for a fairly well known cultural / opera singer to perform and completed the whole "bling bling" wedding. Since the some of the richest and most famous Filipinos throughout history also chose Santa Isabel as their wedding location we joined the ranks or resulting status recognized by such a wedding.
Great to hear somebody else dropped over 12lbs / month which I plan to do in the upcoming months. India seems to be the same regarding women gaining weight and men losing weight.
I can think of no certain reason, this is intriguing. Randall said it was because of the difficulty of finding protein to eat. The local men are skinny and the women are fat, I often ask the women,
"How old are you?"
I want to know if they are 25, it appears after age 25 the women grown very large.
Fat is an insulation to the body, maybe woman need it for some protection?
I eat almost no processed food, the only processed food is the Ginger cookies. Ghana has a lot of ginger here in this country.
Got my monthly LP newsletter today, I myself have only been to Thailand once, enjoyed it, know Andy travels to Thailand frequently, and if I was planning to travel there again to Thailand would contact Andy and an ex pat I know on line there, what has happened to LP? The following is touted as a "Rare Budget Choice" from $93 USD URL: http://hotels.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/ko-samui-r2100578/chaweng-garden-beach-resort-p1033380/?affil=lpemail
Seems to me LP has been 'gentrified' since the BBC took them over, several months ago I was abruptly taken off their 'Thorn Tree Forum' for being critical on a post and adding url s directing travelers to low budget hostals and unique lodging places in my region. Anyway abruptly received an e mail I was no longer a member of the Forum. I had forgotten about it until today. No big deal.
Many of my 'generation' of Guatemala ex pats 1980s and early 1990s were ex Peace Corps who decided to stay on, most US, UK, Australian and Canadian ex pats (those who based in ex pat bars especially) had to struggle with Spanish, the ex Peace corps, who were immersed in the language at their posts for two years spoke advanced to fluent Spanish and got along well. Half of our 'ex pat' community were 'Snowbirds' anyhow, those who came from November through March to mainly drink and philander, don't miss em, recently met one on line who is now abstinent for many years and doing very well, we e mail back and forth once in a while. What I do miss from those pre Internet days was the 'oral tradition', backpackers told stories of their travels, it was war time in areas of Guatemala and Nicaragua and most of El Salvador, roads were full of potholes and police and military checkpoints abounded in some areas, everyone knew everyone lse in Antigua, Panajachel and Xela, Rio Dulce, and except for El Salvador (I don't know about Nica, we just did'nt go there overland until 1990) Peace Corps were everywhere except in areas the US Embassy deemed as unsafe. I frequently meet them on Bus '30B' in San Salvador, the bus that stops near the Peace Corps offices in an upscale area of San Salvador, all tell me after a year or so they lost their idealism, just waiting for their bonus and the government to pay a large part of their student loan, many wind up as career State Dept. employees, with all those perks. They all of course have laptops and cell phones so can communicate with each other on line all week. I always thank them for their volunteer service, why not?
Got a 'kick' out of this http://inside-digital.blog.lonelyplanet.com/2011/01/18/when-can-you-say-youve-been-somewhere/?affil=lpemail
A little too 'politically correct' for me, I will stick with The Hobo Traveler, which I now read every day, makes me think, laugh, gets me rattled once in a while, life in the tropics.
I would guess that only about 1 in 50 people care that Lonely Planet has moved to the Flashpacker price range, they are middle tourist now, not low budget.
It has taken me 13 years of travel to accept that travel is not about finding a good deal, and that it is a vacation. Maybe one in 500 people travel the world, the other 499 go on vacation.
A make money only Travel Business recognizes this, and Lonely Planet has decided to promote the romantic version "Lonely Planet," then sell to the 499 who are going on vacation. People going on vacation want to live one to two weeks in luxury, and forget they are poor the rest of the year.
I think you could ask the question of Backpackers?
"IIf you had a million dolllars, would you stay in backpacker hotels?"
I think only 1 in 500 would do so, I enjoy the down to earth and Mom and Pop hotels, they are family, I do not want to live in Corporate hotels.
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