I have always believed that there is as much fun to be had in the journey as there is to be had at the destination. Writing with hindsight, I still stand by this. If you'd asked me on Thursday night however, I probably would have just snored at you with open eyes.
The first leg - from Heathrow to Casablanca - was fairly straightforward. It started off in comic fashion with an old woman wandering half way down the aisle, before she turned and yelled at the steward "WHICH SEAT DO I SIT IN?!". A gentle demonstration with her boarding pass managed to put out the fuse on that powder keg. Oh yes, and there was a guy who I'm fairly sure was vomming as we landed. But apart from that, it was like any other flight.
I had actually paid a whole pound extra to take a longer and remarkably less practical flight with Royal Air Maroc (brace yourself for the tremendously long announcements in Arabic, French and English), as opposed to TAP. Why? Because RAM were planning on touching down in Lomé, Togo, before finishing up at Accra. Who wouldn't want to be part of that!? Sadly this wonderful flight schedule was changed after booking and Lomé was cruelly erased from our plans. But I pulled myself together, and came to the conclusion that a layover in Casablanca would still be more interesting than one in Lisbon…
'Interesting' is the wrong word. 'Worse' is a better one. Do you ever look at the departures board for an evening flight and ever wonder which nutters actually go on that last flight at around 02.00 in the morning? Now you know the answer.
It took an age to wait for the connecting flight to Accra. The airport was dull to put it politely. Apart from entering the terminal to the echoing love theme from 'The Godfather', it was 4+ hours of sitting amongst the greys and the beiges, trying not to lose my much beloved vision from the catastrophically bright lighting.
Eventually we boarded. All I really remember was trying desperately to get some sleep and failing miserably. That said, having a full-blown meal (salad, chicken, potatoes, yoghurt, not to mention the coffee) at 02.50 may have had a part to play. We arrived on time at 05.00 at Kotoka International Airport in Accra. Looking out of the window like an eager child, I was greeted with bright flashes of lightning that lit up the still-dark sky in various shades of purple.
It's one of the great clichés that when you step off the plane into Africa, you're hit by a wall of heat. I shall get around this by saying that when I stepped off the plane into Africa, I was smacked by a rush of hotness.
And so my time in West Africa begins: tired, hot, rained upon, thirsty (oh why did I have that coffee?), but altogether incredibly excited for what lies in store…