Meet me in Nairobi, Abjua, or Accra

going to Africa
How I roll in Africa

I’m headed to Africa soon for three weeks of meetings and trainings in Nairobi, Abuja, and Accra for Inveneo. I’ll be in each city about a week, and would love to meet up with loyal Belly Button Window readers if you’re around.

See, while I am a fanatic proponent of web-based discourse – I’m publishing at least six different blogs right now – I’m convinced that online discourse is an amplification of offline, in-person connections. In fact, I believe that online conversations are not possible without some level of face-to-face discussions between participants.

Or as a friend once said “meatspace has the highest bit rate” And I haven’t connected with that many Belly Button readers in a while.

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Flying Virgin Nigeria Adventures


A Virgin Nigeria’s passenger view

If you are going to fly Virgin Nigeria, be prepared for a little adventure – it’s not like Virgin Airlines by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Virgin Nigeria is a downright adventure no matter if you’re going on an inter-Nigeria or international flight.

Let’s start at getting a ticket. Before you think it’s as easy as booking online, check your optimism. They may have a website, which you can reserve a ticket on, but you better be actually in Nigeria before you think of buying a ticket.

For that, you need to visit an actual Virgin Nigeria ticket office, where you’ll find helpful people who tell you “No” at every chance. Can I get a ticket for the 6pm flight to Abuja? No. What about the 4pm flight? No. Any flight? No. Why? We’re not flying. Okay, not flying today, this week, ever again? I don’t know.

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A CityLink Flight to Kumasi, Ghana


Your CityLink to flying Ghanaian skies

I love me some propeller planes. Unlike big jet aircraft that feel like they are shoved into the sky, prop airplanes feel like they glide into the heavens. As my CityLink flight to Kumasi, Ghana took off from Kotoka International Airport, I sat back and relaxed, free of my usual fear of flying.

Yes, you read that right, world-traveling Wayan is scared of flying. In fact, I hate the whole concept of flight, from hurtling through too-thin-to-breathe air inside a metal tube to the horrid nightmare of it falling from the sky to certain death. I only do it, as it’s the only way to get from one continent to another. Past that, I’ll take the train, thanks.

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Dry Cleaning Adventures in Africa


Morton Dry Cleaning

When I could not get though to confirm my next appointment, I decided it was time to dry clean my pants. After two weeks in Africa, these dress pants had become, well, not so clean, and so I headed back to Asylum Down, the neighbourhood where I was staying in Accra.

The day before, I had asked around at Busy Internet, and heard of a reputable dry cleaner, Morton Dry Cleaning. Yet on Friday, when I asked to go there, the taxi driver didn’t know where the dry cleaner was – he didn’t even know what dry cleaning is! He kept offering to have his wife wash my pants, so when I got to Asylum Down, I started walking, looking for Morton’s by asking people as I went.

It turns out that few Ghanaians know about dry cleaning.

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African Go Slow Gifts


Wait till you see the video

While trapped in an African Go Slow, you have the opportunity to see many things. Besides the colorful scenery of cars stuck in traffic, there are waves of street hawkers trying to sell all manner of consumer goods.

Everything from drinks and snacks to bathroom fixtures and even condoms and porn. But I’ve never seen this odd little thing I bought in an Accra Go Slow:

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Africans Don’t Know What Time Is


No speed visible here

I am sitting in yet another “go slow” amazed that Ghanaian businessmen can waste so much time. When I was told we were going to the freight forwarder’s office, I groaned, knowing the traffic jam that surrounds his office.

When I complained that it would take us at least an hour each way, he countered with the correct but inaccurate, “What’s the problem? It is two kilometers from here.” While that is the true distance, the complete gridlock on those two kilometers will waste most our day.

And yet here we sit, inching along at 1 kilometer an hour, my life flashing before my eyes. The big boss man, he is stoic, looking out the window lost in thought, or at least calm. His complete disregard for time is not unique.

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