Ghana, September 1, 2008
Flying the friendly Ghanaian skies on a prop plane
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 itâ€™s the only way to get from one continent to another. Past that, I'll take the train, thanks.
If I have to fly, and I have the choice, I'm going propeller. Only then do I feel like I am participating in the act of flying, and do so at a human scale. As the pitch of the propellers change to grab the air, you're gently pushed into your seat, not thrown back with a hammer of jet acceleration.
Aloft, you fly low, through the clouds and in sight of the ground. You can see birds, life, and the love of flying experienced by pilots. You even get to put your hand out the window if you are lucky.
I wasn't so lucky on my Accra-Kumasi CityLink flight, or the return, but I did enjoy the flight over the beautiful Ghanaian countryside, including a bird's eye view of Lake Bosumtwi. This crater lake has a particular local rule - you cannot touch the water with iron and modern boats are forbidden. Villagers use padua, a wooden plank, they paddle with wooden oars.
I thought of this as we flew over it, returning to Accra from Kumasi. How people have odd customs and strange rules - odd and strange to those not used to them. Like how we all think its normal to be stuffed into a flying waiting room for 4, 8, or 12 hours at a time without the need to run, dance, or play.
Which reminds me. Soon I will leave the warm embrace of CityLink for my next long flight - a Virgin Nigeria jaunt back to Lagos. Thankfully, I'll not be flying in this CityLink plane.