Author Topic: Open for review, continued, 'A Journey to Remember', Literary Fiction 1993 words  (Read 91 times)

Offline ather71

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Hello

Here are the next couple of chapters of my new book, 'A Journey to Remember'. A story of a migrant's interesting journey to America. Your comments are much appreciated. Thanks

Ather


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..I finally had the the required money for my planned trip. I met with Mr Mogambo to hand him the cash and made the deal. He promised to reach out to me soon. After some time passed I was presented with my documents and a visa to travel to Peru. I thought that Peru was far, maybe it would be difficult for me to adapt to that country. I strengthened my resolve and started to make preparations. My flight was booked so that I would travel together with Ali. He was also a novice to the route we were taking. We had contact with someone who was on his way to the United States. He was our guide because he was closer to his destination.
   The day of my flight I bade a tearful goodbye to my family. I hired a taxi to take me to Accra airport. I was excited and looked forward to the flight. As the airport got closer I could see the airplanes neatly parked on the tarmac. The line at the ticket counter was long. On my turn I presented my passport and ticket to the agent at the African Airlines counter. I was feeling a bit nervous about the documents. To my relief, the agent said that all was good. With my boarding pass in hand I headed to the departure lounge. I was glad to meet Ali, who was enjoying snacks. We talked about the trip and the overall plan for the next couple of weeks.
   We soon boarded the flight. The cabin smelled so nice, I still remember. A stewardess helped me find my seat. I looked out my window and got a cool view of the airport. A lot of activity was going on around me. There were people walking the aisle, food carts passing and announcements over the intercom.
The pilot announced: “Welcome to African Airlines flight to Johannesburg...., And now may I ask all the passengers to kindly fasten your seat belts.”
After playing with the seat belt I figured out how to fasten it. The airplane started to roll slowly  towards the runway, then paused.
“We are ready for takeoff,” sounded the intercom.
Suddenly there was very loud roar. The airplane and everything in it started to vibrate. I felt my cheeks shaking. I held on to my seat. The airplane sped along the runway and lifted into the air. Couple of minutes later my insides felt a bit weird. In anticipation I had stuffed myself with fries earlier. I felt better after a while, then dozed off.
   The 9 hour flight passed and we landed in Johannesburg, South Africa. As a first timer my anxiety had made the flight less enjoyable. I used to imagine that air travel was one of the best things to look forward to. We spent some time at Johannesburg airport before connecting to a flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil. This flight was better than the first one, though it was several hours before we arrived in Sao Paulo. By the time I disembarked in Sao Paulo, my phone almost died. I wanted to buy a phone charger but I could not get anyone to communicate with me in English. They mainly spoke Brazilian Portuguese. They told me to change my money from US dollars to their local currency. I did that and then bought a charger. Soon I was able to communicate with my people back in Ghana and then with our travel contact. This brought me some relief. I had to wait at the airport for about 10 hours before connecting to a flight to Lima, Peru.
                  
The flight was pleasant, arriving in Lima in the morning. I stepped off the airplane and lined up for immigration, for the first time in my life.
“Sir where are you traveling from,” the officer asked me.
“I am coming from Ghana,” I replied.
“What is your final destination,” he asked.
“I am going to the USA.”
“Are you carrying any drugs?,” the officer inquired
“No sir”
“Welcome to Peru.”
He stamped my passport and let me proceed. I collected my bags and passed through customs. I met Ali outside, waiting for me. We discussed what to do next. Our plan was to travel on a bus that would take us to the northern border. We took a taxi from the airport to a bus station. By the time we reached the station, both of us were quite hungry. We bought some chicken fries at the station. The taste of the fries was average, unlike the tasty chicken I enjoyed back in Ghana. We then boarded our bus. The bus took us on a long trip. We traveled along the serene Pacific coast passing through towns and hilly terrain on the way. I enjoyed the ride as it was scenic. After traveling on the bus for about 20 hours we arrived in Tumbes, a town between Peru and Ecuador.
   Tumbes really depicted its nature as a border town. There were people on tricycles and buses, calling out to travelers passing through. We grabbed a bench and rested a while. I noticed that almost everyone I saw was traveling. Someone mentioned about hiring a private car for the onward journey. His name was Chen, traveling from China. We walked up to a driver whose car was for hire. Chen knew Spanish so he chatted with him about transportation to the border of Ecuador. Then me, Ali and Chen got into the car. The driver sped off taking us away from Tumbes. We were fortunate that Chen was with us. The driver turned off the main road onto a side street, continuing for a mile or two.
“Hey where are you taking us!,” shouted Chen at the driver in Spanish.
“Es que..lo siento..a ver..,” replied the driver trying to avoid him. The driver started to speed up.  Something didn't seem right to me. 
Chen had read the road signs in Spanish. He realized that the driver wanted to take us someplace, where he and his cronies could rob us. He continued shouting at the driver and punching his seat.
“Hey you, Idiota!,” Ali joined in to harass the driver.
The driver gave in, corrected his route, taking us to the border of Ecuador. I saw the importance of knowing more than one language. It saved us from being robbed. We got out of the car at the border and quickly lined up for immigration. On our turn the Ecuadorian officers gave us a 30 day stay in the country.
Adventures along the way
After spending a couple of hours at the border we found transportation. We got some fast food and boarded a bus for Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. After a day long journey we arrived in Quito that evening. I noticed that the city was scenic. It felt cool as the city was located near mountains. We walked around the town. I had a nice dish of Locro for dinner. It was made of potatoes, cheese and avocado. Many people in Quito wore colorful Andean ponchos. I saw folk from the surrounding highlands, who were selling their wares in the marketplace. The city had a lot of history to it, by looking at the buildings. In Quito we were supposed to meet a person who would take us to the Colombian border. I called him several times but he never answered. Because of waiting and looking for him I got concerned about how to travel onward.
   As we waited we saw a group of migrants. We chatted with them for a while, then decided to join them on a bus to the border. The bus continued northward on the Pan-American highway till we arrived at the border in the morning, at a place called Tulcan. The group were in contact with some agents who would get them across into Colombia. We walked through the streets of Tulcan for some time. Ran into a herd of llamas being led to the market. To me a llama looked like an over sized sheep with a long neck and the face of a camel. As we moved along, the neighborhood started getting shady. Parts of the pavement fractured out onto the street. We arrived at some steps leading up the incline. There it was, a brown colored house. One of us knocked on the door. A middle aged man opened the door. He led us in to meet the agents. We got seated in the lounge. The negotiation started going back and forth. The price was agreed at $250 per person to help us cross the border undetected. The agents explained the plan to us. A few hours later we were boarded on a bus and crossed over into Colombia. The journey had gone well so far.
   The bus continued onward from the Colombian border. A few hours later we got off the bus for lunch in the town of Ipiales. Feeling hungry we asked our agents for some food. They brought us a decent meal made with potatoes. We then waited for a couple of hours inside a park in anticipation. Later that evening the agents came by and told us how we were going to evade the authorities. We left in two private cars that drove on for some time. The drivers stopped in front of an uncompleted building on a nearby bush road. This made us escape the police search on the main road. We alighted there and waited for the bus. In the meantime we chose to dispose of some clothes, as our luggage was getting heavy.
                  
The buses came and we started shoving our way to board. I had given some money earlier to my friend Ali. As luck would have it he forgot it in the clothes he left behind. Fortunately I had some cash hidden on me which later became our lifeline on the road. After an overnight journey we reached the city of Cali. We got off the bus in the afternoon. I had heard that Colombia was a big country. It would take a couple of days to cross through it by road. Cali was a big city located on mostly flat terrain. We took a transit bus to a certain neighborhood of the city. There we were connected to another team of agents. We paid them a deposit after which they lodged us in a hotel to settle down.
   Some Ghanaian guys, Bryce and Abu came to meet me in the hotel. I felt so happy that we started chatting in our local dialect.
Bryce: “It's been a long trip getting here.”
Abu: “Ya man I am tired.”
“How many days till we reach Mexico.”
“I think about 3 more weeks at least, if all goes well,” I replied assuredly.
“When I am in America I want to be in New York. I like that place,” said Bryce.
“Man, California is the place to be. Relax on the beach, enjoy the sun and go swimming,” added Abu.
“I think Chicago is a good place. I want to drive a taxi. My friend says that people make good money driving taxis,” I noted.
“They gave us a good lunch. I wonder what's for dinner.”
“I hope it's fresh. Last week I had some stale bread and got sick.”
“Guys, here they come again”, I saw our agents coming towards us.
Mateo: “Hello guys.”
Nicolas: “Hola.”
“They told me you going to America,” said Mateo.
Me: “Yes that's correct.”
“It will be $200 each, coming with us.”
Bryce: “That is too much.”
Abu: “I can  only give $100 myself.”
“ We take care of you, $200 esta bien,” assured Nicolas.
The negotiation went back and forth without an agreement.
“We will come back,” said Mateo as they walked away.