Okay, you should know that Ghana isn’t all tiny villages and no running water! For another weekend away from Atebubu, we decided to head South to Accra – the capitol of Ghana. Accra is the BIG BIG City and functions more or less like a normal big city – businesses, government buildings, museums, parks, nice hotels, shopping malls, etc. If we wanted the FULL Ghana experiences we needed to see this side of things as well!
Our adventure started with a 5 hour, $10, bus ride from Kumasi to Accra. It was a nice ride on a chartered, air-conditioned, bus. We arrived in Accra in the late afternoon and headed to Pink Hostel to drop off our bags and plan the evening. We decided to go the mall because Pascal wanted to shop for new clothes (…yes, the GUY wanted to go shopping….). After spending 3 weeks in Atebubu, eating fried rice everyday, I was most excited by the HUGE market full of food! I stocked up on some food to bring back with me (since we will have a kitchen in Atebubu when I return) and some cookies.
Following some unsuccessful shopping, we decided to go to dinner at Burger and Relish and enjoy a good meal! And boy was it GOOOOOOOD! We enjoyed deep fried pickles, giant burgers, French fries, and a variety of beers! After dinner, we took a taxi to Republic, a local pub, to meet up with a co-worker and some of his friends. We enjoyed a strange mix of locals and young white folks mingling and dancing in a road-side bar.
The next day, we decided to see some sights around Accra. We started with the Osu Castle, which you cannot actually go into or take pictures of….despite being a “point of interest” in the guide book, we were quickly approached by a guard and “encouraged” to keep moving. Next we walked a bit, looking for a market or museum, and along the way enjoyed some major points – Black Star Square, Independence Arch, and eventually found ourselves at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park (Ghana’s first President). We enjoyed a walk through the park and I tried to harness my “what would Matt do” powers while taking photos and trying to capture the different statues.
After walking around a bit, we grabbed a taxi and headed to Lombadi Beach. I was very excited to see the beach and we found a table near the water to enjoy lunch and fresh juice. We ordered a very easy lunch….kabob, yam chips, plantain chips, and juice. After waiting at least an hour….and nearly eating our own flesh, we asked where our food was!? “Oh, yes, its coming soon”……and thirty minutes later, we had our food! Oh Ghana. Meanwhile, we were hassled by countless vendors trying to sell us cheap goods or woo us with their music, beach acrobatics, or ability to put a burning stick down their pants (WHO THINKS THATS A GOOD IDEA?!!). I think the restaurants and the beach vendors should work together so they don’t have hangry patrons who cannot even think about giving anyone their money because they are SO HUNGRY!
After the beach, we went back to the hotel for some air conditioning time. In the evening we met up with our friends again for an Ethiopian Buffet.
The next day, we wanted to see Jamestown. Jamestown is the oldest district in Accra and serves as a major fishing port. Our co-worker’s friend helped us arrange a tour with someone she knew and we set off in the morning to meet him at the Lighthouse. When we arrived at the Lighthouse, there was someone waiting there and eager to greet us when we got out of the taxi. He said, “Are you here for the tour?” and Pascal said, “Yes, we talked to you on the phone?”….he responds, “Yes, yes, lets go”. So we started our tour with “Nice One” – who is a teacher in Jamestown and provides tours and uses the money to help fund his school. He was very knowledgeable about the city and introduced us to many of the people. Jamestown is a very poor and very crowded city. The people have lost much of their land to the government and have been forced to live in small wooden stalls or outside. The men go out to sea for 1-2 weeks in old wooden boats to fish. Young boys will join their fathers once they turn 9 years old. This makes it very difficult to keep the children in school…which makes it difficult to improve the level of education and prosperity in the area.
After touring the main fishing area, we walked into town. Jamestown is known for producing famous boxers and has many boxing gyms and posters about boxing matches. “Nice One” claims this field is where ALL the famous boxers started their careers…..
We went to the local meat market….I don’t have the heart to post the actual images of the animals….I had to keep my head down and try not to breath. It was the closest I’ve come to wanting to be a vegetarian. If you want to see a picture, let me know and I’ll send you one…..
The tour concluded with a trip to the top of the lighthouse. It provided a great view of the city and ocean! The steep winding stairwell was a little tricky in some spots but worth the climb.
At the conclusion our 2 hour tour, we paid and grabbed a taxi back into Accra. We stopped for ice cream and while we were sitting, we got a phone call from the man we had planned to meet for the tour and who we THOUGHT gave us the tour….Man, “Hello, where are you?”…..Me, “Um, we are back in Accra.”……Man, “When are you coming to Jamestown??”…..Me, “We were just there, you gave us a tour.”…..Man, “I am supposed to meet you at the lighthouse”…..Me, “You already met us and gave us a tour”…..Man, “No I didn’t.”……awkward pause….Me, “oh….hmmmm….I think maybe we got a tour from someone else…..soorrryyyyy :-”….. OOOPS!
Despite a flat tire on the bus going home, we made it back to Kumasi Sunday night 🙂