Monday, November 09, 2009

Watch Where You Walk

"Kramo Bone amma yeannhu kramo pa. We cannot tell the good from the bad because of pretence and hypocrisy."
My second day in Ghana began with breakfast at Crystal Hostel - the place with the Facebook reputation for friendliness was a place so unfriendly that we didn't realise they offered breakfast until the second day and once we did discover it, there was a rather unclear description of the options, so I went with the omelette. I'm not about to start adding cabbage to my omelette, but it wasn't half bad. Ortencia and I met a girl called Sarah - it amused me that not only did she think we were both 25, but she also thought that I was well-travelled, whereas I thought her travel history of Nigeria, Ghana, and Morocco kicked my travelling ass.

On day two of the jaunt to the Togolese Embassy, we decided to skip the long trou-trou trips and take a cab. Once there, however, there were a few snags. I had photos, but not enough, so I needed three new ones. It also turned out that I also needed to pay for the visa in CFA. I have never before encountered the need to pay for a visa in a currency different than the one I was in - ever - and my fourth passport is already pretty packed. Conveniently the guard at the entrance to the embassy changes Ghanaian cedis into CFA - imagine that! At a great rate, no doubt. But what are you going to do?

At least they were happy to process my visa while I wandered off to get the photos done, take a trou-trou to Osu to get a smoothie and look at souvenirs, though I was still too new with the currency and what was on offer to feel like I was ready for some bargaining. We took a taxi to the embassy, then a trou-trou to Circle - the most common destination of city buses, and ended up on the wrong one when we transferred toward the Novatel. After yet another switch and then some wandering, we bumped into a university student who kindly walked us over to the museum.

The museum was as shabby as the Lonely Planet said it would be, but it was in an awesome building. I found the exhibits quite interesting, because for all that I intended to read through the history and culture sections of my LP on the plane, I ended up watching bad movies and learning Sudoku. After the museum and a round of Cokes in glass bottles (I don't even know how to express how much I love Cokes in glass bottles, but it's a lot of love), we looked at our LP map, picked a restaurant for dinner, and headed off confidently... in the wrong direction.

The thing about walking around Accra is that it's a very spread out city. Everything is in compounds, behind walls, and there are big lawns in front of so many of the buildings. It's such a damn long walk between everything and that's often slightly problematic because Accra is the city of holes. There are giant, deep, gaping holes all over the place - generally on the sidewalks, but also in the roads. It doesn't make for a fun walking city, especially if you start off the walk in the wrong direction (and we did that for some time), just as the sun is going down, and there aren't a shockingly large amount of street lights.

After dinner at a very odd place, which seemed more like a nightclub in the loudness of the music and dimness of the lights, but had some decent food, we walked over to the Circle, a place we were already old hands at dealing with, and grabbed a trou-trou home. The thing about arriving back at home is that you have to get into your place and it turns out that both Ortencia and I are shitty at dealing with locks and keys. Add to the room key, the gate to the compound, and both of us got to spend about five minutes several times a day being fumbling incompetents.


Cairo Typ0 said...

Regarding your love of coke in glass bottles; you realize that the coke there is made with actual sugar? Not high fructose corn syrup like in the states. That's why it tastes sooooo much better!!

Is the coke in Korea the same way?

BLOGitse said...

Just came to say hi,
have a nice week!

LSL said...

Loving the retro-blogging!

Amanda said...

You can get Coke in bottles here, but it's more common to get it in cans and bottles. It definitely tastes different than North America so I wonder if that's it. Certainly the best Coke I've had has been in Africa, SE Asia and Greece.