Saturday, 27 August 2011

First impressions

Accra is huge. As we flew in last night, the city lights seemed to spread for miles. No doubt we will soon settle into our little corner of it, but there is a lot to be explored.

The information gleaned from guide books pre-trip seems to be mostly right. It’s not too hot at the moment – August being the coldest month. People are friendly and helpful and we have yet to encounter the worst of the traffic (just a matter of time, I guess). And football is everywhere – the TVs show Premier League highlights on repeat and the names of Ghana’s big stars mark the shirts for sale in the numerous street stalls, with Chelsea having a worryingly high profile. (No sign of any Swindon or Hannover shirts yet.)

The local food is good, too. Our first meal was at Maquis Tante Marie restaurant. Red red, a stew made from beans and palm served with fired plantain, will be a veggie favourite. And best of all is the discovery, via a thoughtful welcome pack of groceries from Hannah’s new school, that cheese is alive and kicking in Ghana! The only downer is that Ghana has followed other African countries in making the piss-weak and tasteless Lipton Yellow Label its tea of choice. I have yet to get an explanation for this disappointing trend.

Hotels are expensive – $200 a night at the Midindi Hotel. It’s pleasant enough – a pool, Wifi, and helpful staff (one of whom drove us to a cash point when he realised we were stuck) – but it seems a lot for what is essentially a basic city hotel. Maybe its location between the airport and the US Embassy inflates the price a little. But future visitors, don’t worry; you can stay with us – provided you bring some decent tea.

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