So I finally made it to Ghana. After some drama regarding who would take me to my hotel (La Palm Royal Beach Hotel), I eventually made it and got settled in. The hotel was a little… strange. It felt like a really nice hotel that maybe was abandoned for 20 years. There were lots of long empty hallways leading to even bigger empty rooms. All of the rooms were cabana style and my cabana was really far from the main lobby. Technically our hotel was on the beach, but the gate to the path that led down to the beach was locked for “safety reasons.” Ok.
The next day was Sunday so I didn’t have to work and I went out sightseeing, still in my jeans and sneakers from the flight. It was about 90 degrees and I was ready to die. Luckily Accra didn’t have much in the way of sightseeing options so the day didn’t take long. We were able to rent a car and driver from the hotel for about Cedis. Which is a little less then $10.
|Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park|
The first place we went to was the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. The park was made in honor of Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of independent Ghana and (I think) their first president. The park was interesting and was accompanied by a truly bizarre and empty museum. I think it had things like “Presidents first chair” and a few framed photos of his life.
|Carving a wooden elephant|
The next place we went was W.E.B Dubois Center, but unfortunately it was closed because it was Sunday. So instead we went to the market. It was definitely a tourist market, but it was still fun and interesting to see all the handicrafts. Apparently, Ghana is famous for their wood carving. They seriously had every possible kind of carved wood you could hope for - Masks, animals, tables, statues, beads, etc.
The rest of the week was spent working, hanging out at the pool and swim up bar, and eating. At one point I thought about going down to the beach, but when I walked to the gate I noticed that all the people hanging out down by the water were fully clothed and sitting in tents. At one point two guys riding bareback came galloping down the sand. I felt like a total lame tourist, but I decided to stick with the pool.
I meet a girl in one of my training classes, H, from Cairo. We were able to hang out for the rest of the week so that I could go out and see a little more of Accra. One evening we did go to the more legit market in the town. The masks in the picture below were made of wood and metal, and the metal came from hammered down coke cans. I bought one where the coke label is still clearly visible – I don’t know why for some reason it seemed that much cooler.
|Horse riders on the beach near my hotel|
I am really glad I got a chance to go to Accra – it was my first time in Africa and the only time I’ve been to sub-saharan Africa. However, I am not sure I am dying to return any time soon. I do regret that I was not able to see more of Accra and to visit areas in the rest of Ghana. Maybe I need to see some other cities in the area to make a better judgment.