Our First Full Day in Accra

Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Aug 04, 2008

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Flag of Ghana  ,
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

After a restful night at Nana's house we woke to everyone moving around.  Abena, Nana's cousin, had already swept the whole house.  She said that if Nana wasn't a guest he would have to help even though he is a male.  She said that things have changed and that men are now expected to help with some of the house hold chores.
We had warm bread, butter, and tea for breakfast and we sat in their courtyard.  It felt very similar to sitting and relaxing in Florida with palm trees littering the background.  After breakfast, Brooke and Marcie thought that warm donuts would really taste good.  It also allowed Brooke to show Marcie the neighborhood.  We began walking down the street and there were fruit stands, electronic stores, and everything in between.  We got down to the corner and saw a women frying what Marcie and Brooke thought were donuts.  We thought that they would be so good because they would be fresh.  While we were waiting for them to brown up in the oil a lady asked us if we knew how to eat those.  Marcie and Brooke looked at each other and said yes.  There was a lady next to us making some kind of porridge.  We were able to buy 10 "donuts" for only 1 cedis.
Marcie and Brooke rushed back to share warm donuts with everyone else and when we got there and showed Abenda.  She just started laughing.  These were not donuts they were something made out of soy that you are supposed to eat with porridge.  We all pretty much decided to go for it.  They tasted like a fried potato pancake.
After our interesting breakfast we walked over to the tailor to look at some of the outfits that Brooke and Nana were getting made.  Brooke was able to get two outfits made for 35 cedis.  All the outfits looked great and could pass for sun dresses in the US.   We then headed over to the cultural center in Accra.  It was about this time that it started to rain.  It would rain for pretty much the entire day and by 3 p.m. we would all be soaked.
We arrived at the cultural center and one of Nana's friends led us to his shop.  It was a maze to weave through the shops.  It was outside the cultural center but luckily as we arrived it really started coming.  The shops had all the masks, paints, and carvings.  Everyone came away with something interesting for a very good price.
After about an hour and half of spending time within the surrounding shops we finally headed over to the cultural center to look at the museum.  The art ranged from very traditional sculptures to more modern painting.  They all had explanations about each piece so it was neat to learn about the different symbols and mediums that they use.  We then headed into the market area.  It was "broni," white person, central.  We don't think that we have seen as many tourists as we did that day.  There were so many shops and they definitely played off the fact that so many tourists come through this area.  The prices for many of the items were much more expensive than ones that we had bought early in the day.
We walked through this building that was similar to a warehouse that was just filled with merchants all trying to sell very similar items.  In general, the market seems to be very saturated with so many people selling the exact same products right next to each other.  There never seems to be a clear front runner because everything is so similar.  It also leads to competition between people to get the lowest price.
After finishing up in the cultural center, we headed over to a restaurant to stay dry and to see the ocean.  It was such a cool view to see.  The rain and the storm mixed with ocean almost made it seem mad.  The waves crashed into stone outcropping and the fishing boats just rocked with the ocean.  Amongst all this power from the ocean one still had to notice the garbage.  There was garbage everywhere and made the beach look so sad and so dirty.  There are supposed to be some nice beaches by Cape Coast but if Accra cleaned up some of these beaches they could be gorgeous.
Mitch and Cory decided that they would climb out to the outcropping.  They didn't only find a cool view but also a man who lived up there in a shack.  He seemed very weathered.
We got a hold of the IBM team at this point in time to figure out our dinner plans for tonight.  We decided on a Lebanese restaurant.  During this time we had to figure out whether we would head over to Jamestown in the rain or we would go back to Nana's house.  After a short discussion of how the artist would probably not be out we decided to go back to Nana's house to dry off and get ready for dinner.
After we all dried off and put on dry clothes we got another call from the IBM team saying that the restaurant didn't exist anymore so we could either go to an Irish pub or we could go to a Ghanaian restaurant.  Mitch, Marcie, and Cory all exclaimed that we would love to go to an Irish pub.  We definitely missed more western dishes.
Right around 6:30 we grabbed two taxis to head to dinner.  Brooke, Marcie, and Cory headed into taxi 1 and Mitch, Liz, Brooke, and Nana grabbed taxi 2.  We started driving and taxi 2 had to stop to get some water to pour into the engine.  Taxi 1 then stopped and our driver got out of the car to talk to someone.  Taxi 2 after weaving in and out of taxi caught up to up and asked Brooke, Marcie, and Cory if we knew where our driver was as.  We all just shook our head.  Both taxis were soon off and running but not long after taxi 1 gets a flat tire.  The driver from taxi 2 tells Brooke, Marcie, and Cory to come with him.  We were all getting into one taxi.  Seven people and our driver all filed into the taxi.  This driver could fly.  We got downtown and started looking for the Irish pub.  Mitch thought that he saw a sign a little bit back.  We started looking and then asking people.  We found the sign and turned down the road.  It turns out that the road that we turned down was a one way road.  There were cars coming at us but someone how we made it to the restaurant and piled out just as John, one of the IBM team members was calling us.  We were only a half hour late so we were right on time for Ghana.
We were all a little riled up after that crazy ride.  We met John, Charlie, and Julie from the IBM team.  They are volunteering their time to try to bring African products into the mainstream market in the US like Target and T.J, Max.  They would market the products as fair trade and green.  We all grabbed some dinner and sat down and discussed some of our experiences while in Africa.  They were very interested in our projects especially the computer project.  After a  very nice, expensive meal, we all jumped back into taxis and went home.
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