Africa for beginners is what Ghana is generally called because it is Africa of course, but not the Africa of many of its neighbors. Ghana has infrastructure, paved roads, political stability, very few barnyard animals roaming the streets freely, people speak English and there isn’t much challenge to getting around Ghana. The capital of Accra is really nice and has the feel of a US beach town rather than a big African capital, of course the awful traffic and air pollution does remind you. But it is incredibly relaxed here and there is a huge expat presence, mainly Brits as you might expect. In fact, last I went to Champs Sports Bar for this trivia contest night they had and most likely every Brit in Ghana was there. I actually arrived in the third round and still ended up finishing fourth and winning a free Margarita, I am sure I would have won if I had gotten there on time. I am staying in Osu, which is the hip area of Accra where everything happens and where all the shops, restaurants and nightlife is. Besides staying in one of the beachside resorts, it’s the only area to stay in as a tourist.
Accra is refreshing (if you’ve been on the road in West Africa for a month) in many other ways. For instance, they have places where you can just grab a slice of pizza or a burger if you want instead of having to sit for 2 hours for a long meal that drags on forever, additionally, the service is almost good. There are also fast food places, not McDonalds and other western places but African fast food places but that is the first I’ve seen in West Africa. And finally, they have ice cream here which is my favorite and I crushed about four scoops of strawberry yesterday and will probably be heading back there after I get off the computer. I am also heading back to Champs tonight as they show sports on the big screens and apparently tonight is an Accra institution called Karaoke Night and there’s few things in life I love more than watching Brits get up on stage and make fools of themselves belting out crappy American tunes and falling all over themselves in their drunken states!
Accra is the most western style city I’ve been to in West Africa and the only place I can compare it to in Africa would be somewhere in South Africa; of course the big difference are the beaches here in the city are disgustingly kept and have garbage all over them. The best beaches along the Cape Coast are back west toward the Ivory Coast but I woke up this morning and decided that I didn’t feel like driving three hours each way to see them and decided to just have a lazy day in the ungodly sweltering heat of Accra. So I am staying at the Byblos hotel in Osu, which I highly recommend and just had lunch in Osu and went to the fancy hotel on the beach called La Palm Royal and just relaxed at the pool and took it easy, I think I’ve earned a day of rest after the hellish schedule I’ve kept up thusfar.
Anyway, I am looking forward to a fun time tonight and then to Togo tomorrow where I hope to finalize plans to get back to New York a day early so I can take care of some things before I head to Mexico. Togo will be country 199 and I am excited about approaching 200.