My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

To Market, to Market

on August 29, 2014

After staying up late drinking, I decided I was allowed to sleep in, but I was still downstairs by 9.15, as the girls and I chatted outside with toast and coffee. We considered waking JK but then what was the point? We weren’t doing anything so we might as well let him sleep!

It was decided that today we would be allowed to go to the market with Grace and we were all super excited at being let out. Showered (freezing again) and dressed we headed outside, but were waylaid by the men cutting down coconuts.

We went over to have a look and were each presented with a freshly cut coconut to drink from. Once we’d finished this, we were then given spoons so we could eat the flesh. I’m not a huge fan of coconut, but it was pretty awesome to be able to have one from ‘our’ back garden!

With no tro-tro in sight, we piled into a taxi. Us four girls in the back, Grace and JK in the front with the driver. It was… Cosy to say the least, not to mention boiling, but it was a bargain at 25 cedis and we reached the market in good time.

On the way we went through a ‘drive-thru’ market, that is hoards of people clamouring at the car windows offering you their wares. One man even washed the taxi windscreen! We weren’t really sure about this but they weren’t too persistent and there was so much to look at – I mean who wouldn’t want some Jesus stickers and an alphabet poster?

A bumpy ride

The market itself was incredible – hundreds of people selling everything you can imagine. Vegetables, fruit, dried fish, chickens and spices… Not to mention a lady on the footbridge with a huge pile of pants!
market in Accra

Grace was on a mission, hurrying us through the market as we tried to work out what we wanted, especially when we were inside the dark, hustle and bustle of the fish market. Sweet potatoes, talapia and pineapple (obviously with more of THE sauce), cost us very little and all of the food was fresh and delicious.

Hurrying on, chatting to locals and occasionally getting distracted by merchandise, we arrived in a car park full of small, rusty minibuses and taxis. We climbed aboard one of these and were joined with all sorts of people heading home from the market.

More and more sellers clamoured outside the window and we ended up (on Grace’s recommendation) buying a borfro each. Costing about 8p each they were delicious! They smelled like donuts and were hot and slightly greasy, but with a consistency more like a bread roll.

We also bought some plantain chips and tried some menthol mints – paying through the window at the traffic lights. We almost felt local… Except that Grace was doing all of the negotiation.

As for the bus itself – a tro-tro (pronounced Cho-Cho) – there were no seatbelts and we were crammed in like sardines. It was bumpy and fast, as we sped down the roads past the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (cue Book of Mormon soundtrack in my head again), Blood of Christ Hairdressing and God is Love Plumbing.
Book of Mormon church
Apparently 96% of Ghana is religious and it’s really clear from the amount of churches, signs for biblical study and worship, plus the names of the shops. Their faith my also be why they’re all so friendly – everyone seemed willing to help us and offer advice. Yes the market was intimidating, but no more so than Camden Loch or Covent Garden when they’re busy.

Don’t worry, be happy

Back home, the others (escorted by Ayee) headed out to Big Milly’s for a drink while I stayed to read my book. It was odd being alone in the house, because I wasn’t – David and Grace were there cooking and sorting things out. Once the others came back we ate and it was – again – delicious. I don’t usually eat much fish but it’s definitely growing on me!

As it was fairly early, we decided to pop out for some beers, leaving Miss P to shower. After walking for about 5 minutes it suddenly got very dark and we wished we’d brought a torch with us. Not to worry – a friendly local approached us and warned us to mind our bags because there were thieves. After discovering we were on a beer hunt, he took us to his friend’s bar.

As we walked in there was some hurried discussions and then everyone got up to leave so as to make room for us. We protested and explained that we just wanted some to take home. They seemed surprised, and more so when we said we wanted ten bottles, but agreed and lent us a basket to carry them home in – as long as we returned the basket and empty bottles.

Moust accompanied us back to carry the bottles and told us about his time in London and America, before inviting us to a reggae party on Saturday. We excitedly agreed, especially as BB would be with us by then and could look after us!

After seeing a car he introduced us to his brother who offered us a lift. Luckily we were right by our house so could decline politely… No matter how friendly and genuine people are, none of us was happy to get into a stranger’s car at night!

One beer down and… The power went off again! It came on again in time for Adolf to arrive and tell us we were going on a tip the next day! We were ecstatic! We’d all felt slightly cooped up, especially as we weren’t really allowed out on our own.

We agreed to be up early and ready to leave by 9am so headed to bed early. Unfortunately for me, I could not sleep and spent the night tossing and turning as my brain whirred.

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