My Stage is the World

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

Accra, Accra (this time for Africa)

on August 30, 2014

After yet another sleepless night, getting up at 7 was a struggle, but I used JK’s shower and IT WAS HOT so I felt much better! We waited for Grace who we thought might be coming with us but she was ill. So we waited some more. Nobody would talk to us girls and JK had gone to return the basket and some of the beer bottles (they weren’t impressed we hadn’t drunk all 6 as they wanted them back).

JK came back with Moust who had come to see us the day before when we were battling a monsoon. He still wanted us to come to the reggae party and told us about Solo Jungle – a nicer monkey sanctuary than the one near Kakum (mangy monkeys in tiny cages). He also invited us to a drum & bass night on Friday, but we declined as that’s when we hoped BB would be arriving.

Apparently nobody could go with us to Jamestown (result!), but we had to wait while they found a SIM card for us so they could contact us. Of course all of our smartphones use micro SIM cards so it wouldn’t fit, so instead we were given David’s phone. We also had JK’s walkie-talkies (seriously) in case we got separated!

Camera-derie

It was another fun taxi ride to Jamestown, with us four girls squashed in the back for 45 minutes. At least JK had more room this time, but it was pretty uncomfortable for us! We got dropped off at the lighthouse where a big sign said NO PHOTOS. For once we adhered to it and strolled down some steps to the beach and the JayNii Beach Resort.

Started by a couple – Jay and Nii – the resort is a charity that houses and educates disadvantaged children. We spent some time chatting to them and some of the children – they have a band and perform around the world, including London and Brighton. Drums, xylophones, dancing and everything it was really inspirational and several of us, myself included, might go back to volunteer for a few weeks.

JK took a Polaroid of everyone and gave it to them. This sparked a flurry of children and adults all wanting photographs on their own and with their friends! Poor JK used up quite a lot of film, but we realised that this was something we could give the people we met, although we insisted that we keep one of the group shots! When the neighbours all came running, we decided that was our cue to leave, taking Emmanuelle and Steven with us as guides.

In memoriam

As part of the old city, Jamestown is very poor, much worse than anything we’d seen so far! Women shouted at us for taking photos and talking to the children – there were goats everywhere! But although it was more intimidating, it was still friendly.

We went into a ‘park’ and children were asking us to take their photos and holding our hands. One small boy demanded “give me water” so I gave him the rest of my bottle which he drank from eagerly and then filled up from a muddy puddle. That shocked us all, but a man then shouted at us to leave, so we did.

We walked past Fort Jamestown where the first president of Ghana – Kamwe – had been held and along 28th February road (obviously this pleased me) into the Memorial Gardens. These gardens are peaceful and beautiful, a memorial to President Kamwe, with a museum full of photos and artefacts from his life. He’d met everyone – Queen Elizabeth II, Chairman Mao, Fidel Castro…

The memorial itself is shaped like the upside-down top of a sword – the symbol of peace – but also the branches of a tree that symbolised the strength of Kamwe and his unfinished work.
Kamwe Memorial Gardens

Crafty artists

Lunch was in the Arts Centre Cafe, although it was just an average Ghanaian restaurant… With no toilet – just a drain. Several men had shown us there and proceeded to wait outside and then inside while we ate to make sure we did visit their shop!

After plantain, red red and yams – which were yammy – we were taken escorted to an art gallery. The art here was really expensive – 100 cedis – about what you’d pay in Camden Market, so the guy Ezy was pleased. He then took us to his shop, that smelled of musk and was full of wooden shields, animals and jewellery to show us his art.

They were actually pretty impressive and us three girls decided to get one. He said they were 38 cedis each so we offered 75 cedis for three. He eagerly accepted this without question, leading us to believe we’d been ripped off. But as this was still only about £4 each we weren’t that bothered!

Meanwhile JK had bought the national game Awaree and Miss W had got some Ghanaian scarves. Cue happy shoppers and shopkeepers! But we were still quite glad to get away from there as we were being approached by everyone in the vicinity!

Finger lick in’ chicken

Continuing on our way, we passed through Black Star Square (independence square) where the president visits every 31st March and onto the beach. The clay beach. Which of course, in my white shoes, I sunk into! Steven took my shoes and washed them in the sea for me and then of course it happened again 5 minutes later! Bless him, he washed the again and I was much more careful where I stepped!

We walked up to Osu Castle (which used to be the presidential palace), but it was still closed to the public, so we carried on past the memorial of the most recent president – John – and some ostriches.
Ghanaian flags
The boys then left us – they had been with us all day – so we gave them 50 cedis each and promised to visit again.

We then headed down Oxford Street through street carnivals and all sorts until we reached the real city part. This was quite dull as it was like any city road. I was starting to flag at this point, but after a Bounty I perked up enough to walk to Tasty Jerk, where a very bored woman served us. “You can have chicken or pork. But not rice. The rice is gone. So you can have yams.” So I ordered chicken. “With what?” she asked. “Umm, yams?” I replied.

The food was pretty tasty, although I’m not good at eating chicken on the bone and despite several attempts, I just don’t like beer. The yam chips with spicy ketchup were pretty good though.
Club beer
Dark once more – it happens so early and so suddenly – we squeezed into a taxi (three said no as it was too far), car shopped for plantain chips and then swapped taxis at the junction before Kokrobite Beach.

Back home it was showers, gin and an early night for poor tired me!

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