Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I Love to Be Near America...

For someone who had the area near to the East of Ghana's university (Legon, hence East Legon), named after him, It's curious that he would not have a picture of hishouse (American House) on the Internet!

En route to Orinda Colour Photo Labs today, I was told by the taxi driver that the place was named after him (which I had heard several times), and that he--i.e.the eponymous guy after whom American House is named-- was one of the first people from the US to land in the area when he did.

Why is there nothing to commemorate the darn fellow's feats then?

Odd, really, how we treat our heroes in this country...;-)

Anyway, the prints were rather good, but I was quite disappointed by the size. Thirty-four prinits were good to go--bar two.

Pooh.

My favourite, I must say, were those of G___. My god, she is a BABE! extraordinaire. She wants her piccies; I have agreed to split it in half (literally!) with her if she'll allow...

Easter break down in Manks was a blast--well kind of if it hadn't rained cats and dogs on Holy Saturday and been ever so quiet the other few days...

I often wonder how acute the mental anguish would have been had I not landed this job. To be "stuck" in Mankessim indefinitely.

Ouch.

For all its verdant scenery and rustic nature, not my idea of a time in Heaven, which Accra most definitely is!!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Discoveries & Epiphanies

Each day, I meet a new aspect of Accra that teases and titillates me beyond belief. From the rain that brings out things from the deep(!) to the sunshine that warms my clothes up (mostly wearing a tie and trousers), I think this is just a great city to be.

The other day, on the new VeCO yahoogroups for ALUMNI, I irked some doode called Lars Roberts, who maintains a very interesting site called Kilimanjaro World when I lamented to him that if Tom Cruise didn't like Accra, he wouldn't have chosen the place to film Mission Impossible Three. Which sounded rather obnoxious I know.

Please, I know.

I apologised swiftly, explaining that I was in no way dissing him, but he does still maintain that Cape Town is the best city (paraphrased) in Africa.

He may be right. He may be wrong, but I just know I love my city.

Or is it simply nostalgia, which people like my late brother, Sam, would find odd were he here as he SAW Accra more than I ever could have, having left for Belgium with Mum and Dad at around the age of seven.

Of course Accra has changed dramatically, but I guess the only thing to bring it to life are pictures. But it is clear that it evokes visceral feelings of a place that is incomparable to a place like Belgium -- for all its lush green suburbs, and its Grande Place:-)

I miss Belgium. But I am enjoying being in Accra!

Must travel to the Central Region to visit my folks for Easter, but am looking forward to getting back in the city on Tuesday (Monday actually) and seeing all the sights and sounds it has to offer me in a new week.

Maybe when I 'm back, I'll provide a status report--time permitting--on more discoveries--and epiphanies that make up my experience of living in Accra.

Till then.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

TAXI, TAXI!

taxi_in_yellow_and_grey_sedan

With the petroluem prices affecting everyone, I have to state how utterly disgusted I am by the antics of taxis. How is it that they get to charge such arbitrary prices. How is it that on my way to work today, I was charged 25 thousand cedis (that's almost 2.5 Euros) from the junction at Goil on the Spintex Road to place of work, near Miklin Hotel. And when I told him that it was expensive, he said "oh, you can pay".

"Is it you who is paying?" I shot back.

He chuckled, but I yielded, considering it was raining, and I was running late.

Someone really has to yank their chain sometime. I get particularly pissed at this knowing that yesterday--only yesterday!--I paid 20 thousand cedis, yet that was even down the road from where I live.

So who was under-charging who, then?

To say nothing of taxis near the "station" at the Spintex road corner.

They exude power to such an extent that they can decide for themselves when they want to take you. They will tell you explicitly that they want "a dropping". This basically means that they want to charter you from A to B,and you and you alone--no-one else. This translates to more money.

Yet, they know that many--actually the majority of--people prefer to share the costs of paying with someone.

When is someone going to fix a standard price over these accidental apologists of government who claim that they have a statutory right to raise fares (and do so without compunction for the masses)? Surely the government cannot do it since the taxis are owned by private people.

So we are left for them to continue cheating us...

till we all start buying cars of our own, which will compound the congestion problem further.

Lesser of two evils, huh?

Ghana Needs New Mindset--so says Reverend

“Ghana needs a new type of man, woman or person who would help to reverse the country’s circumstances. We need to wake up and take responsibility for our country and shun the pull him down syndrome”

from http://www.ghananewstoday.com/social/mar24-independence.php

A Useful Tip for the Female Foreigner at Ghana's Premier University (Legon)

Being a female foreigner in Ghana is an interesting experience. A host of adventures await you in the land of sunshine. To make your stay comfortable and enjoyable, you need to know a few things about this land, particularly about the university. In brief, being a female foreign student, what is taken for granted by other students cannot be ignored by you.

from: http://www.ug.edu.gh/ip/female.html

I actually came across this link whilst looking for a picture of Max Mart, located near Liberation Road, at "37", near the eponymous military hospital.

Max Mart, because I went there this afternoon to try and have my pictures developed, but ended up being told I would have to go to Cantonments. Cantonments is one of the suburbs populated by embassies and money with plenty of cash. Very green, and very verdant, and hence no surprise that you will find the European Union delegation -- absurdly staff whose diplomatic status supersedes that of ambassadors! -- there.

Here's their address:

European Union - Delegation of the European Commission in Ghana
81 Cantonments Road - Accra
P.O.Box 9505 - Airport - Accra - Ghana
Tel:+233 (0)21 774202/774094 / Fax:+233 (0)21 774154


I ended up going ALL the way to behind East Legon, near Madina, to this so-called "American House", where I was asked to pay a deposit of ø30,000, or thirty thousand cedis for pictures (36 films). Will be ready by Friday, but seeing as it's Good Friday, and hence a statutory holiday, must come for them on Tuesday.

Ouch.

Too bad there isn't a place closer!

I'm in Accra!

Ok, it's been, what, almost seven months now, but HELL! I'm in Accra, and its all so exciting! Pretty old feelings, maybe, but sue me...

Dig the huge umbrella held by security detail!

The President held a so-called People's Assembly today, whereby he answered questions from the public, and according to GhanaNewsToday.com, explained the Rationale behind Petroleum Increases".... I heard the thing live on CITI-FM97.3. Sadly no CITI Prime News @ Midday as the coverage had subsumed most of the usual programmes.

But enough about CITI-FM, even if it is the best station, IMHO, since I decided to leave Joy99.7FM and Komla Dumor...it's time to bring you the best and the latest news in Accra, the exciting city it is.

There's Jazz, if you like Jazz, and every Wednesday, CITI-FM-97.3 covers LIVE music of the salsa kind from the "Jazz Optimist" located near Ring Road, opposite Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

I'll do my best to pinch some pictures from Ghana websites, but for now, I guess that's all. The rain is doing its proverbial falling and falling VERY VERY hard.

Talk about cats and dogs.

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