The First Meeting
Following our adventurous road trip through the borders of Seme, Aflao and Alakandji, we finally arrived at our Airbnb apartment in Accra. It’s true that there’s no place like home, but there are a few exceptions.
We gathered at the Sitting room upstairs after a brief tour of the apartment led by our host who competed favourably with the building in terms of sophistication. The goal of our gathering was to deliberate on how to negotiate with the driver our host had helped us contacted.
We wanted him to take us round Accra the next day and then to Cape Coast the day after. He insisted on doing everything for 600 Cedis. This got us all mad at first because that was way higher than the estimate our host had hinted us. But after Adesi and Precious did the maths, everyone had to pay a meager 85.7 Cedis each. This roughly translated to N7,000 per person but we thought it was fair. So we told him to come pick us.
Everyone slept like babies (except Chichi and Babajide who went clubbing all night). My phone was 89% charged but I still plugged it to a socket. It took many seconds before I recollected we were no longer in Nigeria.
Morning Soon Came
The driver kicked the mini bus to life at exactly 11am the next day. Of course Chichi was the last to join the bus and this got us all angry, but there was little we could do especially when she stepped out clad in her Nomadic Negro T-shirt sitting perfectly on her body like it were a part of her. Her full breasts further helped made the logo more beautiful than I’ve ever seen it on a souvenir.
The plan was to spend the whole day touring every relevant place in Accra- dedicating the next day to traveling to Cape coast, which was miles apart from Accra. We all were hungry (probably because we slept on an empty stomach), so it was only logical we made a stop at Las Palmas Restaurant in Central Accra.
11:15am Las Palmas Restaurant
I started feeling sleepy as soon as we settled into the bus due to how much I consumed. While everyone argued about who had the most delectable combo, Jide was more interested in the Ghanian ladies as he tucked his head out through the bus’ window to allow him full concentration. I was thorn between joining him or the food conversation but the sleep was proving more powerful.
“I’m now taking us to University of Accra, so you can (pronounced as ken) all see how beautiful the school is.” No one objected. I suspected the food had a hand in that. We were all full.
The farther we drove away from Central Accra, the closer we got to the University which only brought to my memory the kind of schools I usually saw in American movies. The environment was well spaced and everywhere was green except the buildings and tarred roads. I looked out for how Ghanian slay queens were like, but I saw none, they probably don’t move during the day. All we saw were nicely dressed ladies and gentlemen who cuddled their textbooks as they strolled towards different directions.
After driving round the school for many minutes, we stopped by the banking section to fetch some Cedis using our Nigerian master cards (I used Precious’ access bank master card because my Stanbic card didn’t work). With our pockets and purses now refilled, we continued through Kojo Thompson Rd with the intent to shop for a couple of things at popular Makola Market.
Makola Market was constructed in Accra in 1924, but 55 years after its creation, it was destroyed by the JJ Rawlings government because it was believed that some contraband items were being sold there. I remembered reading this in one of the numerous websites I binge on.
We all agreed to shop just for an hour and reassembled at the bus park so we could hit the road again. But 2 hours later, only 2 people were in the bus.
We were all sweaty and ready in the bus by 2:30pm. I could tell the driver wasn’t the happiest of men at that moment. But there was little he could do because we’ve paid to own his day.
As we rode towards Jamestown from the market, everyone fussed about what they’d bought. For me, I was only rich enough to get two handbags- one each for my mum and girlfriend, while I bought 3 purses for my 3 closest cousins. The jubilation stopped abruptly when our driver killed the engine. “We are now at Jamestown.” He said (still slightly unhappy).
In a literature I once read, Jamestown is one of the oldest districts in Accra. In fact, it was the proposed WW1 memorial garden where all fallen Ghanian soldiers were marked to be buried. This among many reasons made it the most popular Of all the 8 lighthouses in Ghana.
Like caged birds, we rushed out of the bus into the embrace of the fierce wind produced by the relentless waves of the sea. The locals fixed their gazes on us but we cared less about who was(n’t) watching.
We unanimously did a group photo shoot, banking on the giant light house as our background. Its red and white painting reminded me of our Accra home. I tried thinking about where the L-shaped sofa and shisha bar will fit inside the slender lighthouse but the wind clouded my thoughts, forcing me to abort the thoughts.
We left Jamestown after taking enough photos to last us for several centuries. Kwame Nkuruma Square was next. It’s a stone throw away from Jamestown.
Kwame Nkuruma Square
Though debatable, Kwame Nkuruma Square is the most important Monument in Ghana. The ground was where the first independence speech was made by the man whom it was named after.
Since we were foreigners, we each paid 10 Cedis (Ghanaians always paid half of that).
What would naturally catch the attention of any tourist was the The fountain made in form of an orchestra. It was a formation comprising of 14 squatting male flute players who followed the directive of the conductor. Water gushed continuously from their flutes as they played a tune none of us could hear nor vibe to. Behind them was the Golden statue of Kwame Nkuruma, pointing forward with one foot in front of the other.
Fun-seekers littered everywhere. From school children on excursion, to newly wedded, down to married couples who were just there to have fun. I even spotted a guy and a lady who sucked on one another’s lips without care. I felt the bulge in my jeans but was quick to call myself to order. I moved away briskly.
Kwame Nkuruma square was the highlight of our day. I pondered on both the amazing and sad stories told of him while we were in the mini memorial museum as we exited the Park for the Arts and Crafts Centre.
The Arts and crafts centre
This could have been a stroll but we insisted on driving down from the Nkuruma square just to see what the Arts and Crafts Centre in Accra looks like.
The scenery brought to life what I had always fantasized about how an ideal African arts market should look like- devoid of every form of modern infrastructure. Each stall had something unique about Africa and Africans, with an obvious bias for Ghana.
The only con of the market was the pricey items when compared with Makola. Nobody really bought anything except the 1 cedi strawberry youghourt which consoled us while the sun burnt us. We continued sucking and talking till we got to Freedom Park.
Kwame Nkuruma Square still remained my favourite until we got here. The closest edifice to this in Nigeria is the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos. But I must admit this was grander and more fascinating.
Whilst admiring how interesting an edifice it was, he walked up to us. “I can take you up up there if you want.” his name was Emmanuel. He wanted us to tip him so he could take us to the topmost part of the tower, so we agreed.
The view from the top was crazy. We literally could see from a Birdseye view what the landscape of Accra looked like. We took pictures till our Nikon camera battery couldn’t bear it again.
It was getting dark by the time we descended but we enjoyed our time up there. We contributed 2 cedis each to settle Emmanuel and he bolted away like he had just picked someone’s pocket. I can’t tell what exactly happened but he was more than happy. We watched in awe as his plum black figure disappeared into the streets of Accra.
“We have to go in time if we really want to see the Labadi Beach.” Our driver cried out as we strolled towards where the bus was parked. We laughed it off pretending we didn’t notice his frowning face. A smile would have helped him though.
Labadi Beach 6:15pm
We could tell this was the Elegushi of Ghana as we drove close to the parking area. The ticketing guys billed us 70 Cedis but we negotiated for 50. This amounted to each person paying 7 Cedis.
On sighting our bus, more than 6 people rushed towards us. They were all clad in different uniforms which I guessed represented the lounges they respectively worked. I was appointed to decide which lounge we’d go, so I chose to go with the lady who got to us last. She was the first to spot us, but the pile of sand on the floor denied her the chance of reaching us first. Her backside was also a crucial part of the problem. They were huge, well rounded and were too heavy for her legs. She clutched on me the moment she figured I had been handed the mantle by my team, and I followed her without minding if her lounge was the least attractive.
5 minutes later, we all settled at a dedicated table right at the beachfront and ordered for plenty sticks of gizzard and goat meat which we eased down our throats with bottles of stout, beer and soft drinks.
I took a solo stroll along the coastline which is one of my most favourite things to do at the beach, stealing conscious glances at the Ghanian ladies in their adorable Bikinis (yes I like girls). SS rode a horse while Jide and Precious sat at our table grooving along as Nigerian songs kept blaring from the speakers. Chichi and Folake were no where to be found and I didn’t bother looking for them.
It was now so dark by 7:45pm, so we all left for home except Adesi (who had gone to pass the night with his girlfriend in another part of Accra) and Folake (who went for a drink with a Ghanian guy she met at the beach). What a better way to end one’s day. The car was now more spacious, allowing the evening breeze blow our tipsy heads undisturbed.
We stopped by a corner shop to buy more of chicken thighs laced with ketchup and some bottles of drinks. Our driver finally smiled when I handed him some thighs and drinks. I had never seen him that happy all day long.
The sleep that night was the sweetest I’ve had outside Nigeria.
What you’ve just read is the second part of a story which started here.