ARE YOU PACKED? YOU TOOK YOUR SHOTS? LET’S GO GHANA! AND THE BEST PART IS… YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET A PASSPORT!
Day 22 – Shopping and Hangovers
I had a lovely lie-in after a night of walking and dancing. I wasn’t the only one soar. Mog and Kate went out last night and they were severely hung over. Mog was worst for wear and still intoxicated. Kate and I swapped stories of our night out before heading downstairs for breakfast. I mingled with some of the guests over pancakes and chocolate spread. After my breakfast and some reflection upon my time I have spent in Ghana, I met up with Nida, Marie, Yannick and Karla to head off the famous and busy Makola Market.
I flagged down a taxi that agreed to take all of us in their car and headed off in the afternoon sun to the market. The city traffic was chaotic and at a stand still as we approached Kojo Thompson Road. Cars, trotros and motorbikes were trying to weave in and out of traffic. Shoppers were walking through traffic and spilling off the roads and onto the sides of the roads. Vendors were hollering and selling everything you could think of. The taxi driver was growing impatient and asked us if we wanted to get out and when I refused, he then tried to convince me that Makola market was the Makola Shopping Mall. I told him I knew where I was going and that we will wait until we get to the market.
We finally got close to the edge of the market, paid the driver and got out. I turned to the group and reminded them to haggle and to stick together. Like children on a school trip, we walked in single file and held on to each other. The market was like a moving river teeming with life. I charged through the slow moving crowds, zig-zagged through rows and columns of shops and stalls.
When we got to the interior of the market, I asked the group what they wanted to buy. Karla wanted the belly jewellery after I explained and showed her what it was and how the Ghanaian women wear it. So we stopped a few stalls that sold beads but there were not varied in bright colours so Karla said she would wait until we get to another stall. Marie wanted black soap, cloth and a present for her dad’s birthday. As we passed through endless streets of sellers I felt lost. I turned to a lady selling face towels and asked where I can get kente prints and she said that we were close where they sell all on one street. I thanked her and as we were about to make our way, Nida said she wanted a face towel as the heat was intense for her and we had been walking for some time.
We turned left and headed to cloth sellers. Marie, Karla, Nida and I all bought cloth with beautiful designs. My purchase was a present for a close family friend and my nieces. The lady that was selling us our cloth was jolly and polite. She had me laughing with her humour. We waved her goodbye. Yannick asked if we could look for somewhere that sell kente bowties (like the one I brought for my step-father at the Art Centre). After searching in men ‘s fashion shops we turn our attention on heading to the trotro station nearby to head to Osu. As I followed the map to get to the station, we came across a woman selling belly beads and wooden bead jewellery. The group gathered around and pointed to things of interest to start haggling for a bargain. I bought a baby beaded bracelet for a friend’s newborn and a big wooden bead neck piece for myself. Karla bought her belly beads and the woman fitted it around Karla’s slender waist. Nida bought a wooden bead bracelet for herself. We thanked the woman and carried on our journey. Nida wanted to take pictures but I warned her it may not be a good idea because I felt people would be offended. She took out her picture and took a few snaps. An oncoming woman got angry and confronted her about taking pictures. Nida looked scared and put away her camera. I felt so bad.
We got to the station for the trotros but I was at the wrong end and asked a food vendor for directions. She summoned a young beautiful shaved head girl over and instructed her to take us to the bus we needed for Osu. As she led the way, I followed close behind trying to figure out how did people know where to go to catch the right bus. We whizzed passed people and sellers until we arrived at our bus. It was half filled and so we thanked the young girl and climbed in the minibus at the back. After waiting 10 minutes trying to leave, we were on our way to ‘Oxford street’ in Osu where you had the big hotels, fancy shops, markets and nightlife (where I was a few nights ago). As we passed through districts, I looked at the street names to make sure we got off at the right place. Nida asked if I was ok because I was quiet. I told her I was fed up of people in the group complaining all the time and doubting me. She empathised and showed her gratitude for me guiding her around. I felt appreciated and it lifted my mood.
We arrived at the top of Oxford Street and got odd. We walked towards Republic Bar from my memory where I saw market stalls. With a little help from the locals, we arrived at the small street market stalls packed with souvenir goodies, fashion clothes, accessories and shoes. Everything a person could fantasise about getting. Marie got her raw black soap and a present for her dad. Karla bought some jewellery with kente print. Yannick finally got a kente bow tie. Nida bought a beautiful Kenet print dress that looked stunning. And I got Kente cloth covered jewellery and a clutch bag. We haggled and haggled and bagged so many bargains. When we finally dragged ourselves away from the stalls it was night time.
We were all hungry and went in search for dinner. A man saw that we were lost and assisted us to some eateries that were open. I asked why so many shops were closed on Monday and he said it was a quiet day normally. We thanked him as we arrived outside a vegetarian restaurant. We were greeted and seated. We opened the menu and we all looked at each other. The prices were astronomical. Karla went to the loo and when she came back we got up and left. We burst out laughing and decided to get some ice cream across the road and go to the garden pub near our hostel.
As we came in the Italian cafe and ice cream parlour it was posh and decadent. I looked at the prices and again the prices were expensive. However, Nida and I went to the counter and ordered our 2 scoops of ice creams. Marie, Yannick and Karla ended up giving in and buying something sweet too. We left and hailed down a taxi and headed towards the beer garden in Kokomlemle. The taxi dropped the group off and I continued my journey to the hostel to get Kate and Mog to join us. When I got to the
When I got to the suite. Kate and Mog were in bed still suffering. Kate told me she had lost her purse and phone in a club last night. She looked really calm to my surprise. Molly was more animated but still not feeling well and still had not eaten for the day. Kate and I decided to down the road and get some food and bring back a takeaway for Mog. I told Marie I would not be joining the group as the girls were not able to come and I did not know how to get there by foot.
Kate and I came back with delicious Indomie noodles. We ate in the lounge area and chatted about our plans to come back to Ghana. Mog came down and joined us and ate. We spent the rest of the night chatting about life in England and our flights back home. I felt sad as tomorrow, my journey would come to an end. However, I was looking forward to being reunited with Hubert.
Stay tuned for my last day in Accra for more good times and adventures in the motherland.