Today we went to the “Arts Center’ in Accra. Before you get any fancy ideas in your head, this was basically the grand bazaar like in Istanbul but run down and ramshackle. As our driver for the day, Gilbert, pulled up in the dusty, dirty area around the market, vendors came running to convince us to visit their stall and even though I’ve experienced that before in China and Turkey, it was overwhelming and exhausting.
Ghanians (or at least people in Accra) have a great handshake – shake, grip, bump and then as you pull your hand away, you grab a finger on the other man’s hand with hour thumb and forefinger and snap your fingers on their finger (it means you are welcome). Everyone wants to shake your hand and at one point, Gilbert took me to one side and warned me of the cleanliness and disease issues. I scrubbed like a surgeon when I got back to the hotel several hours later.
I’ve been to poor countries before but I’ve never been to such a raw developing country like Ghana. Open sewers in the street, no street signs or street lights, heavy pollution…remember there are 6 million people here in the city (24 million nationwide).
We went to a non-touristy market in the city center after the Arts Center where I was literally the only white person. Several times today referred to as a white – I love it. My first taste of being a visible minority (canadian and gay being my invisible minorities). As we walked through the maze of stalls, people would turn and look and some would call out “welcome” as we went by.
Tomorrow we’re leaving Accra and driving about two hours out to the worksite where we’ll be for the next two weeks. Not sure we’re going to find wifi there (which sounds really dumb). Stay tuned.
PS. I’m taking pics but this Internet connection can’t handle the uploads
PPS. I continue to sweat
Over and out.