Seeing the Sea

GHANA ON WEST Africa, is located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean. After a month in Accra, we had our first glimpse of the sea. Less than half an hour’s drive from home we found ourselves driving along Labadi Road along the coast, in full view of the lovely sea and clear blue skies.

My first glimpse of the sea.

My first glimpse of the sea.

Looking out into the Gulf of Guinea.

Looking out into the Gulf of Guinea.

On-going development of a new hotel fronting the beach and sea.

Seeing plenty of thrash too along the road.

Seeing plenty of thrash too along the road.

And even items for sale!

And even items for sale!

Another view along Labadi Road.

Another view along Labadi Road.

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Akwabaa to Accra

AKWABAA means “WELCOME” in Ghana’s local dialect Ashanti which is part of the Akan language, one of the many languages in this western African nation of 24 million people.

Today marks our one-month stay in Ghana’s capital Accra, and we’ve indeed been made to feel very much at home. Other than the kids missing family, friends, teachers and neighbours back home, everything else here feels like home.

The weather is just like home – hot and sunny, a little windier; the people are warm and friendly, just like home; the houses here too look like what we have back home; even the traffic congestions are just like home 🙂 Ghanaians love spicy food too.

Driving through its city areas, there are business centres, five star hotels, highways and a spurt of high-rise buildings. There are supermarkets and malls, but there’s only one mall in Accra that has escalators, to date – Marina Mall was opened just last year. Everything appears to be just like home… perhaps in the ‘70s.

But where we are staying now, the sceneries are reminiscent of a drive through our kampungs back home. Banana trees and coconut trees are visible everywhere. I wake up daily to the chorus of chickens’ crows.

Dirt roads are common and wooden shacks (like our squatters) are prevalent too, cramped between luxurious brick homes with huge compounds.

I am sure there are more to Accra once I get to explore it better, but for now, these are my encounters with “All things Ghana”…

Its currency called Ghana Cedi.

Its currency called Ghana Cedi.

Its newspapers.

Its newspapers.

Marina Mall in Airport City, opened in 2013 and is the only shopping mall with escalators, to date!

Marina Mall in Airport City, opened in 2013 and is the only shopping mall with escalators, to date!

Ta da…eyeing over its escalators!

Ta da…eyeing its escalators!

In Marina Mall, we got out first meal of KFC (23 April 2014).

In Marina Mall, we got out first meal of KFC (23 April 2014).

Ghana’s locally-made ice-cream, sold at Marina Mall Supermarket for GHc16.25 (RM20) for a 2-liter tub.

Ghana’s locally-made ice-cream, sold at Marina Mall Supermarket for GHc16.25 (RM20) for a 2-liter tub.

The first of its kind in Africa - an aeroplane-turned-restaurant, the Ghana Airways DC-10 plane is grounded across Marina Mall. The national airline went bankrupt in 2005 and according to reports, this "Green Plane" as it is known locally, was left impounded in London's Heathrow. It was finally brought back and turned into a restaurant "La Tante DC 10 Restaurant” which has proven to be quite a hit since its opening in November 2013.

The first of its kind in Africa – an aeroplane-turned-restaurant, the Ghana Airways DC-10 plane is grounded across Marina Mall. The national airline went bankrupt in 2005 and according to reports, this “Green Plane” as it is known locally, was left impounded in London’s Heathrow. It was finally brought back and turned into a restaurant “La Tante DC 10 Restaurant” which has proven to be quite a hit since its opening in November 2013.

A scenery reminiscence of our “kampung” (village) - banana and coconut trees abound! And it’s my kitchen window view! (30 April 2014)

A scenery reminiscence of our “kampung” (village) – banana and coconut trees abound! And it’s my kitchen window view! (30 April 2014)

A local meal at Afrikiko’s TamTam… (Top, L-R) Red Red (beans stew with a choice of beef/chicken/smoked fish), eaten with plaintain; jollof rice (spiced rice); (Bottom) Fried tilapia seasoned with local herbs eaten with jollof rice. (10 May 2014)

A local meal at Afrikiko’s TamTam… (Top, L-R) Red Red (beans stew with a choice of beef/chicken/smoked fish), eaten with plaintain; jollof rice (spiced rice); (Bottom) Fried tilapia seasoned with local herbs eaten with jollof rice. (10 May 2014)

Homes and offices are surrounded by high brick walls, topped with barbed wires or electric wires and metal gates, much like this one. (29 April 2014)

Homes and offices are surrounded by high brick walls, topped with barbed wires or electric wires and metal gates, much like this one. (29 April 2014)

A prevalent scene of peddlers making a living on the streets, selling items off their heads, especially at traffic lights junctions. (Along Spintex Road, Accra, 3 May 2014)

A prevalent scene of peddlers making a living on the streets, selling items off their heads, especially at traffic lights junctions. (Along Spintex Road, Accra, 3 May 2014)

Water tankers such as this one come to the rescue (at a price, of course) when residents run out of water, and water shortage is a common occurrence here. (27 April 2014)

Water tankers such as this one come to the rescue (at a price, of course) when residents run out of water, and water shortage is a common occurrence here. (27 April 2014)

Alas, the high cost of living too… (front page of Daily Graphic, Wednesday 30 April 2014)

Alas, the high cost of living too… (front page of Daily Graphic, Wednesday 30 April 2014)

More May Bazaars

BAZAARS AND MAY seem to go hand in hand. I remember partaking in the annual bazaar of the Asia-Pacific Women’s Group (APWG) in Moscow, Russia, held in May, for three years.

APWG Fair, Moscow on 28 May 2005.

APWG Fair, Moscow on 28 May 2005.

APWG Fair, Moscow on 20 May 2006. The Korean stall selling our favourite kimchi. Kimchi is described as “One of the world’s healthiest food” by US Health Magazine.

APWG Fair, Moscow on 26 May 2007.

APWG Fair, Moscow on 26 May 2007.

“Warna Warni” One Malaysia Fair, Hong Kong, 21-23 May 2010.

“Warna Warni” One Malaysia Fair, Hong Kong, 21-23 May 2010.

Browsing a Bazaar

STILL NEW IN town, we checked out a bazaar held in a school in Cantonment on Saturday, 10 May 2014. There were many stalls set up by locals, so it was a good opportunity to get to know its local arts and crafts; apart from sampling a variety of food and drinks sold there.

We were there early so there was hardly any crowd.

We were there early so there was hardly any crowd.

Many stalls such as this, selling local souvenirs.

Many stalls such as this, selling local souvenirs.

Colourful materials much like our sarong batik, sold as it is, or turned into table runners, mats, napkins, etc.

Colourful materials much like our sarong batik, sold as it is, or turned into table runners, mats, napkins, etc.

Antique-looking artefacts. 

Antique-looking artefacts.

There were jewellery and books.

There were jewellery and books.

Baskets, big and small.

Boxful of second-hand books going for GhC1 each (RM1.20).

Boxful of second-hand books going for GhC1 each (RM1.20).

Second-hand clothes too.

Second-hand clothes too.