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My African adventure

The real start to my trip

GHANA | Monday, 27 December 2010 | Views [389] | Comments [1]

I don’t think I’ve been anywhere more than once – apart from the odd holiday destination in years gone by. But then I’ve never stayed in one place outside of the UK for as long as the 4 months I was here earlier this year. But to be able to go back and visit that same place – but with very different eyes – has already been illuminating. Possibly starting with the hotel I’m staying in – the Paloma which was so upmarket to my backpacking budget that I could barely afford the pizzas at 12 GHC (about £6) let alone rest my bones each night. So here we are, booked in for the whole stay we’re in Ghana, and we are so disappointed in the standard of the place that we’ve decided to take our custom elsewhere! The rooms are decidedly tired-looking, the showers are positively dangerous and the breakfast which was described as a buffet (oh good, we thought, lots of fruit and yogurt ....)  consisted of eggs in differing iterations, scrumptious (not!) sliced white bread and that ubiquitous import from somewhere – luscious Liptons tea.

I’ve already been to visit Swedru and my host family. The reception I got from them was amazing – talk about seeing a long-lost friend. They all ran to greet me and hug me and honestly believe that I’ve been sent to them by G-d ... Little had changed other than Peggy, the youngest, is now married and is even pregnant. Bucket showers were the story of the day, along with the aforementioned (i.e. some time last year) manually-flushing WC. Poor quality TV on all day, the expected power cuts, the most amazing heat sitting in the lounge eating jollof rice and fish (some of you have now tasted this Ghanaian delicacy), with a fan churning round hot air  - but nevertheless it was pretty magic to be back and it felt as if I’d hardly been away. I went by tro-tro of course and was amused that this mode of transport hadn’t changed either (I don’t know why I thought it might have). I had bought the two little girls some Christmas dresses so they were able to wear them to church today – see the pix when I upload them. They were all hugely excited to see the pix I’d taken of Edu and Ishi’s baby brother who lives in London with their mum and dad – in fact Edu and Ishi will probably arrive in London in the spring, once their parents have found a bigger place to live to accommodate their growing family.

Now down to business – which after all, is why I’m here ... Gerald and Tayo arrived late on Thursday evening and we had a meeting arranged for early on Friday morning – luckily in true Ghanaian style, the person we were meeting was running late – but unusually for a Ghanaian, he called me earlier to let me know. The man is called Edem and he’s the Chairman of the Ghana Tourist Board as well as running his own hotel consultancy – I’d met him at the Ghana stand of the World Travel Market in November and he turned out to be a very good contact for us. We chatted about our business idea for ages and he was good enough to give us feedback, some advice and a promise of introducing us to others in his network after the new year. So far, so good. We’ve had a couple of days rest as it’s Christmas so it’s difficult to meet people. Back in business tomorrow and on Tuesday we’ve got a couple of specific meetings lined up. It’s absolutely essential that we’re here to do our research – it won’t do to speak to people by phone, personal contact is the thing.

So, we’ve started slowly but at least we’ve started. Time will tell whether it’s feasible but we’ll certainly give it our best shot.

Hope you’ve all had a peaceful festive season and wishing you all a great 2011.



All of this is all very well but you have failed to answer the (for me) essential question - does the Paloma still have that half-finished sign saying "Wel....."?

I am deeply envious and also strangely dislocated, sitting in the heart of the snow-capped French Alps reading about that all-encompassing Ghanaian heat!! Enjoy, keep up the blogging and send my love to Swedru xxx

  Wendy Dec 27, 2010 8:54 PM

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