As obvious as it may seem I always try to remember that you can only see a place for the first time once. From then on you have already re-adjusted your expectations, recalibrating to your surroundings. I knew that Ghana would be completely different from Singapore but I’m still fighting frustration (and perhaps jetlag).
Accra is not unlike other developing cities, a sprawling urban mass with busy roads and non-existent pavements. People sell goods as you wait at the traffic lights, passing them in through the car window. You can buy anything from water to fruit, toilet paper, socks, snacks, windscreen wipers, mobile phone top ups, if they can balance it on their head to walk around then they will sell it.
Rubbish lies around, abandoned vehicles are left to rust and it seems to be perfectly acceptable for men to urinate right by the side of the road. I’ve seen all this before in developing parts of South East Asia, I just haven’t seen it in a place I was planning to live.
My first day of apartment hunting was interesting, from their point of view it seemed to involve getting as many people as possible to do the job of one person, but I guess that keeps people employed. For most of the viewings I had 3-4 people following me around, how do I then tell them all that what they are showing me is pretty crap!
Today I got my driver to take me to a local mall and then the Botanical Gardens, they were a little rough and ready as you might expect. I was stopped shortly after entering the gardens, pretty much as soon as I took my camera out, and asked to pay. I refused, thinking it was a scam and so he asked me to leave. I called his bluff and headed for the gate, then once he was out of sight hung around for a bit photographing the dragonflies. The whole time I kept looking around expecting someone to show up and tell me off, not exactly relaxing! This whole experience made me realise that it would be hard to not grow pessimistic. Always suspicious that you might be getting ripped off or tricked. Something tells me this place might toughen us up!