I am often surprised at the odd mixes of Western and African I see on my travels. One day itâ€™s the Togolese’s National Run to the Border Day and the next, itâ€™s a skateboard park in Accra where Rollerbladers rule.
As it often happens, I was not looking for the Cowbell Skate Ramp when I found it. I was expecting to go from one business meeting to the next, but when you’re offered the chance to explore Ghana with a local, you always accept the ride. But when Denise pulled into the International Trade Fair Centre, I was first somewhat disappointed. I’d been there before, and it wasn’t much. Then I saw the skate park.Read More
I love me some propeller planes. Unlike big jet aircraft that feel like they are shoved into the sky, prop airplanes feel like they glide into the heavens. As my CityLink flight to Kumasi, Ghana took off from Kotoka International Airport, I sat back and relaxed, free of my usual fear of flying.
Yes, you read that right, world-traveling Wayan is scared of flying. In fact, I hate the whole concept of flight, from hurtling through too-thin-to-breathe air inside a metal tube to the horrid nightmare of it falling from the sky to certain death. I only do it, as itâ€™s the only way to get from one continent to another. Past that, I’ll take the train, thanks.Read More
When I could not get though to confirm my next appointment, I decided it was time to dry clean my pants. After two weeks in Africa, these dress pants had become, well, not so clean, and so I headed back to Asylum Down, the neighbourhood where I was staying in Accra.
The day before, I had asked around at Busy Internet, and heard of a reputable dry cleaner, Morton Dry Cleaning. Yet on Friday, when I asked to go there, the taxi driver didn’t know where the dry cleaner was – he didn’t even know what dry cleaning is! He kept offering to have his wife wash my pants, so when I got to Asylum Down, I started walking, looking for Morton’s by asking people as I went.
It turns out that few Ghanaians know about dry cleaning.Read More
While trapped in an African Go Slow, you have the opportunity to see many things. Besides the colorful scenery of cars stuck in traffic, there are waves of street hawkers trying to sell all manner of consumer goods.
Everything from drinks and snacks to bathroom fixtures and even condoms and porn. But I’ve never seen this odd little thing I bought in an Accra Go Slow:Read More
Now you could imagine that the US presidential race is of interest to Africans. Maybe more than Americans, Africans look to our democratic process as hope and validation of the possible – benevolent leadership that is responsive to its electorate.
And it’s no secret that Africans loved Bill Clinton. As President, he put Africa on the political map and was deeply concerned with the continent. Bush on the other hand has mixed reviews.
Yes, he seems to push for more US government support, like Presidentâ€™s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative, yet wars in Iraq and Afghanistan do nothing to ender Africa’s Muslims.
The candidacy of Barack Obama is a whole other scene.Read More
I am sitting in yet another “go slow” amazed that Ghanaian businessmen can waste so much time. When I was told we were going to the freight forwarder’s office, I groaned, knowing the traffic jam that surrounds his office.
When I complained that it would take us at least an hour each way, he countered with the correct but inaccurate, “What’s the problem? It is two kilometers from here.” While that is the true distance, the complete gridlock on those two kilometers will waste most our day.
And yet here we sit, inching along at 1 kilometer an hour, my life flashing before my eyes. The big boss man, he is stoic, looking out the window lost in thought, or at least calm. His complete disregard for time is not unique.Read More