Monday, October 2

Good morning all!  We've completed our first day in the office and things are going well.  Here's a summary of today's non-work related activities.

The drive in took us to the "Ministries" district from the "Cantonment" district.  They apparently divide the city into 5 rough areas based on the primary occupants of that area.  Not quite sure what "cantonment" means yet.

And take heart, we may be away, but we can still get a cold one when necessary:  the prices are in cedis.

Driving around is much less scary than driving in India - the cars are in substantially better shape, there are many fewer people on the street, and while there's traffic jams, there are also a lot more stop lights. 

But Tata has a presence here as well- but this truck wasn't packed with 20 people like you'd see in Mumbai.

Some new office blocks going up.  Yep, wooden scaffolding again.

Who needs to go to the mall?  You can buy anything you need while you wait at the stop light.  Lots of Volkswagen as well.

Typical signage for a turnoff.

An apartment block.

During our walkaround we had opportunity to go on the roof of the building, which is 13 stories tall, making it one of the taller buildings in Accra.  Here's the view from up top.  Pardon the big black steel bar in some of the pix, it's the track for the window cleaning system and hangs outside the building.

A view to the southwest toward a dock.  The boats in the water are large canoes used by fishermen.

View to the west, mostly low buildings and there seems to be a something going on in the bottom right.  Not sure if it's a market or a car park.

Cleared land for a new hotel.

Some ministry buildings

View to the north, starting to see some hills.  It also looked like rain, but never did.  At least where we are, things don't look bad at all.

A view northeast.

To the southeast, I'm prettu sure this is Independence Square and Independence Arch, which Lonely Planet calls "a monolithic replica of the Arc de Triomphe, beneath which the Eternal Flame of African Liberation, lit by Nkrumah, still flickers."  A memorial to the unknown soldier is opposite the arch.  The Square is a memorial to a colonial event when "3 ex-servicemen were shot while attempting to present grievances to the governor in a peaceful demonstration."

This is a new stadium being built to hold the African Games in 2007, a soccer championship.  I hear Ghana kicked the US's butt in the World Cup this year?

More apartments

This is Osu Castle, built by the Danes around 1659, is now the seat of government and off-limits.  Yet you can take a decent picture with a digital camera...  They called it "their White House".

In this picture, to the right of the building with the glass facade, you'll see a grey swooping structure.  This is Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.  There's a famous statue of him which we'll see before we leave.  He was the secretary-general of the country's leading political party in 1949 and helped rally the people to gain independence from Britain, afterward he was the leader of the government.  He also set aside the former name of the country "Gold Coast" and renamed it to Ghana, the name of the first great empire in West Africa, famed for wealth and gold.

CJ hard at work!

Local beverages - diet coke (Coke Light) in arabic, and Voltic spring water.  No nasty side-effects yet.

Lunch was from Frankie's- "Chicken Platter"-

Turns out to be coated in green chilis and in the blue tub is a very very spicy chili sauce.  Good.  And again, no nasty side-effects.  In case it was scary, we also ordered a pepperoni pizza, which had thick-cut fatty pepperoni on it, which was pretty good.  CJ preferred the pizza, I'm split between them.

A memorial to independence.

And some more traffic - you can also see the price of gas here and below, the price is per litre. Works out to a bit more than $3 a gallon.

Off the main road is where some people live in less than pristine housing.

The Gulf of Guinea.  Our hotel has a large fence on the beachside and I walked up to it this morning.  Within 20 seconds I had a crowd of people reaching thru the fence to try to sell me stuff.  Lonely Planet says that the surf is harsh with a dangerous riptide.

And this is the hotel - each hut has about 10 hotel rooms in a semi-circle.  My room faces the Gulf.

A few other notes - while I was typing this our building lost power for about a minute.  Good thing the laptop battery is still good.  And when we came to the office today, we were told we were on generator power since they lost power this morning.

And one other one - the local CNN version has ads for domestic businesses, and one of them touts themselves as being the best marketer in "the Middle East".  Am I in the Middle East?  I didn't think so, but I guess more research is in order.

That's it for today.  See you all soon!