Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Shopping

Last Wednesday I and three of the NY girls went to Accra to go to a bookshop and do some Christmas shopping. It is not like we can hop in a car and go to the mall though. We didn't have a driver, so we had to take the tro-tros into town. There are not scheduled bus stops or signs, you just have to know the places that the bus goes to. I have slowly learned the main stops over the last few months. However, this was my first time to navigate the tro-tros without a GHanaian companion. I have come back to VOH alone on the tro-tros, but not tried to find my way around town. It took about 2.5 hours of tro-tros and taxis to finally arrive at the bookshop. We were all crammed into the tro-tros with the locals in the hot sweaty van in the middle of horrific Accra traffic. One of the passengers brought a small cage of chicks on board, and suddenly we realized that there were birds under our seat! Tro-tros are always an adventure. Last time mine broke down in the middle of the road.

Real shops are minimal in Accra. Most people do all of their shopping from street vendors for everything from food to clothing. We made it to the arts center where there are stalls set up with Ghanaian merchandise for sale. Nothing has a set price, everything must be bargained for. It is a stressful process as their prices start out astronomical. I am getting better at it, and usually feel like I ended up with a good deal in the end. It certainly is a whole new definition of Christmas shopping. We had to carry everything on our laps on the way back. We looked quite a sight standing in line for the tro-tro at the Tema station with hundreds of Ghanaians. We did stop at Koala, a real grocery store for a few items. It is one of the only festivly decorated places in town. It was an all day excursion, with most of it being spent in the tro-tros to get there and back. Although the last leg of the return trip Araba picked us up as she was on her way back to VOH as well.

The other morning I was walking back from the beach at 6:45 through Fetteh and heard christmas music playing. First of all, that is incredibly rare here. Second of all, it was none other than the polka version of jingle bells. It was so funny to hear this song about snow and such in the midst of the already hot morning in the middle of Africa.

No comments:

Post a Comment