Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ghana Part 2- First Full Day here

First let me state, for the record, that jetlag is crazy!

We crashed super early last night (way earlier than we should) which was understandable since we didn't get more than a few hours of sleep on the plane. Then we slept somewhat restlessly, only for me to be wide awake at midnight here. Obviously too early to get up.

I spent an hour or two looking at different things to see here, and thinking about where to go today, and then read some of my new book on my kindle, until about 2am.

At this point, I apparently was still crazy tired because then I fell back asleep, and slept until almost 10am. When I got up, I felt well rested, but awful. I am not sure if it was the heat, lack of food, crazy schedule or what, but I had a headache, and felt nauseous (sorry parents, don't panic, I'm okay, but just telling it like it is). Even though Blake was trying to get me to eat something so I could take my malaria pill, nothing sounded good, and the thought of eating made me want to throw up even more. At his urging, I took a bite of a protein bar, and got down my pill... only to go and throw up the food (and hopefully not the pill) a few minutes later.

After that lovely trip to the bathroom, we both decided it would be good for me to lay down and see if I felt better. I ended up falling asleep AGAIN, and then woke up again at about 1pm. I felt much better, was able to get a little food down, drank a bunch of water, and actually felt good enough to get out of the room and go somewhere!

I know that isn't the most pleasant start to our trip, but it is the bottom line truth of what crazy jetlag can do to you, not just sleep schedule, but how you feel as well.

We chose to go the Kwame Nkurmah (I probably spelled that wrong, but the slow internet means that I am NOT going to search for it and the right way to spell it) Museum and Memorial.

Probably the biggest thing that we did today was shop. Even though we try to be careful with our money, and know that logically we can't buy from everyone who asks us, it turns out to be really hard in practice, especially here!

First off, being white here is like a walking sign that says, "I am a tourist here." All day, we would have people walking us to us, guessing what country we are from, and just chitchatting with us. After this friendly greeting and welcome, all of a sudden you find out what they are selling. Saying no is practically impossible, as they just keep lowering the price until you agree! As a matter of fact, we haven't successfully said no to one of these friendly sellers yet. We had a few sellers who were less focused on introducing themselves and talking to us, and them we could decline.

So even before we got into the museum area, we had two people who had asked us our names so they could make us bracelets while we were in the museum. They are really cool bracelets, and the fact that they were made for us made them even more interesting. When we came back out to buy the bracelets, they tried to get us to buy more bracelets (and sigh, succeeded, we are such pushovers lol).

The museum itself was very interesting. Basically it was a museum honoring their first president who was also responsible in part for making Ghana a country free and separate from England. Imagine if George Washington had become our first president not in the 1700's but in the 1950-60's, what would be in his museums. First off, there were plenty of pictures, which makes sense because cameras were common in that time, but it was still pretty crazy to see their president dancing with Queen Elizabeth, or talking with Kennedy and Castro (two different pictures). They even had his car, a blue Cadillac, which again, makes sense because of the era he became president.

The whole museum and memorial were surrounded by trees and fountains (which we didn't take pictures of because it would have cost us 10 U.S. dollars just for the right to take those pictures) but it was a scenic enough place that we saw probably 4 different wedding parties taking pictures there.

Around the same time we were being asked our names for the bracelets, a few guys from the arts center next door introduced themselves and asked us to come and look at their items. We agreed to look after the museum, and they were fine with that.

So we honored our word and walked over there afterwards, only to be greeted by new people trying to lead us to their items for sale. We started walking with the new guys, but then the guys who had introduced themselves before the museum saw us, reminded us of our word, and we went with them. As we walked, one of the new guys tried to persuade us not to buy from them because they are kind of like ebay (my words, not his) where they buy items like the kind that he makes, and then tries to sell it at a higher price.

Still, as I mentioned above, we can't say no. Not just our personalities, but our persuasive salesmen make it very near impossible to say no. Besides, we truly love the craftsmanship here in Ghana, and want to buy a lot!

We walked away with only a few items from that shop, though they of course wanted it to be more, and then went with our new people to their booth.

These guys were awesome! Totally worth the experience (and the money). They played the drums for us, and gave us a drumming lesson of our own. I was better at it than Blake, and for the most part I was able to keep up as they kept the basic rhythm going faster and faster! Definitely a take home memory, playing the drums in Ghana. We then, of course, needed to buy a drum of our own.

But of the three drummers that we were spending time with, though they all play, they actually all have their own businesses. One of them was a painter, so we had to buy one of his paintings, then another guy was a basket maker and showed us how to make a basket, so of course we bought a basket. Actually, by the time the basket guy showed us his products, we literally were out of Ghanian money, so we told them that we had to go to an ATM before we could pay him for the basket. These nice guys were willing to escort us to get the money (and yes, it was escort, because if it wasn't for them we would have had another group of people trying to convince us to buy from them).

They even haggled with a taxi driver for us to get a better rate for our ride back to the hotel.

After we went back to our hotel, put our newly bought items down, we decided we really needed to eat.

I had read online about an Italian restaurant called Mamma Mia's with good reviews, and we enjoyed our comfort food there a lot, especially since it was really the first time I had eaten all day. I had spaghetti and Blake had pepperoni pizza.

The general market was right around the corner, so we decided to walk there to get our (apparently daily) supply of water, and a few other supplies. On the way there we had some more super friendly salesman introduce themselves to us. So we bought another painting and bracelet lol!

Over dinner, we did discuss it, and decided that we really like supporting the Ghanian economy, and we hope for this to be a once in a lifetime trip, so it isn't bad to get lots of items to remember the place and celebrate it in our homes. Also, if there is going to be any regret, I would rather it be us spending too much money, but having lots of items, rather than "I wished we had gotten ___," when we can no longer get the item at all.

You might notice that there are no pictures with this post. Well, it seems that though there is internet, which I am super thankful for, it isn't great, and some sites are worse than others. The normal site that I upload my pictures on to put in posts is one of the ones that doesn't want to work. So, this week, I will be uploading to a shutterfly site, and then I will go back and fill in pictures later on the blog, once we are home.

To see our pictures so far, and keep looking here for the week, go to:

1 comment:

  1. Drink lots of bottled water :)

    -Grant and Amy