What happened before: we ate, we drank, we ate some more and we were lazy. Yep, sounds about right if you’ve read part 1 of our Ghana holiday series! But before the year gets to end, there shall be more brunch!
Seeing how brunch seems to be the most important meal during the Ghanaian Christmas season (keep pretending you’d get up in time for breakfast, do you?), we were thrilled to learn that The Debonair Disciple hosted a fundraising brunch to collect money to help with a specific laptop oriented need of the Marfo Children Care Foundation. Eating to improve the world? Count us in!
It was great to meet people again, subtly still connecting faces with corresponding names, and just have a great day at the AM&PM at Villagio. Fueled by Mimosas the time was flying until the brunch culminated in Waakye and happy faces.
Tea Baa – Yeah but that iced tea tho
I’ve already mentioned Tea Baa before in context of the Brunch en Blanc where they did sangria and hosted a bar during the after party but there’s a drastic need to further elaborate! Tea Baa is mainly an actual bar and it is absolutely worth a visit. Let’s face it, we all wanted to have fancy iced teas with amazing flavors, spiked with booze and served in mason jar style glasses (where’s my Pinterest girls at?!).
Flavors are all over the place in the good way, no matter what floats your boat you will find a perfect match. I’m actually completely blown away by the straight up iced tea and managed to drink three in the time Dupsy had one. You can either sit inside or outside, an option I really missed at a lot of places. Call me crazy but I enjoy basking in the slight heat of the night, relaxing outside while having a cold drink. But then I’m also washed down with mosquito repellent with no spot skipped.
You can also get food at Tea Baa but I can’t judge, we only went to have drinks. I heard good things from other though. It’s surprising how little time three weeks can be with so much to experience!
Harmattan, dust and delicate European boys
When we were on our Thailand trip in August 2016 I operated under the same principles as always. Eat anything that looks good or daring, try to experience everything. That also included good looking but surprsingly dry and brittles textured shrimp that gave a savage food poisoning. 3 days of fever and vomiting, a loss of 4kg bodyweight within the trip and a week of antibiotics. So far so good, everyone has some bad luck eventually and I was overdue considering the countries I’ve been to in the past without falling ill.
Before my trip to Ghana I had to fresh up some of my vaccinations, namely yellow fever. My visit to the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute gave off the vibe that no one expects you to make it back alive from West Africa. In the end I got 5 vaccinations even though I already had a sizable amount of stickers in my beautiful yellow collection album (I’d rather collect Pokemon though) and a whole list of warning flyers what to avoid. Can’t swim in fresh water, mosquitoes during the day give you dengue and then malaria at night, eating at many places will poison you, venturing out into the street will get you run over and people from the North will unwillingly kill you by meningitis. Roughly.
As always, I just shrugged and behaved according to normal, logical thinking. What I didn’t consider was the Harmattan. In the second week of our trip I started to have exceeding issues to breath, not due to a runny nose but the feeling that my lung just doesn’t suck oxygen out of the air as it’s supposed to. Despite my decided demands that I’ll be fine in a day if I keep taking DayQuil (hint: pretending “tomorrow it’ll be better” doesn’t work for 3 days in a row) Dupsy dragged me to a doctor early in the morning after her mother’s clear order that Pipo can’t die in Ghana. So well, turned out I actually had a strong bacterial respiratory tract infection, most likely due to Harmattan and my simple not being used to it.
I got fixed up quickly by taking antibiotics, cough syrup, DayQuil, NyQuil and nose drops while staying away from alcohol (does this sound like your idea of the perfect vacation? Call me now, I can hook you up!) but I think it should clearly be a consideration for people with asthma. Check the season you travel to the region and be aware that the Harmattan might pose some issues for you!
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
One of the must-see cultural sight seeing spots in Accra is the Kwame Nkruma Memorial Park where the mausoleum is located. Here lie the remains of Kwame Nkrumah, who died in April 1972. He proclaimed Ghanaian independence in 1957 when they stopped being a British colony and went on to be the first president of the Republic of Ghana and a strong supporter of the idea of Pan-Africanism. After a coup in 1966 he lived in exile in Guinea where he served as honorary co-president. After his death, he was buried in his birth village Nkroful but his remains were later relocated to the mausoleum in Accra where he lies with his wife next to him.
A small museum exhibits memorabilia out of his belongings, from letters he wrote over clothes to his office desk. Extensive wall charts give information about the steps of his life. Also, there’s peacocks. Modupe tried to pet them but they didn’t seem too fond of these efforts. Who can blame them, they probably fear getting eaten.
The Memorial Park lies conveniently located, you can easily combine a visit with a trip to Black Star Square and getting drinks into a single afternoon.
All White events and weddings
Oh Ghanaians, you aren’t a people of understatement, let so much be said. In the short time we visited, exaggerated by the holiday season, there was a plethora of All White events, engagement parties and weddings. Every time I looked over Dupsy’s shoulder while she kept up with her Snapchat, it was a déjà-vu of fancy celebrations.
There was a strong tendency towards a dress code of white everything, as you might have already been aware if you followed The Debonair Disciples Accra holiday guide on Instagram. I was well prepared, having overcome the issue of my favorite clothing store losing my custom made off-white pants in logistics despite ordering just in time for the trip by getting some other white pants, packing white jeans and a bunch of white dress shirts but I actually got some more choice when I received a long white kaftan as a present.
It was actually interesting to see that even when social gatherings didn’t specify any dress code, people naturally gravitated towards coming dressed in white. I’m not going to complain, people looked dashing but I simply never encountered this phenomenon here in our home region. One could easily get used to it which would be tragic, considering how “upscale hobo” seems to be most people’s favorite outlines of dress where we live, even for nightlife outings in many bars and clubs.
On one occasion I tested the boundaries of my heat resistance in suit and tie for a wedding ceremony with following outdoor reception and later (luckily indoorsy) dinner. It was the biggest wedding I’ve ever seen with what I’d estimate 700 invited guests during dinner. Partying in Ghana was on a different scale then I’ve had experienced it before. Is it social pressure to outdo your peers when it comes to weddings? As my friends know, I’m not exactly a wedding/funeral goer so I have limited experience but I could easily imagine ways to put those funds necessary into better use (e.g. months of honeymoon).
New Years Eve between “let’s take it easy” and “damn it’s lit!”
We started into the last day of the year with no clear plan what to do. We are generally not that motivated towards huge RSVP / buy tickets evening events, it’s just convenient to play it by ear as the day progresses. That’s maybe why our weekend plans turn from “party hard” to “Netflix in bed” rather quickly over the course of a week. The definitive start was set at having a nice family dinner at home and then going out for drinks. Nothing too crazy, just some recreational bumming around.
After having a delicious dinner including repeated proof that Ghanaian joloff is the best, we were ready to hit the street.
To start out we went to Tea Baa again where we had a great time with those delicious iced tea cocktails I mentioned earlier. Cutely decorated occupation of the street with music by a DJ, what could you ask more for? We stayed there until well after midnight, welcoming the new year with friends.
Besides a night of disoriented club hopping we were rather tame so far on this trip so we decided to move on a while later. Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, apparently the only 5 star hotel within Accra, was hosting a New Years Eve party and we knew friends would be there so we set off.
What followed was a really curious night. Kempinski offered entrance fee including unlimited cocktails, unlimited soft drinks and finger food for just 350 Cedi which was a rather good price for what was offered. Music was a bit slow when we arrived (which felt like 10pm but was actually after 1am) and eventually there was some technical issue that led to 10 minutes of silence. The party then filled up to a perfect level, it was neither empty nor crowded but at that sweet spot where the atmosphere is intoxicating but you still can always find space to dance. We managed to drum up a group to acquire a table including 6 bottles of liquor of choice; to our surprise we even got our entrance fees deducted from the table charge. We had a blast right up to the point where we had to exchange Hennessy for more Moët due to the simple fact that no one really wanted to drink anymore. Eventually even the best parties end and we got the opportunity to have complimentary breakfast before tiredly heading home at some point after 6am.
That’s how our 2016 ended and we lived happy ever after if we didn’t get run over by a trotro. But wait, somewhere in between there was 2017! See how we started into the new year in part 3 of this story.