Arriving in Accra

First day in Ghana
- 7 March 2013 -

Getting to Accra was done with Namibia Airlines, via Windhoek. The flight left from OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg on the 6th March 2013 at 12:30 pm, and 2 hours later we were at Windhoek's international airport, then had to wait till 16:20 to climb on the plane to Accra. We arrived at 20:20 in Accra, but 2 hours west of South Africa that would be  22:20 in SA, that means almost a 10 hour journey.

As we approached Ghana and started the decent for landing, the airconditioner in the plane started doing some strange stuff. At first it was mild, a fine mist coming from the vents above, but as we got closer to the runway it got dramatically worse, to a point where it looked like a "nightclub special effect". I was curious to the reason for this so I turn to a traveling pilot sitting behind me in the business class section of the plane and asked why does it look like the plane is smoking... from the inside? Turns out this is due to the humidity of the air in Accra. I peered out the window to see water streaking from the window almost as if it was raining... but it wasn't! This was the first hint at what to expect from a climate perspective.

As I stepped off the plane, the humidity was unbelievable, it felt as if I just walked into an extremely hot sauna.... I was engulfed by hot, thick, wet air, giving me a taste of what to expect for the coming days (and nights!). 

The cool airconditioned environment was a relief. Turns out I was in Ghana is the hottest month of the year. I have been to Dubai and it was hotter and also humid, but the humidity in Ghana is worse and I would much rather have warmer temperatures and less humidity. 

Back in my hotel room it was nearing on 23:00, but the first thing I did was take a shower. The brief periods between the airconditioned airport, taxi and hotel had made my clothes and skin sticky. The second thing I did was take a photo... mainly just to check if all the settings were correct. 

Although it is hot and humid, I was in a new country and that for me is always exciting.

The next morning I woke up bright and early and headed to the office. It was a normal day at a new office... besides the climate and when the day was done I headed back to the Hotel to take another shower, but as soon as I could I ventured to the pool bar area to relax and have a drink.

First thing I noticed is they have doves.... nothing exciting, they are pretty much the same as the ones back home. The pool area and bar was nice, with a massive pool where travellers were finishing off their day of tanning, who were clearly not here for work purposes.

I messaged Zima, who was traveling with me to join me at the pool bar for a drink, while I waited I ordered and enjoyed a local beer, "Club". Soon it was dark and clearly Zima was taking her time, but between the massive pool, rustic designed bar and the humid climate, I could have just as easily been on a tropical island, so I was patient (besides I had my camera to play with).

It was soon dark (but don't think that that makes any difference to the weather) and Zima finally arrived. Although the service sucked, I ordered another drink and had a small snack (I wasn't really hungry), and discussed what we were going to do for our first "real" evening in Ghana.

When we were in the taxi coming from the airport we noticed a music event "Ghana Music Week 2013" outside the national theatre, which is right next to the Hotel, so we decided to go see what was happening. It was already 21:30 by this time but there was still plenty of activity.

When we arrived, there was play on the go but this didn't last long so we found a seat close to the stage and I whipped out my camera.

The next event was a local band, I was eager to get a whiff of the local music. Obviously all was sung in their local language (not sure what it was, as they have 11 official or widely spoken languages), but with music that doesn't really matter. The music was kind of rock'y and pleasing to my ears.

The lead vocalist was a Ghanaian lady with a good voice, and she was also pleasing to my camera lens.

The next act was a shirtless comedian, focusing his comedy towards the kids in the crowd.

Zima's husband is Ghanaian, so although I didn't understand a word of what he was saying, Zima was able to partially follow and translate the act. The comedian pulled two kids from the crowd to entertain the rest.

It was clearly working. The crowd was mainly young males, and they were enjoying the involvement of their peers. Zima and I did wonder why they were here at 22:00 in the evening. Wasn't it school the next day, shouldn't they be in bed sleeping? But then again, the 6th was a public holiday, Independence Day, which is a very big deal in Ghana, so maybe the schools were closed for the remainder of the week.

After the comedy, the music continued and the kids danced.

The show was clearly coming to an end for the day, so Zima and I decided to head back to the Hotel. I hadn't slept much the previous night... when in a new country or environment, I normally don't get much sleep, so I was pretty tired and we had a long day of work ahead of us.

Besides the fact that they didn't have a smoking room available for me the comfortable bed was welcomed, I fell asleep almost immediately, my introduction to Ghana was finished.

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