I was driving behind a long vehicle this morning which was travelling at a very slow pace, and think that the driver intentionally wanted to piss me off by driving to my destination. I wondered why there is a sticker on the back saying Long Vehicle when it is rather obvious that, that is what it is. Don’t worry, I am not going to write a blog about long vehicles however, nope today I am going to write about a recently rekindled love.
As you know I have been grappling with the idea of going back to the UK, although the cedi has appreciated somewhat against the dollar, the desired improvement in the cost of living remains the same, or even worse. The preceding months meant that cost of goods has almost doubled in price to recoup for the previous hike and well as Lisa Stansfield put it, the only way is up, so really we are not feeling the effects if anything it has probably getting worse. Even a ball of kenkey which used to be 50 pesewas is now 1 cedi, utility prices have also gone up even though we are receiving little service and although the gas prices have gone down, the unruly traffic means that we don’t really see the benefits.
I have however, had the fortunate pleasure of hitting town. Even in an economic crisis, Ghanaians know how to find enjoyment. Even those who live on less than $5 a day can seek to find gratification after a hard days graft. Ghanaians love to “chill” if they can, all week long only reserving Sundays for the Lord, and even that, it is probably only for a couple of hours, and then it is back to “chilling” in preparation for the week ahead.
So in the last few weeks, I have also “chilled” with the rest of them, most recently it was +233. This is a jazz club which is between Osu and Ridge behind the Alisa Hotel. They have a live band which plays local and international jazz as well as a few contemporary favourites. What I like about the band is that they play mainly with African instruments. There is no singing but the main man plays a wooden flute. Normally, the sound of the flute grates my ears but this guy has a knack of playing as if he is singing, you can practically hear the words.
The atmosphere is totally different from your usual clubs and pubs, probably because there is a more mature crowd, however don’t be surprised to see an 80 year old jamming to Paul Simons Call me Al. It is a beautiful place to sit, listening to cool music in the open air, “gate fee” is 10 cedis but it is worth the ticket.
If you are like me and like to club but know that the body is too old to be raving all night, there is also Chez Afrique in East Legon. The best night to go is on a Friday night and the band sings everything from Reggae, Pop and Hi Life, they can even do Chate Wale songs (hip-life/Ghanaian Danchall). It can get a little bit crowded as the dancing area is quite small but if you just want to sit and listen there is space outside to sit eat and chat. It is free to enter and you can dance until you drop.
For dinner, I have been frequenting Starbites also in East Legon close to the A&C, it is a Starbucks come fast food joint. I say fast food, but this is Ghana, so you can imagine, it is as fast as chef will allow. Cost of a plate is about 25 – 35 Ghana Cedis and the portions are extremely large. I don’t know why our restaurants don’t drop the portion size and the cost but maybe I eat too little. There is no kids menu, so if you have kids, one plate could probably last them breakfast, lunch and dinner the next day. A couple of weeks ago I was watching a little girl trying to get through a plate of fried rice and chicken, the chicken, two thigh and legs, I got tired just watching her, I think she was rather tired by the end too. Starbites is open 7 days a week and I believe they have entertainment on a Friday night. A nice place to hang out with friends.
There is also Eddy’s Pizza. The only reason I like their pizzas is that it is thin crust and not the bread like thick pan that you get everywhere else. The downside, you can easily fork out half your salary on just one pizza. For a family sized pizza you are looking at 55Ghs, but the place is always packed. As I said, Ghanaians like to chill.
So in the midst of the economic crisis, what can I say. Had I been in England I would have saved my money for three or four weeks of this, I have the option of having this every day so it can’t all be bad. So I think I will stick around for a while, even if I get to do something once a week or once a fortnight it is better than sticking it out in the cold for 11 months out of a year. So I would like to thank the one for restoring my faith in mankind, and reigniting my love for GH.
Until the next time.