Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ghana: Our more responsible younger brother...

Having spent many years of my life in Lagos, Nigeria, it always seemed a bit odd to me that I had never been to Ghana save for a 2005 Alitalia flight that briefly stopped over in Accra. So when the opportunity arose for Amy and I to do so, we jumped at it. Originally, we have discussed going to Dubai but when that fell through, any alternatives were welcome. Ayo, a childhood friend of mine as well as his Ghana based business partner were so gracious and took care of all the planning and preparation. Initially, we were supposed to spend Sunday night in Accra, but plans changed and as soon as we landed, we were whisked away by car for about a 100miles westward down the coastline til we got to a sleepy fishing village called Ada, just off the Atlantic Ocean.
Amy and Ayo being very social with their mobile devices at the aiport

It was dark so we didn't see much nor did we know what to expect. Once we arrived, our host, a friend of my friend had sent a boat to pick us up and take us to his private island about a mile away nicknamed Tampa. When we got to Tampa, we almost mistook it for a UN convention due to the amount to nationalities there. It was amazing - Countries represented include USA, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Spain, Ghana and of course Nigeria. Meeting so many new people from different places actually made us feel very much at home! There was food everywhere and soon after we had started a nice bonfire, some local fishermen paddled their boat over with a large Barracuda they had just fished out. Mounib, Ayo's business partner and now my brother from another father and mother purchased it for lunch the following day. We all just hung out by the fire exchanging stories and having.

Cool Breezy Evening begged for a Fire
The following day, Mounib gave us a tour of the community by water. Lots of beautiful homes and had we not come there by road, we won't have believed this was in Africa. The locals were so very nice and they seemed very content as well. After breakfast we went out to the beach and my, was it the epitome of "unspoiled beaches". Later than morning, Amy and I tried wakeboarding...she passed, I failed. I did get a fair share of sea water in my system. To cut all the story short, we spent the next day eating a lot of jet skiing. Made me miss my old motorcycle. It was powerful and once I saw at what speed Amy was pushing that thing around, I knew I would be going as fast as I could. Now, I want one!

Not to the locals...
We came with our game faces
Mounib giving us a tour
Ayo scoping out the scenery
Someone's Large Vacation Home
Left to Right: Ayo, Yolanda (Mexican), Amy and Ugo
The first batch taking off to the Beach
Oh, the Atlantic...
Fun Faces still on
Off the front Porch of our Host Rustom's Island Home
Now she wants one...
Now I want one...
By noon Tuesday, we went back to Accra and I was very impressed with the current development structurally going on in that city. Ghana as a country has a lot of tremendous potential and Accra as a city just might be the place to be to start a business. Lots of opportunities that right now are mostly being controlled by foreigners which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But I would love to see more Ghanians partner with the foreign money and grow their middle class. I am rooting for Ghana, our seemingly more responsible younger brother. At night, the streets were alive with a blend of locals and foreigners and for a city, it appeared to be very safe. I wouldn't dare be out past 9pm in Lagos but in Accra, we were out till midnight.
Departing Ada
Part of the Country Side

We were to depart Wednesday at 12.55pm but Ayo and I stopped by one of his project sites by the airport and thinking we had plenty time, we stayed there conducting business. But alas! that decision to linger caused us to miss our flight. Because for the first time in history, a flight in Africa leaving for Nigeria actually left on schedule. We re-booked for the evening flight and hung out for the rest of the afternoon at the Holiday Inn by the airport. We then showed up for our evening flight very promptly and of course it departed an hour late. On arrival, Amy got a bit sick at immigration but she's doing well now. Other than that little bit of hitch (well, and the flight issue), we had a marvelous time and are very grateful to all the people that made it so.

Ghana, I will be back (God willing)...we made some good friends and being only a 45 minute flight, there's no reason why we couldn't go there again on short holidays so I guess it is "see you later" after all. The next holiday is not till Christmas for which I can say (God willing), "I'll be home for Christmas."


Jonathan said...

Too bad it's a 16 hr flight from here!

Ugo said...

Don't worry, when you come visit us...we can hit Ada Foah