Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dinner in Ghana Could Take...Almost Forever (UPDATED)

Today has been a very interesting day. It was definitely a day to learn the Ghanian culture. It really all started last night when we were trying to decide what time to get started today. Joshua, one of our tour guides, told us that Ghanians aren't "sharp", meaning right on time. Things are very laid back here. So we showed that we could follow directions and got a late start (late by 1/2 an hour).

Our first stop was the Kwame Nkruma Park. This park was created for Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah. A large statue stands on the spot where Ghana proclaimed it's independence. It also houses the graves of President Nkrumah and his Egyptian wife. They had three children. One son is still in Egypt, and the other son and daughter are here in Ghana. His daughter has also entered political scene.

We then we went to one of the tourist markets. Jorg, our tour guide, warned us about the "style" of negotiation. But I'm not sure any of us truly expected the level at which they negotiate. Everyone was smiling and very nice, but persistent. The vendors would do/say anything to get a sale. A few of the girls got marriage proposals. Thankfully they are still single. Others got a drumming show, a few were asked to participate in hopes that they would buy a drum or two.

After the market, we were treated to a meal at Frankie's (a local restaurant). Granted, we had french fries but we also had two different types of chicken, 4 different rice dishes, and more. After the munching was over, we sat back and planned the rest of the day. We left Frankie's and headed to a SOCCER GAME! It was great! It wasn't a national competition. But it involved the local "city" team. And it was very exciting!

We were getting hungry again so it was time to find another place to eat. Jorg knew this great restaurant that overlooked the water. We got ringside seats as the tide started to come in. A few of us even got wet! In looking at the menu, Jorg urged us to leave. Aparently the prices had more than doubled since he'd been there last and said he knew of another place that had great food. And he wasn't kidding. The place was rocking when we got there. Unfortunately they were getting ready to close. Of course they didn't tell anyone that until we started ordering food. We were then told there was a special "Sunday" menu. Basically that means they weren't cooking any more food and we got to choose from what was already made. Some students had Kelewelle which is similar to Red Red except that it has a definite "hotness" to it. Others got chicken and rice, while others got Banko & Okra stew. I got the latter. May I just say that was the most fun I've had eating food in a long time. Banko is a doughy patty that you rip off with your fingers and dip into the stew. It was very yummy and had a spicey kick to it as well. I also got to taste the Kelewelle. It started out mild but had a cummulative "hotness" about it. Must have more.

As you've probably figured out, most of us will not be losing weight. The food here is fried and carb heavy. Definitely just what we all needed for comfort food. Too bad we don't have it at home because eating food this hot and heavy when it's 92 degrees and over 90% humidity isn't very comfortable.

Well, it is late here and there are a ton of things I've left out. Please check out the blog by our student, Pat, at the url below. He gives you a lot of the details and it's enjoyable to get the student's perspective.

P.S. We have definitely learned that getting food here can take almost forever. It's a very social event and like I said earlier - Ghanaians don't necessarily work on the same "time" system Americans do.

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