Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oh Say, Can You See?

It's not uncommon to see the American flag being flown in Accra. Usually outside a hotel hoping to cater to international travelers. The Cresta Hotel where we stayed while we waited for our stuff to come by ship is a nice modern hotel with lots of creature comforts and friendly staff. Outside they have a bank of flagpoles that display, every day, the flags of eight or ten nations. The flags are taken down each night and replaced each morning. Two days out of seven, the American flag is put on the pole upside down. We joke that on those days the Cresta is "in distress" (an upside down flag being the signal for oceangoing boats in distress). I haven't got the heart to tell them it's upside down, since they are kind enough to even put it out to welcome us, but maybe someone else will clue them in.

Down the road from the Cresta is the Shang-ri-La Hotel. Their flag is even funnier. They apparently thought there was a lack of definition in the original U.S. flag, so when they got theirs, they had it made with thirteen stripes and...16 stars. Granted, those stars are much easier to identify, and don't look so busy, but those four rows of four fat stars sure catch your eye as you drive down Liberation Road.

I'm going to start really looking at the flags we pass from now on- I expect I've been missing some good chuckles.