Saturday, December 01, 2007

Say It Isn't So!

Well, this is the entry I have dreaded for a long time- the one I was hoping I wouldn't have to write for quite a while.

In the middle of December, we will be moving away from Ghana. :-(

I'll pause here for you to take a moment to become as bummed as I am.

We made Duke cry, and he made Jane cry, and they lied and told the girls that they had just put medicine in their eyes and everything was fine.

The good news is that they are mostly over it.

The seven of us (Duke, Jane, Christa, Erica, Us and Coop) spent the day together last weekend and Duke went swimming!

Kind of.

And while they are sad, they accept it and Duke is even a little excited because when he doesn't have us anymore he will be driving for the Project Director whom he likes very much.

The Project Director's wife is a nice woman (with a big dog, just for Duke!), but she won't let him come into stores with her and the rolling frat house that Duke and I had will be shut down for good.

No more teasing the street vendors, no more bat harrassing, no more honking and waving and hooting and "shortcuts" to Siberia. But he'll have a nicer car to drive, and that's something.

Anyway, the project isn't finished (far from it), but we had told Cooper when we came that it would be for two years. We never expected it to be really only two years, since we have never had a project finish on time, ever, but we forgot to mention that to Coop.

The time overrun coupled with the full onset of adolescence gave him a little angst about missing "real life" and just doing things "regular".

The poor kid just wants to go to the mall with friends and see a movie in a theater and load a YouTube video in less than 10 minutes. He wants to make a phone call and not have to redial four times in the middle of the conversation because the phone disconnected, and he wants to eat fast food.

I don't blame him. I wouldn't be a teenager again for all the folding money in Las Vegas, but I wouldn't have missed the first time around either, so we are taking him back to let him be a "Real American Teenager" for the last 2.5 years of high school.

He's earned it.

We have expanded his horizons so many times in so many ways, often against his will, in the last two and a half years, and he has been a trooper ever since we dragged him out of California all those years and three moves ago, coming along without complaint- it just feels right to honor this request from him to take advantage of this last period of what could be the easy life before he has to assume the responsibilities of an adult.

So the whole family will repatriate December 15 and Ted will return to finish the project on a rotating basis- time with us, time at work- living here with other company employees in a house they will share. Not the perfect solution, but one that will work.

Next week is packing/moving week.


This move is particularly complicated because we have things that will go with Ted to his new digs, things to ship by sea, things to ship by air, things to carry with us, things to sell, and things to give away.

Usually we just have a giant garage sale and move the rest to the new house.

I will try to see the humor in the coming week's events so I can tell you about the moving experience from here without going 'round the bend.

Meanwhile, I want to leave you today with some recommendations if you are ever lucky enough to come to Ghana.

If you are an Obroni, and want Obroni stuff, you will have no trouble finding it without me.

What I am going to share are the places we love that are a little out of the way or where we are often the only Obronis but that have become some of our favorite places to spend time.

Start with Chez Afrique. It's in East Legon, near the French School, off Lagos Ave. a few streets. If you want it, you will find it. Good food, cold beer, music on weekends, lower prices on weekdays. We only eat "inside" if it rains (inside means a roof and some six foot walls...)- 99% of the time we eat on the patio out front. Grilled chicken, chicken kabobs, Okra stew, kelewele, RedRed and cole slaw. We've never paid more than 20 bucks for both of us, stuffed to the gills and well lubricated.

Papa's Peace Bar. A very strange and wonderful place also in East Legon. Head for Accra on Lagos and take the first left. After about a block, Papa's will be on your right.

Osekan Resort. Easy on the resort part, but you can't beat the location, right down by the beach in a place where the waves break wildly over the rocks. You can get sea food and have your hair curled (or straightened, depending on your DNA) all at the same time. Inexpensive, good service, and a unique experience.

The basket lady on 5th Circular, near Home Touch. This woman has really nice baskets in all the good "Bolgatanga" styles and she will reward you for being a faithful customer. Even your first time she will give you a "small price", and you won't need your aggressive negotiating skills.

China Palace- the one in East Legon is better than the one in Dzorwulu, but they are both reasonably priced and cheerfully staffed, just don't get the satay. The one in East Legon is near the Living Room and American House. Follow the billboards.

Big Milly's Backyard, Kokrobite. You will find a lot of Obronis (young, backpacking, free spirits) here, but it's 100% African in atmosphere and experience. Eat lunch outdoors in the shade with sand for a floor, a picnic table to sit at, and chickens wandering through the restaurant... after lunch you can stroll the fairly clean beach and watch the fishing boats and fishermen who work from the beach here.

Aylos Bay Resort on the Volta River (on the way to or from the Cedi Bead Factory). You can sit in the shade at a large table and watch the Volta slide by (along with fishermen) and eat very good food at terrific prices served by happy, kind people. Spend the night if they have room. And be sure to check out the sculptures outside the restrooms.

And finally, even though a banana is a banana is a banana, if you are in East Legon on Lagos Ave. please stop under the big shade tree about a mile past the Ange Hill Hotel. The woman there sells only bananas, so you will be able to spot her next to a plywood clothes store. She will need your business to make up for losing mine.

And if you buy apples from your car, try to do it sometimes from the guys on the Motorway at the light in front of the Fiesta Royale hotel- 1GHC for three apples. And you can point to the exact three you want.

And try to go to Accra Central. You will make as many friends as you can handle and the experience is one of a kind. :-)