Friday, July 20, 2007

Obruni hunting, and mental baggage

So it's Obruni season in Accra. Meaning there are hundreds, if not thousands of American, Canadian, and European white wide-eyed young people wandering the streets. So many that this shared similarity isn't even acknowledged. We jut keep passing each other by. Strange, in a country where white folk are a vast minority. Is that just life in a large metropolitan city? Or perhaps it's some form of NGO's gone wild? Either way I'm told that between the months of May and September Accra is inundated with do-gooders. Most are generally well recieved. A whole economy is created around caring for them, ahem, us. Contributing mightily to the local economy. Obruni prices are many times that of what locals pay... and rightfully so. I'm starting to discover the many separate economies that exist here; ex-pats, NGO workers, people with relatives in the west, government officials, regular folk and more. I'm also learning exactly where I fit in.

So, I was sitting on a beach chair, feet in the sand, sipping a Star beer, under a canopy, in a touristy beach bar, when the news came. The bags had arrived! Soaking up a few more rays and suds, we left, sand clinging to our feet. Grabbed a tro-tro and then a cab to the airport and the reclaimed baggage area. A huge wearhouse of lost, waylaid suitcases, almost all black with rollers. After a little negotiation, and two signatures in two separate log books, we had our stuff. In one piece and with everything intact. Fewf. One more day in those underwear, and they'd be protesting in the streets.

So, now I'm free to go to Takoradi, and start the rest of this adventure. More from Tad'i next...


Dad said...

Great news about your luggage!
tro-tro?? We, your readers, are going to need a glossary of dialect words.
How's the local beer?

Kevin Hill said...

Yes! The luggage situation could have been a catastrophe. I was very worried there for a while. Especially without vision enhancers and expensive anti-malarials! Jessie, the other intern I've been travelling with, kept my spirits up, and called me Eor (sp?) from Winnie the Poo, the always pessimistic donkey. The theme song for my trip thus far is most definitely "Everything's gonna be alright" by Bob Marley. Which I've heard many times here so far. I have also met some Rastafarians who have reminded me to keep the faith. One love.

A tro-tro is any van, bus, large car that is retro-fitted to accomodate as many seats as possible. It is the main form of transportation in Accra, other than taxis. They're generally the cheapest way to get around, and prices are set by how far you want to go. Taxi fairs are negotiated before you get into the car. Obruni prices are most definately in effect here. You have to know in advance how much a ride will cost you, and let the over-priced cabs go by.

The local beer is pretty good. Cold, wet and beer-y. Somewhere between Heineken and Corona. Guinness and and Malta by the same company are widely available in Accra, too.