Friday, November 18, 2011

Days 1292-1293: Actually Getting to Hang Out With Ruth

On Sunday, we all went to Coco Beach.

I'd missed going to La with the family due to work (see my Mom's guest post for details on it), but I'd read that Coco Beach was a great spot, cleaner and quieter than La beach.

Unfortunately, that turned out to not be entirely true.  Apparently La beach had recently been subject to a major clean-up, while Coco had gone downhill a bit.  So, it was more than a bit trashy.  But we still had a good time with Ruth.  Coco had a lot more shells - we had fun finding a zillion tiny spiral shells.  Ruth played in the surf with a couple of the local kids, and I held her so we could feel the waves crash against us a bit (while being very careful not to let - heavens forbid - a single drop of water touch her face).

Afterwards, we headed back through the Radisson and grabbed some lunch at their restaurant.  Mostly, it was a chance to hang out near the beach a bit longer and for Ruth to play on their playground (the advantage of very slow service at almost any restaurant here is plenty of time to play around!).

We had been hoping to see the coffin makers at work, and we thought we'd cleared that they would be around on Sunday with Mr. Lartey, but it turns out that they were not.  So we just drove back to campus.

That evening (at least I think it was that evening) I'd promised my Mom that I would get her "authentic" Ghanaian food from Basement Plus, a small restaurant on campus.  We did indeed have an authentic experience - I was going to get her banku and okro stew, but they were out... as they were out of a lot of things.  We settled on just asking what they did have, and ended up with some fried fish and some palava sauce with yams for me.  The other part of "authentic" is that - as promised - everything was flavored with smoked fish (even the palava sauce).  Ruth, of course, had pizza.  As actually did I - the smoked fish is really starting to disagree with me, for some reason.

Monday, my parents went down into Accra for the day and Ruth and I hung out.  We'd decided to go to Madina Market - she had been playing pretend all week on the stoop at the side of the Fulbright House that we would get on the tro-tro (we would have to wait for one going our way) and then go to Makola Market. When we would get there, we would have to go "whoa!" and talk about all the different things people were selling - "look, there's a big pile of toothbrushes!" and we'd always end up buying some rice and beans while we were there.  Makola is actually a bit of a trip, so I sold her on going to Madina instead.  Our misson: coconuts to drink and some blue fabric to make a dress for Ruth's friend Sasha.

I hadn't been before, and I think I misinterpreted Melissa's instructions, because we got pretty lost.  The first time I asked someone where we might find fabric sellers, she brought me way outside the main market to what I can only assume was a friend of hers - and who was very overpriced (10 cedis/yard for mediocre fabric?  Saa?).

Fortunately, next we found a coconut seller.  One guy seemed to be a bit drunk, and also to be poking gentle fun at the obrunis, but his English was pretty sketchy.  I felt bad, but I wanted to say, "it can't be that funny because no one else is laughing, and it's lost on me since I have no idea what you're talking about."  We got a coconut with a lot of juice, and then squatted down under a tree to drink it - if you think that I probably ended up drinking most of it, you'd be very wrong, Ruth can put it away (and loves them - it's a shame it's the sort of thing you don't find back in the US).  She got a kick out of how the guy then split it open for us and hacked off a piece of shell to use as a scoop to get the meat out - she got pretty good at it!

Grimy from dust and sticky coconut juice, we soldiered on to find fabric.  And on... and on... Finally I came to a large yellow building, with a sort of courtyard inside (and strangely, much emptier than the rest of the market) where I found some fabric sellers.  I got a bolt of green to make a surprise dress for Melissa (you'll have to wait for her to upload a photo) and we did in fact find some blue for Sasha:

Then, home on the MMT bus, and a bouncy bouncy nap.  I'm pretty sure that shock absorbers are illegal in Ghana.

Back at Grammy and Grampy's flat, we made dirt cups and then had a proper nap.

(As my Mom warned me, Ruth much preferred making the dirt cups to eating them.  Weird kid.)

After the nap - what else?  Grammy and Grampy were still on their adventure in Accra, so Ruth and I got pizza from the Guest Center and watched Ratatouille (my goal when I get home is to get her to eat actual ratatouille - I even have a mandoline, so I can make it the way they do in the movie, probably).

NEXT: Not getting to hang out with Ruth!

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