Greetings from Ghana!
I arrived safe and sound on a pleasant flight with Emirates Air from Dubai. It was an odd feeling to step off the plane and realize that I was in Africa. Maybe I was just used to horribly crowded and dirty cities from my time in India, but Accra seems like an absolute dream. There are plenty of people, but unlike India, they all seem to be going somewhere, not just standing around doing nothing. My hotel is pretty decent, and even has cable tv (well, only one channel, but it shows decent movies).
I expected unbearable heat, but it has been staying around 80 degrees pretty much day and night. I actually needed to use my towel as a blanket on top of my sleepsack because I got cold around 3am. Good thing they didn't have any air conditioned rooms available when I checked in. Maybe I was just expecting heat comparable to that in Dubai, but the cooler weather was definitely a pleasant surprise.
I had planned to leave Accra this morning, but some money troubles forced me to stick around a little longer. Turns out that Ghana pretty much only accepts Visa, and not Mastercard. As all of my debit/ATM cards are Mastercard, I found myself with only about $15 worth of cedis (pronounced 'seedy'). After trying around half the ATMs in town, I finally had to give up and wait until Monday when the actual banks will open. I'm fairly confident that Barclay's Bank Headquarters can help me out, but I guess we'll see. Don't worry too much. I think I've got enough money for food and water (it's only two days) and my hotel is allowing me to pay when I leave.
As if the money situation wasn't confusing enough, Ghana just changed it's currency earlier this month. 10,000 cedis used to be worth around $1, but now they've introduced the new Ghana Cedi. One new cedi is worth 10,000 old cedis. It's a little confusing to pay for something with 1cedi, and recieve 5,000cedis in change, but I'm dealing. It usually isn't too much of a problem, as change is a pretty difficult thing to come by. I think pretty much every single purchase I've made so far has been complicated by the fact that everyone has to spend around five to ten minutes finding change. I paid 20cedis for my first night in a 17cedi hotel room, and it took almost an hour for them to find 3cedis change. I wasn't able to buy a 5,000cedi kebab on the street because they didn't have change for 1cedi.
Though it has been a bit tough to deal with all these things since I've arrived, Accra has proved to be quite hospitable. The people are friendly and it's nowhere near as crazy as India. I feel comfortable walking around on the streets and don't have to deal with people trying to sell me crap all day long. I usually tend to explore the bigger cities at the end of my stay in a country, but I'll just have to do it at the beginning this time. I have a feeling that once I get out of Accra, internet will be considerably harder to come by, so any updates or emails may be few and far between. Until next time, take care out there.