Sunday, 19 July 2009

Ghana Week 2 - an extract from a letter to friends

Ghana or perhaps Accra is not a place to make you wax lyrical. Any semblance of cultural diversity has been swamped by Diageo, Coca Cola and a host of other corporations. Yes the folk are a little darker, the waits for service a little longer and the temperature a little warmer but it is a city, cosmopolitan in place deprived in other and dour in many. Yesterday we opened tunnel Charlie and headed for Aburi and the mountains, there sits atop these mountains the Botanical Gardens opened by His Excellency Flt Lt Jerry Rawlings, appears a Flt Lt can go a long way in this place. NOw this is not Kew Gardens or really any other Botanical Garden I have found around the world, but it was a cool calm haven from Accra with many different types of tree all carefully described in faded white lettering on blue painted tins signs. Including a tree planted by HRH ER on her visit in 1961, Laura mused whether HRH would remember it, I like to believe she does. The buildings have the air of cherished but aged grandparents, loved yet slowly slipping away, the post colonial decay has obviously been hard to arrest, mosses and lichens creep slowly across once immaculate white painted balustrades. 1960s concrete terraces now erupt with vegetation as the botanical claims back it's forest roots.

From the Botanical Garden to Hillburi, a quiet resort (no accomodation) - it reminds me of the hill top stations of the empire. Not in design or grandure but of feel. Carefully sitiuated above the malaria line an afternoon of Pimms and good food can be had reasonably inexpensively whilst looking over the petit jungle of the hillsides of Aburi and Peacadu. There is a pool with a daily lounging charge and divertions such as table tennis and pool and in times past it may have been decribed as a amost agreable place. Fortunately the prejudices of 1909 are long gone and Ghanaian and ExPat dine side by side although sadly I feel the ghost of times past in the manner in which both communities brush past each other with no acknowledgement. Maybe this will change when the generations who knew it are gone.

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