On a walking tour of Accra in 2018 I really saw the city up close and personal. Accra is like any average city and in pockets there is a lot of new construction but the city is congested with old buildings in need of restoration that block the new ones like a stuffy nose. As you pass people on the street most don’t meet your smile with a smile most faces are stoic and confront your smile with disdain, unimpressed that you are a tourist, they are either in a rush, or focused on their work, many merchants peddle the street, the women balancing their wares on their heads, the men carrying or balancing their’s on both arms. They will bump into you, and not apologize. Everywhere you look there are black or brown people, with a few light-skin, European, Lebanese and Chinese people as well. The best part for an African American is to see so many predominantly black folks employed in every arena that you visit.
The black merchants peddle their wares along the highway as the cars stop for traffic lights. They peddle everything from toilet paper to kebabs, to water, to passing motorist, like Mexican merchants sell oranges at freeway off-ramps at home in Los Angeles, California. Pedestrians also weave in and out and between waiting cars when crossing the street and some nearly miss getting hit. Here the pedestrians don’t have the right-of-way like pedestrians do at home. Here, cars rule. Guard your cellphones while riding, there are thieves in Ghana, who will rob you of them as you pan in for photos. Women merchants balance their wares with stern faces many are quite beautiful and should be top model contestants instead of street hawkers.
The streets of Accra are narrow and the sidewalks are missing stones, and sand and rock make for a rough walk. If you don’t look down you could easily fall into a gutter hole. The streets are pockmarked with many potholes and in some areas there are sink holes. I don’t think I could drive here. The streets are much too confusing like the streets in NYC and the drivers are aggressive but if you don’t intrude in traffic you may never get to your destination. People honk their aggression at you even if your place in the food chain is from the passenger seat, where you can do them no harm or good.
There are taxis and car services that you can download an app for. These taxis circle often weaving in and out honking for attention and hunting a fare. They call me. “white lady,” because of my American accent and feel that I should pay more because they think I’m wealthy. Where the guy charged me sixty cedis from the airport to the hotel my Native friend says it should only be about twenty cedis, so be careful you are not taken for too much download USDxGHS app for android.