Accra is awesome. We continued a little bit of exploring today after waking up and having another delicious breakfast at our hotel. Because today is Sunday and Ghana is a predominately Christian country most restaurants and businesses were closed today, but a Chinese restaurant with dim sum brunches on Sunday afternoon was opening and crowded. Almost all of our research about Ghana and Accra in particular focused on food, obviously, and dim sum was at the top of the list. Dynasty Chinese Restaurant is a great place. The dumplings and all of the other delicacies, especially the shallot pancakes, were absolutely delicious, but the operations of the restaurant was by far the most interesting part of the meal.
The restaurant was fairly full when we got there and the crowd was surprisingly diverse. There was another table of older American men, an Indian family, a French family, an Asian family, and most surprising to me a table of 20-something Ghanaian people. I cannot imagine my Senegalese family going to a Chinese restaurant. When they do venture to a restaurant they only order Senegalese food and will venture into the world of French pastries. They also absolutely hate everything that I make so it was fascinating to see Ghanaians at Dynasty. I've never seen Senegalese people at the Chinese restaurant in Dakar.
More surprising than the demographics of the diners was the service. There was actually service. Someone opened the door for us, another waiter led us to our seats, and a third waiter immediately came over to take our order. Katherine and I were totally caught by surprise as we usually have to beg, plead, and approach waiters ourselves in the sometimes futile effort of procuring food in a reasonable amount of time even in nice restaurants in Dakar. In Thies at restaurants where I know the staff the service isn't any better. A lot of the time it seems as though I'm terribly inconveniencing people by giving them business. The effort of taking an order or bringing my food once it's finally ready is just too much trouble. At Dynasty the waiters were attentive, they provided information about the menu, double checked they knew what we wanted, and most amazingly offered pertinent information that wasn't specifically requested. We were absolutely dumbfounded. It was great.
Another aspect of service that I'm now unaccustomed to is helpful taxi drivers. I've written many a rant about my dislike of taxis in Dakar because they always attempt to charge me a ridiculous fair and consistently lie about the fact they know where they're going. Cabs in Accra are approximately 100 times nicer than the vast majority in Dakar and they tell you when they don't know the place you want to go. This is revolutionary and it blows my mind. Trying to get back to our hotel we flagged down two cabs who didn't know our hotel, they told us, and we moved on instead of me having a complete meltdown in the back of a cab when they blame me for not knowing where I'm going. Isn't that part of the reason for taking a cab? The luxury of being driven somewhere in a city you don't know? Cabs also have seat belts here which is amazing.
Speaking of cabs, these cabs drive on roads that I would actually consider roads. Even in Dakar there are places where the roads are completely falling apart or where there are no paved roads at all and there are only dirt roads (read sand pits). So far we haven't seen anything like this in Ghana and all of the roads are really nice. An additional feature of travel that's nice are signs! Signs! They point you in the right direction and tell you where you are. They don't exist in Senegal, but they sure do exist here! There are signs everywhere. It's sensory overload. Next to roads I'm very accustomed to seeing trash piles and various discarded items along the road; there's barely any trash in the streets here. Awesome. There's also signs in grocery stores telling people not to use plastic bags because they are bad for the environment. Environment what?
I will use that to segue into grocery stores. There are a lot more Western style grocery stores here than in Dakar. Accra has several chains and we plan on going to all of them. Today we went to Koala (yeah, I don't get the name either) and picked up some great things since we have a full kitchen in our hotel room. Some ice cream may have come out of the freezer after we had take out Chinese food that we took home from Dynasty for dinner! Mmm mmm good.
Additionally, I would like to add the disclaimer that we have not seen all of Accra and these comparisons are just between Accra and Dakar since we haven't ventured outside of Accra. But, what I can tell you is that currently Accra is rocking my world. e
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