Family and Friends – This is a bit of a given, but I have to say it to avoid angry mobs upon my return home. I especially appreciate those who have taken the time to communicate me while I’m in Ghana.
Thai Food – I would beg for a cup of Tom Kah Gai, cheat for a bowl of massaman curry, and even murder for a plate of pad kee mao.Yesterday, I went to Osu (a touristy part of Accra), searching for Ghana’s only Thai restaurant. I ended up walking for over 45 minutes down a cross-street before arriving at locked doors with a “Closed until February” sign posted on them.
Decently Priced Produce– I’m a broccoli man. Back home, I would eat multiple heads of it at a time. I miss it dearly. Here in Ghana, slightly-slimy European imported broccoli costs the equivalent of $9 per pound. Despite my love affair with broccoli, it’s hard to rationalize spending the normal cost of 10-12 normal meals on one vegetable. My other favorite vegetables (brussels sprouts, artichoke, and asparagus) are notably absent from even the fanciest supermarkets.Needless to say, I’m beginning to have semi-erotic dreams featuring broccoli.
Set Prices – While the ‘game of bartering’ is sometimes fun to play, the truth of the matter is that I almost never know how much to pay for anything. This makes bartering very difficult – especially with me being white. Despite my ‘poker face’ and desperate pleas of me being ‘just a schoolboy’, I always feel as though I am getting ripped off even when I am actually getting a good deal.
Internet – My Airtel modem peaks at 300 kilobytes per second, and is steady at around 50 kilobytes per second when it is working well. When working poorly, it drops to under 10 kilobytes per second. For those of you who aren’t ‘tech savy’, this means that often each page or search takes 1-2 minutes to fully load.And this terrible speed comes at a high cost – $15 per gigabyte of data. That’s far more expensive than American internet – simply due to the low demand.
Timeliness – I have to admit that I am becoming Ghanaian in this regard. Whenever I plan meet-ups with my fellow exchange students, I tend to be either 30 minutes or an hour late. Part of this can’t be helped; traffic in Accra is terrible. In fact, on the way to Twi lessons yesterday Drew spent 4 hours stuck in traffic.
American Television– This may seem like a shocker, but I honestly miss standard cable. American Idol, Top Chef, Desperate Housewives; you name it. I would prefer almost anything to Ghanaian television. I’ll write a standalone blog post about this in the future, but Ghanaian television is nearly impossible for me to enjoy. Consisting primarily of dubbed Spanish soap operas, Nigerian movies, and sermons – I can’t stand any of it.That is- besides Who Wants to Be Rich. That show is a classic.