Whilst we are almost still on the subject of our Accra trip I thought I would share with you our day of waiting.
After the lovely hotel experience we headed off to immigration to try and collect our visas. Once there, having been told that they would be ready we then found out that the person who needed to ‘stamp’ them had gone on a training course that day and hadn’t done it yet. Aubs was about to fly out to the UK (which was subsequently cancelled, but at the time this was relevant) and we rather desperately needed them. To take another journey to Accra was also time consuming and costly so Aubs put pressure on them to get someone/anyone to do it that day.
But first somewhere to go whilst waiting as we were told to ‘go and come’ (Ghana speak!).
Where better than Accra Mall, or rather, where else can one go for a long time other than Accra Mall? It is air-conditioned and has a child’s play area, so a bonus just in that. Nothing on the scale of the UK but exciting none the less for our little ones who rarely get to see any good playgrounds apart from the one in our garden.
So off we went. The play area was the usual experience of ‘no don’t climb on that, no don’t do that you will fall, no you can’t go on that you are too small!’ Frustrating when the ride in question was going at a snails pace and was a foot off the ground and our four year old wanted to go on the horse! Managed to persuade them in the end. It was all a little hot though as that part of the Mall is in a square outside, and there is just so many times you can go on the little train, trampoline, normal slide and blow up slide/climbing bouncy ‘thing’ – again another ‘do not let him roll down the bouncy slide he will hurt his neck’.
Lovely they look out for the kids but their stress levels must be high since surely all kids will attempt things we can only look on and cross our fingers over. My stress levels were high just having to run after them and say that the lady had said no to whatever they were doing. Anyway after not very long they got bored. Daddy was busy trying to finish some important work that needed doing in the next hour so my next stop on the Mall tour was a shop called ‘Game’. Luckily this shop can keep them entertained for hours as they have a toy department with a fantastic range of Lego and ride on toys. The boys learnt to skate board quite well that morning. The aisles there were perfect for it! I think I lost a few kilos running around trying to find each of them in various departments; sports/toy/christmas/tv etc. I’m actually surprised we weren’t thrown out. We did have a small meltdown from SN1 when he had very conscientiously chosen a ‘cheap’ Lego toy that perhaps we could buy now not thinking we might just say (absolutely) ‘no’ (way)! The price of Lego here is three times the price of it back in the UK.
What we did stock up on was some very cheap Christmas Crackers. Can’t believe we actually found some. Still no mince pies though. Unless next year!
I think all the above took a good two to three hours, so now time for lunch. They were crawling up the walls a little by then and both our patience on keeping four small children amused in a shopping centre was being tested, but with a balloon blowing waiter we managed to keep it on track for a little longer.
Next was a quick stop at Shoprite, the South African supermarket chain. Didn’t pick up much here, did check out the cost of broccoli and it was 23ghc for a small head. It would cost about 75p in the UK, here 23ghc is £7.42! I put it back.
Then back to immigration. It was 3pm by this point. Aubs took in one of the kids and the rest of us waited in the car. About 40 minutes later a stressed but triumphant Aubrey appeared with all our passports and we decided to hot foot it back to Elmina.
All I can say is thank goodness we don’t have to go up again for a while. I’m not sure Accra Mall is quite ready for another visit.
Just as a matter of interest I noted a few of the things people were selling on the road – basically you can buy a huge range of things from your car window – Aubrey likes to call it window shopping, which it literally is! It’s very handy if you are hungry and thirsty but is also useful if you need any of the following: hangers, paintbrushes, colouring books, a cloth, paintings & posters, windscreen wipers, keyring, flags, cotton ear buds, foam squares, a bible and loo paper. This list is not exhaustive! These things are sold individually so for example, one man was selling just cotton ear buds. Our usual purchases are ice-cream, plantain chips, water, fruit and bread. But I know if we are desperate for a picture of an illuminated Jesus we know where to find one.
The view from the car on our way home to Elmina …….