My sister visited me in Ghana and all she saw was Harmattan

Ok, slight exaggeration. However, the Harmattan has affected most of her time here in Accra. Tonight, for instance, I’m up well past midnight…a rare occurrence, I can assure you, simply because her flight was delayed for an hour (I’m assuming because of poor visibility) and I was too anxious to sleep.

We spent an extra day in Northern Ghana – that’s a story for another blog – and didn’t get back to Accra until Christmas Sunday. Monday was filled with grocery shopping and, luckily, a pool day. And then the Harmattan hit. Tuesday we woke up to downright chilly weather (think mid 60s) and the poorest visibility I’ve encountered since I was caught in a sand cyclone in Ethiopia (or the week I spent in LA!).

We tried to make every moment count, but found ourselves only able to brave the dust storms to shop at Global Mamas and eat lunch at Buka on Tuesday. I’m a big fan of Global Mamas, a fair trade organization working with women here in Ghana and around the world. Buka, less so. Poor Brittany wanted to try some more Ghanaian food – we’d had groundnut soup and jollof rice up north – so we took her to the highest rated Ghanaian restaurant on Trip Advisor. Our school had taken us there when we first arrived and I remember the food being pretty good…now I know just how much influence our school had on the menu that night. Our lunch was less than mediocre. It was incredibly oily, fishy, and arrived about 3 minutes after ordered, not exactly fresh.

Day two of the Harmattan we decided we wouldn’t let a little sand get in our way. We set off for Artists Alliance Gallery – an interesting set-up where everything is for sale from the $2 postcards to the $250 carvings to the $8,000 paintings. We spent about 2 hours wandering around that place looking at everything from the intricate, the bizarre, the antique, and the ugly. We loved it.

Unfortunately, you could barely see the sea from the overlooking windows, and all thoughts of heading to Labadi Beach for an afternoon swim were swept up with the dust. We instead made our way to Coco Lounge for a much needed make-up meal from the day before. This time the margarita pizza, veggie curry, and specialty drinks were made to impress. There’s a reason a restaurant makes it to number two in a city!

Day three, today, was flight day. We could still barely see a reasonable distance in front of ourselves and so we let poor Chandler rest and stay inside all day. Brittany and I did our final bout of shopping at Wild Gecko Handicrafts.

I must admit, we were pretty damn lucky. Many things in Accra close over the holidays and it turns out Artists Alliance had just opened back up the day we went. The same was true of Wild Gecko. I’d suck as a tour guide and should definitely remember to check if places are open before bringing someone to them! But, like I said, we were in luck and Wild Gecko had just reopened and we got to get our final shopping in.

Now you might be wondering why all I did in Accra was take my sister shopping and swimming, but let me direct your attention to Trip Advisor’s list of top sites in Accra. It’s rough. We did some pretty awesome things up north – I’ll go into more detail in a future blog (I have literally hundreds of photos to sort through first), but for tonight, my sister’s plane is finally on its way to Minneapolis, by way of Amsterdam, and I think I’m finally ready for some sleep.

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