New Year’s Eve in Accra!

This is the first year I have spent New Year’s Eve out of the United States and I have to say, for the most part, it was awesome! Matthew and I met up with some friends from Spain in Accra. They were staying in Kaneshie near the famed Kaneshie Market. Matthew and I managed to navigate our way through the vendors, who sell mainly produce and livestock. I saw at least two people holding chickens upside down thrusting them into our faces asking us to buy them. They shouted in Twi, I imagined them saying, “Why will you not buy this live chicken? It is New Year’s Eve, everyone needs a good chicken on New Year’s!” They looked so disappointed when when turned them down, replying, “Dabi Dabi Dabi.” (No no no.)

Our friends Bruna and Arnau had been traveling for the past three months through Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana. We had first met them a few days before through one of my best friends, Phoebe, who also lives in Spain. We met for dinner and drink, after which Matthew taught them the game, “Zumi.” It’s a coordination game that is a lot of fun. I think I first learned it when I was in the Girl Scouts, but Matt’s version is more oriented as a drinking game.

So New Year’s we starting by drinking some palm wine. It was my first time having the local spirit, but it is very common here. It is obviously made from palm and has a cloudy white appearance. It almost reminds me of unfiltered sake, but it is a little sweeter. Definitely good, and also mixes well with Guiness. (I know it sounds gross, but it is actually pretty good.)

After drinks we traveled to Osu, which is known as the Obruni District because of the large populations of expats. We had dinner at this amazing Talapia restaurant. I had heard the fish there was good, but this was like off the charts seafood. So yummy.

My friend who runs an Italian Restaurant had told me to go to a new bar that just opened but, but first we decided to gamble a little at a bar/casino called Hemingway’s. Matthew taught Bruna and Arnau how to play roulette, though it was a partly computerized version without chips. :(

We arrived at the new bar, and the uptight bouncer wouldn’t let our friends in because they weren’t dressed well. So lame, but we persuaded them to let us in anyway. I was shocked how empty the bars were for New Year’s. I knew that it was a big tradition to go to church in the evening, but I thought that people would at least come out after. The bar also did no official countdown, so we have our own according to our watches at midnight. Here is a pic of Matt and I before the countdown.

I know that Matthew’s favorite part of the night was the fireworks. No, not the big fancy kinds way up in the sky. I am talking about the smaller one’s that make you deaf. Here, children throw them at each other in the streets… the future mother in me nearly lost it. I kept waiting for someone to lose a finger. Near the bars, young men would throw them into crowds of people, and Matthew of course wanted to join in the fun. Meanwhile, Bruna, Arnau and I sat in the corner fearing for our lives.

Sadly, at some point during the night, my wallet got swiped. It had a fair amount of cash, my bank card, and my driver’s lisence in it. At least I still have my passport!

We headed back to the hostel and finished our drinks on the balcony that overlooks the market. I took this pics the next morning.

I also made a new friend on the tro-tro on the way home. I complimented him on his traditional Ghanain outfit. He apparently was so please with himself about it that he insisted I have it and started taking it off right there on the bus. I waved my hands around insisting he keep it, and that I appreciated his intent.

Definitely a great way to ring in my international new year! Thanks for reading.


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  1. David Powell says:

    Great posts Syambra keep ‘em coming.
    I like your hat.

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