I'm still processing the week I spent in Ghana last month. It wasn't the huge culture shock that I expected; or maybe it was and I quickly got used to it. We were staying in a smallish place called Madina which is about 30 miles north of the capital, Accra.
We landed at the airport at about 10pm and the place was teeming with people. Hundreds of faces lines either side of the welcome ropes. Fortunately I was being met by two Ghanaians and a white American who was easy to spot in the crowd! The drive out of Accra was almost uneventful, although I'm very glad that I hadn't rented a car and tried to get myself to my destination! I din't think I saw a single street sign or road sign and would probably have ended up in Burkina Faso!
After about 15 miles the roads seemed to well, disappear. There's a lot of road-building going on and we alternated between relatively smooth tarmac and very uneven red dirt, the likes of which you'd think required a Jeep or a Humvee. Many times I looked at the street we turned into and thought "There's no way this car is able to drive over this." But we did. Very slowly. Thank god my back was better than it had been in June.
Outside of Accra there's very little in the way of street lights, making it quite the adventure for pedestrians. Our hosts basically refused to let us walk anywhere after dark, even though we literally glowed in the moon light!
I suppose the hardest thing to get used to for me was the lack of "proper shops" as I kept saying. It's so hot even in their colder season that you can do everything out doors - like selling stuff. As you'd expect, there were shed-like shops all along the streets, selling food and plastic kitchen doo-dads. I found it slightly astonishing however, to find a large selection of stainless steel ovens (about 30 of them) by the side of the road one day, a variety of American-style fridges, and further along, sofas and chairs. By the side of the road! I would like to know a) how they got there, b) where they go at night, and c) who buys them?