Today was a tough day. West African bureaucracy got the best of me. I spent about three hours in a bank only to find out that they hadn’t received my debit card yet. Then I had to go all the way to the airport to book a flight, since Air Mali apparently has neither a functioning website nor a telephone number. In between, Accra’s typically congested streets and waits for Tro Tros added about 5 hours to my tally.
After purchasing the flight, I found myself in Osu, a district notable for nightclubs, trendy restaurants and hotels. Frustrated and starving. I strolled into the nearest restaurant, unusual, since I’ve consisted almost entirely on street food so far. It was a nice building: two stories, it had a functioning bathroom, and an actual waitstaff. I don’t know what came over me. My vegetarian cronies will cringe at this one. But really, my most egregious offense was ordering a cheeseburger in Ghana.Why did I do that?
When the waitress placed the offensive collop before me, her expression said it all. As I ate, I looked around at the Ghanaians in the restaurant. I felt their penetrating, judgmental gaze on my the back of my neck. I knew what they were thinking: “Ha, this honky can’t even go one day without his precious american food.” I’m not like that I swear!
Even the westerners seemed to express resentment, comfortable in their knowledge that at least they reserve this meal for special occasions. How could I prove my cultural sensitivity, my desire for immersion?
Of course, no one actually cared.
Tomorrow, I’ll return to my standard diet of banku, akbleh, shitoh, and stew. But damn that was good.