A Day Spent With Friends

This Thursday I had the pleasure of having brunch at Café Dez Amis with my Auntie Obi – that’s the Hon. Minister Oboshie Sai Cofie to the rest of you. I got there around 10 am with my two oldest girls and ordered breakfast while we waited for Auntie Obi to arrive. They had pancakes, and I being a sucker for pastries had a cinnamon roll and a meat pie. OMG. What a meat pie! A meat pie is like a Jamaican beef patty but better, if done properly, and the chef at Dez Amis knows properly.

Pardon me as I drool in reflection.

As it would turn out, I literally spent an entire day with friends at the café. Having only gotten 2 hours sleep the previous night, and having no car in Accra, and still trying to sort out my bearings in the city, I was perfectly content to ‘shroom on the premises and direct people to meet me there. There are little things about the café that make it special. Cream colored colonial columns welcome you at the door way. The café is fitted with free wifi and a flat screen TV. There are two nooks with sofas and side tables for intimate or relaxed conversation. Sea shells serve as ash trays and the bill is presented in leather bound box lined with red felt. There’s an eclectic mix of old world Africa and modernity. My eldest daughter collided with the two when she knocked over an imposing oware board and made a bee-line for some chrome object before I halted her progress.

In self imposed detainment, I watched as a mix of patrons came in and out of the doors. Young and old, expatriates and locals, posh people and common folk all came to sample the simple pleasures of the café: good food and a really great atmosphere. I sat in the garden until sunset, where I stared blankly at trees that had been there since I first came to the grounds as an eight year old. The café shares a compound with Afrikiko, one of Accra’s oldest establishments. Saplings from 1986 now provided a broad shady canopy and the landscaping featured one of my favorite Ghanaian flowers – lady in a boat. Among all the patrons of the day, the most memorable had to be a racially ambiguous White/Arab/Lebanese/possibly all three man named Harry who spoke Ga so indigenously that if you weren’t looking, you would expect the speaker to be a fishmonger just returned from the shore. As he conversed intensely with Auntie Obi, employing all the mannerisms of a man who had grown up on the continent, their discourse was disturbed by his ringtoe: the theme song from The Godfather. How oddly appropriate. He was a throwback to the days when foreigners endeavored to immerse themselves in local culture, as juxtaposed by today’s Ghanaian youth who communicate in a myriad of LAFAs (locally acquired foreign accents), some doggedly refusing to speak any native vernacular at all.

In the moments that I awaited two sets of friends’ arrival, CANOE magazine was my silent companion. I have been waiting for months to get my grubby hands on a copy, because it looked so glossy and editorial online. I was delighted to find that visually, it was everything I hoped for. I read every article cover to cover. My delight turned to dismay, as I was distraught by the content. Too many of the articles were cumbersomely written.

You’re being a snob, Malaka I thought. My best friend later echoed my thoughts: A lot of the writers were indeed crap. I was relieved. I hate snobbery, and there’s nothing worse than embodying the thing you hate.

Later that night, she and I went to Koala for a Ghana Bloggers meeting. It was jolting to be in the company of snarky and progressive people. Most of the bloggers there were foreign, or Ghanaians that had grown up abroad. The average Ghanaian is pretty straightforward, and the subject of our discourse is pretty predictable. I felt pressured to say something witty, but as I had had virtually no sleep, I knew I would come out incoherent. I chose to cackle at the version of humor my new acquaintances offered instead.

It was an absolutely amazing day, sullied only by the taxi driver who threw my money out of the window after driving me home because he wanted to be paid 12 cedis instead of 10 (despite the fact that we agreed on 10 before I got in the car), and my father furiously berating me for getting home so late (11:15 pm) and informing me that I was lucky that I was brought home at all.

“He could have raped and killed you!” he raged.

Ahhh. A father’s love. So reassuring.

That night, I went into a coma-like sleep, my dreams of delectable pastries interrupted by thoughts of some wanker taxi driver chasing me down flooded roads with the intent of raping me. Not a good mix.