South Africa – Part 1: Sometimes Everyone Needs a Bit of Pampering

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I’ve definitely gotten used to certain things living in Ghana. I though that I was 100% fine with many parts of my life. However, maybe I didn’t realize how much I was missing life in Canada until I got to South Africa.  Here they have smooth paved roads, where drivers never honk, and people follow the traffic lights.  There are joggers and cyclists running along the road, with lawns of grass and tree-lined suburban neighbourhoods, with houses that look like home.  So it was nice to take a little break and come back – think it might take away a bit of my home sickness and get me more motivated when I return back to Ghana. On my first day, I checked out the weekly Sunday market on the rooftop parking garage of the attached mall.  It was just closing but I bought a few cute things – including a carved stone statue of an elephant and a cool new pair of comfy pants.

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The Holiday Inn Rosebank is really nice and has all the modern comforts. There’s a nice restaurant, a pool, room service, TV, and WiFi.  Most importantly (for those who know me well, you know I love this!), there’s a bed with big fluffy pillows and comforters (there’s even one labelled firm and one labelled soft so you can choose based on your preference!). Back in Ghana I didn’t realize it but I was probably extremely sleep deprived. It’s difficult to get in enough hours of sleep when there’s so many sounds outside and it’s always really bright. Plus when the powers off it can get really hot, which makes everyone uncomfortable.  When I first arrived here at 7:30 am, I decided to take a bit of a nap… I closed the black-out blinds and crawled into bed in my clothes… and ended up sleeping until 3:30pm! I guess I was exhausted.

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On the first morning I decided to get breakfast in bed!  It was fabulous – cereal, croissants, coffee/hot chocolate, and a cheese plate with fruit – wow!  It definitely prepared me for my first long day at conference.  I was feeling a bit nervous (since I was presenting that day), so I ate a bit and put the rest in my mini-fridge for later, who doesn’t love snacks? On the last day of the conference, a few of us came back early from the networking event and I even had time to sit by the pool.  It wasn’t very big, but I still got my relax on – including a cocktail and grilled cheese sandwich – heaven!

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On my last day I wanted to go do more shopping but there was no time!  I got to the airport around 3 and checked in (it always feels great to leave your big bag behind). Then I mailed a few postcards and went shopping… cuz why not? I bought 2 LED lanterns (since the power at my house is always out and candlelight isn’t cutting it), a couple small souvenirs, and a cute hat (it’s really hot in Accra but it looks weird if I wear a baseball cap with my dress clothes on the way to work)! Then I spent the rest of my cash on snacks and drinks for the plane.

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Once aboard I got a window seat (score!) with nobody beside me (so I got to sprawl!). 🙂 I watched a few movies with a couple mini bottles of wine, and six hours later we were landing in overcast Accra. It’s always such a relief to actually see your bag coming towards you on the carousal.  I took a taxi back home and chatted with Mike about his various illnesses (still TBD) before going to bed early.

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Overall I really enjoyed South Africa! There was so much green, it rekindled my spirit. I ate well and got lots of sleep, which is exactly what I needed. I even bought some African pants, postcards, and a cute hat at the airport. However, It makes it a bit harder to love Accra. Whenever you go somewhere new you make comparisons, it’s human nature. But the comparison between big city Ghana and big city developed world is a pretty harsh one. It’s polluted, lots of traffic, awful roads, no restaurants and bad customer service. But it’s my home for now, so I’ll have to learn to accept all that.  At least I have lots of cool new friends! 🙂

If you want to know more about this trip, check out my other blogs about South Africa (which will all be posted later this week):

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About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
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One Response to South Africa – Part 1: Sometimes Everyone Needs a Bit of Pampering

  1. Pingback: South Africa – Part 2: Design With the Other 90% | The World… Thoughts, Books and Adventures

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