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Some Things to Know Before Traveling to Ghana

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So one thing I noticed when I went to Accra in Ghana is that it was very dirty. There was a lot of litter on the streets. A lot of trash on the streets. And there is big ditches on the side of the roads. There are big gutters and they're open. There's like slimy green brown water in them and they smell like feces and urine and there's trash in them. It's really disgusting. And then sometimes, actually, very often I saw people going to the bathroom in these gutters on the sides of the roads.

When I went to Accra one thing that surprised me as soon as I got out of the airport, it was amazing, but I saw people, especially a lot of women walking around with big containers or plates on there heads, and just walking, carrying these big large objects on their heads. I've seen National Geographic and documentaries about Africa before, but somehow it didn't strike me that I would see this in Accra. I thought Accra was a really developed city or whatever, but no, it's right there in Accra. I thought that was something I would see in the really rural areas of Africa or something. But it was quite common and very interesting, and that was one of my wonderful experiences about traveling to Ghana was seeing that.

Also, when I went to Accra a lot of people offered their help, especially men. On the street they would come up to me. They would ask me where I was from and where I was saying. They told me that if I needed anything they would help me out. When I first got to Accra I thought wow these people are really friendly. And the way they approached me was in a very friendly manner. But actually, I'd say almost everybody, except for 1 guy I met, everybody, every guy who approached me, what they wanted was, they did want to help me out, but they also expected some money in return. And they'd also say to me like "You're my brother. You're going to be my brother until I die." So they'd make me feel like I was their friend, but then they are expecting some compensation. So, I kind of want to do things by myself and I didn't want to be like a tourist. And even though I needed help sometimes I didn't feel like paying anybody to be my tour guide so I just kind of closed of those contacts and relationships as soon as possible.

Another thing that was interesting to me is the handshake. When you meet someone, a man or a woman. It's kind of hard to explain because there's not two people here. You shake their hand and then when you pull away from the handshake you snap your finger against their middle finger so your two middle fingers snap. I thought that was a really cool and personal way to great people.

Another thing to expect is to get sick. I mean get really sick. Like vomiting and diarrhea. The food tasted good. When I looked at it it didn't look dirty, but man did I get sick. I mean I got really sick. I'm actually going to talk about this more in a different video. Just to briefly give you a heads up expect to get sick in Ghana.

Okay another thing is the customer service. Ghana doesn't really have a big tourist infrastructure. You know, I saw tourist there but it's really kind of sparse in terms of services for tourists. When you go to hotels and stores and you're taking taxis or tro tros and buses don't expect any kind of customer service. Don't expect people to bend over backwards for you or to be polite. They just don't have that sense of customer service. I'm not saying that the Ghanaians are bad people, that's just not part of the culture yet.

I mean if you go to somewhere like here in Japan, the sense of customer service is very high. People who work in the service industry here are very enthusiastic about providing great customer service, but in Ghana that kind of sense just doesn't exist because they don't really have... like I said they don't have a big tourist infrastructure there yet and there's not a lot of tourists going there and they haven't quite realized that they can actually make a lot of money from tourism. But you know, it's going to happen in the next 100 years or so.

And then finally one thing that kind of shocked me and that you should expect when you go to Accra and Ghana is that there's really no stores there. Not the kind of stores that you're used to in the United States or in Europe. Accra is the biggest city in Ghana and the most developed city in Ghana. But beside for a few select, maybe foreign owned supermarkets, there's no stores like you're used to in the west. People just do their businesses out of a container. You know the kind of containers that are carried on the back of trucks and trains. They set up a shot in a container, or there's a little hut and they usually canned food, dried goods. They only sell usually one thing. This hut sells fruit, this one sells vegetables, this one sells canned goods, this one sells sunglasses. Don't expect to be able to go shopping and go to stores and stuff cause you won't find it there.

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