It was 1998, 6th standard just got over and we planned a vacation to go to Ghana (since Papa was working there). Ghana was just like India. Same kind of roads, a little trash here and there, small apartment buildings, shops, the trees, and even beggars at signals! The difference lies in the fact that people there are a lot darker and you drive cars on the right side of the road.
In the two month trip to a foreign land we went to beaches, forts, castles, shopping centres, and something that was amazing for an eleven year old – a Pub! I still remember. It was right down the street where Papa lived and it was called ‘Potter’s Pub.’
Since it was so close, we decided one evening to have dinner at the Pub. But it was empty. There were no other people in there since it was a weekday. Papa told us that the Pub was packed on days when Football matches were being played. Football for Ghanaians is like Cricket for us.
The pub was the size of a larger than normal living room with a bar to the left as soon as you entered it and a dart board next to it and a few tables in front of the entrance. The dance floor was behind the seating area.
The dance floor was a small square area, hardly big enough to accommodate fifteen people. Now that I think about it I guess the locals hardly went there to dance. It was more about the football and beers for them! :-p
The dancing floor was like a chess board. Only instead of black and white boxes, it had yellow, orange, red, green and other colorful ones that kept blinking and changing colors. Also, there were colored lights on the ceiling and spot lights as well. Nattu and I were delighted. There was some local music going on which Nattu and I knew the words of, by the time we came back to India in July that year (yes we missed a month of school since our visas we ready only by April end and we could leave by mid May.)
So with just two people who worked at the Pub, Amma, Papa, Nattu and I there, we had the whole Pub to ourselves. We did a lot of things for the first time that night. We played darts, (Didn’t play it right though! The fact that the darts hit the board that was meant for it than the wall next to it was a blessing!), danced on a dancing floor (it was awesome fun chasing the colored lights) and having Pizza!!! Yes! We had pizza for the first time at Potter’s Pub in Accra, Ghana. It was wonderful. It was nothing compared to what Dominos and Pizza Hut make, but back then we had nothing to compare it to. I still wish I could remember the date.
Other than the pizza, darts and the dance floor, there were loads of things that we did for the first time in our lives, when we were on that vacation. Beginning from getting on a plane, to traveling in our own car (provided by Papa’s company, but what the hell!), going on a five hour cruise along Lake Volta on this boat called ‘Dodi Princess’, wearing a one piece swim-suit, looking at your feet through crystal clear water at the beach (at Tills beach resort), seeing a castle including ammunition like cannons and guns (at Elmina castle), seeing the local neighbour catching crabs to make soup and running for life when the crab got out of her hand, climbing on the walls of our apartment like spiders (in the passage… it was very narrow, so Nattu and I put one leg on each side of the wall and hopped up till our head reached the ceiling! And the ceilings there are not as low as ours. It was a good two to three feet higher than what we have here in India!), bathing in a bathtub, having to use a WC (how I had missed the toilets in India!), sleeping in our own room with an air conditioner, having a full time maid to cook and clean, visiting a super-market, having my hair tied in a ‘Rashta’ (where your hair is tied up in a hundred or so thin plaits! Typical African hairdo), and a lot more things I wish I could remember but since its almost twelve years since then and my long term memory chooses not to help me with this, I may have to rack my brains and fill you in with the details some other time…