I decided to take myself out for a treat this Friday, all work and no play makes Efia a really dull girl and well listening to the tune of being broke is starting to get dull.
The first stop was City Express, a new hotel around Airport Residential Area in Accra. Well I say new but it has been open since May but I thought I would check it out finally after months of saying I would. The previous week I heard that some friends of mine had gone there. The sad thing about sharing your friends with an ex is that although they say that they are not going to take sides, they all seem to lean towards one or the other. But hey ho, such is life I guess.
Well anyway went to check it out, there was a live band and I do love sitting by the poolside listening to good music. I would love to tell you the name of the band, unfortunately even though they had plastered it on their drums, I cannot for the life of me remember, old age or were they just forgettable, I can’t say.
You see, I don’t know if it was because there were only a handful of people there but they were just okay. Did they make me want to get up of my seat and have a dance-along, not really. I think they were just as bored as the few guests around because at every break they made sure to announce that they were there every Friday between 6 pm and midnight and to ensure next time to “come in your numbers”.
The band did have quite an array of songs from hi life to reggae to 80s classics. The night did pick up a bit when I got chatting to a group of people who were also returnees but after that it became more about the conversation than the music.
Drinks are the usual price, cocktails start from 20GHS and they have a wide range of “snack food” such as burgers, pizzas and chicken wings. The starters start from around 15GHS ($5) and the mains you are looking at 30GHS ($10). If you want to stay the night you are looking at 500GHS for a standard room ($150) to around 900GHS ($300) so not to different to your Tulip or your Holiday Inn.
I did get a sneak peak at the rooms before the hotel opened and to be fair I would rather stay there than Golden Tulip or Holiday Inn. Each room is like a mini apartment with a little kitchen with a microwave oven and fridge so if you end up out in the town and come home with a Chinese, you don’t need to worry about getting home after hours and finding yourself starving until breakfast.
The setting is quite beautiful and it does feel when you are inside like you are somewhere outside of Accra, while you are within the confines of the hotel you could imagine you are in Cape Coast or Akosombo.
They also have sizeable conference rooms, a public gym and although I am not 100% certain, I believe the pool is open to the public. If you want to relax on a weekend, even if it is just for an afternoon, it is a nice place to find peace in the middle of a very busy city.
From there we spent a few hours in Champs sports bar next to the Paloma hotel. Back in the day, every Friday was spent in that place watching the guys play pool, listening to some very bad karaoke and pushing back a couple of tequila’s. Then they changed it to Lexington Bar, it looked like a high end West End bar, took out the pool tables, made the place look very clinical and took away the karaoke essentially shooting themselves in the foot. So they went back and although they did lose some regulars, the place is back to the regular packed Friday night with a lot of expats and holiday makers getting drunk and singing along to Britney Spears’ “Hit me baby one more time”. The door fee is 20GHS but you get as much back in free vouchers to buy drinks at the bar.
There was a group of us, the guys went straight to the pool table while me and my friend D went to check out the Karaoke. It was a very packed Friday night with barely anywhere to stand, as I was being pushed and prodded I suddenly started to feel my age and my mother’s age too for that matter. Fortunately we did find a spot to stand but unfortunately it was behind a very neat looking man with very strong body odour. I literally had to hold my nose but once in a while when I inhaled, the smell would go straight up my nose and to my head.
Eventually the guys left and we got a seat, which gave me a chance to people watch. I have been a bit out of the fashion loop but from looking around I guess the 80s is back. Now although I am not one for fashion, I do know that when a decade comes back, it usually has a present spin on it, but Ghana, well looking at some of the ladies, they literally raided their parent’s wardrobe and came to the bar.
The first lady I saw, I think she got her inspiration from 80s Madonna. She was wearing a white lace crop top and stained skinny cropped jeans. It wasn’t too bad, however because she was quite dark, and the setting was dark she just looked like a fluorescent gloworm. All I could see was the clothes. Now I love my black tone and this has no bearing on her beauty, I just believe that whatever your size and whatever your tone you don’t need to be a slave to fashion and wear what compliments you the best.
Then there were the two ladies in front of me. These two were really a throwback to the 80s. The first lady was quite slim and was wearing a short boiler suit. From the neck down, she looked ok. However, from the neck up, I think she got her inspiration from Hilda Ogden. Hilda Ogden for those of you who don’t know is a character that graced our TV in the 80s on a soap opera called Coronation Street. Her trademark was a scarf which she tied around her head and always had rollers sticking out the front. The lady in front of me was Hilda without the rollers. Hilda had a husband called Stan, he always used to wear a woolly hat. Now this is why I think they took inspiration from these characters, because the lady she was with was wearing a woolly hat just like Stan. Now the first one I could forgive but her friend, it was like a SMH moment. The friend was rather meaty and was wearing a tiger print jumpsuit with shoulder pads if that wasn’t bad enough, she topped it off with this woolly hat. Like I know that it is a little bit cold in Ghana this year but our definition of cold is summer in England. Plus she was in a club, wearing a weave, the place was crowded hence hot, to top it off a woolly hat, only God knows the amount of sweat that must have gone into that poor ladies hair at the end of the night.
However, I can’t blame her, she probably saw it on one of these American talk shows and wanted to be part of the latest fashion trend but these shows are probably 6 months out of date (hence winter) and we don’t get a winter in Ghana.
We left shortly after the Karaoke ended and went straight to bed. I think that was enough entertainment to last me a couple of weeks at least. It was an interesting night out in any event and had fun by all.