Obroni Meltdown

We call ahead to at least five hotels that we have starred in the Bradt Guide to Ghana – all of their prices have doubled from what the travel book says – I guess my Obroni accent isn’t exactly helping the situation! After settling on the price of the room, we get to the Raybow (this is probably meant to be “rainbow” but this is Ghana!) and attempt to check in . We run through the “must-have” check list: AC?, Fan? Hot water? Generator when the power fails so at least the fan can run when the AC is out? Check, check – we are all set to go.

“Now can we see the room, please?”

“No rooms available tonight or for a week going forward”…retracing my steps through the empty parking lot and silent hotel grounds – this is one of the biggest hotels we have seen in Ghana. I ask again, thinking this must be just one of the daily misunderstandings.

“No room available for a week!”

“Umm…but we called you one hour ago and we just spent 15 min negotiating.” –This is the plight of the Obroni – never take anything for granted or assumed here!

She says: “ You asked price – not room available.”

Again dismayed and honestly flabbergasted: “But the mere act of calling a hotel implies that I would like a room…” At this point I am standing on the very edge of a serious Obroni meltdown…

Five minutes later, we are drenched in sweat carrying our bags down the road to the next hotel – we try to lift our spirits and send out positive thoughts to make this next transaction smoother.

Two hotels later we arrive at the Guesthouse Maggi. The first sentence out of Anne Sophie’s mouth upon seeing our new room is, “This place looks like a soft-core porn bedroom.” Completely exhausted, we glaze over the velour cranberry colored bedspread, copper art pieces of naked women and throw our stuff in the corner and crank up the AC. The day has just begun, but I feel like I’ve been traveling for a week straight. Anne Sophie and I head to the hotel restaurant, “The Princess Diana Restaurant.”

Anne Sophie warms me she is about to breakdown with a bad case of “LBS,” the dangerous state known as “low blood sugar” when she needs to eat asap. We’re both on the edge of a second Obroni meltdown and decide to order a salad and pizza to split. First, a simple question, “What is the difference between the mixed salad and the vegetable salad?” The Ghanaian waitress answers, “”Same-Same, but different.” I know better than to pursue any further.

“Okay, we’ll have the mixed salad. No meat, please. We are vegetarians. And we’ll have the Hawaiian pizza, but no ham please. I tell her thank you, Me da se.” The plight of the Obroni continues…When traveling in countries where the path of meat to your plate is questionable, it’s often best to pull the V card.

A good hour and a half later, after devouring an emergency Odwalla Bar, the food arrives. We were two for one; the salad has no meat or mayonnaise dressing, but sadly the pizza was covered in fatty chunks of bacon(?), then blanketed in a florescent yellow layer of squeeze cheese. Again, the plight of the Obroni…Don’t lust after things that aren’t native to the country you are traveling in. Eat local.

About the author

Delana Lensgraf