About a week has passed since my arrival in Accra. Having arrived late to NYU's orientation, another NYU student and I dragged our belongings into a van where we were shuttled to meet the other students. We completed half a day of orientation before our bags ever saw our rooms.
We live in a giant commune where four houses surround a common outside area. Inside, the ceilings are high and plated with crown molding, and our rooms are more spacious than a dream apartment back in the city. Outside, we have marble balconies where we can perch and gaze over at the grove of tropical trees beyond our yard.
However, our shower, AC and toilet did not work for the first few days/still. Our commune is protected by barbwire and vigilant security. We were told that a University of Legon student was robbed around the corner midday for his laptop. And I've been having crazy dreams. This beautiful, tropical weather definitely doesn't exempt travelers from an adjusting period.
The animals are awesome though. The frogs are humongous and bellow throughout the night from the gutters, and the salamanders are as cute as they are freaky. The birds here are clearly descendants from the dinosaurs because they look like dino-pigeons. They don't chirp; they scream like hoarse beagles or monster ducks. Another kind of bird in the area looks a little like a narrow plank and whistles around making an like owl-like, swooping sound as it fights fellow plank-birds out of the trees. It's a highly entertaining means of distraction during a lecture.
So far, I have visited the market, Labadi beach and a few restaurants and learned a little Twi, but I'm still getting a barring on the general layout of the city. The locals are very helpful, however, and will immediately engage in conversation. The kids are super cute too and enjoy meeting tourists. A few small children near the slave castles on the coast, about 3-4 years old, couldn't speak English, so they instead ran around us, grabbing our hands and repeatedly shouting "How are you?" They're pretty hard not to love.