Friday, September 20, 2013

Ghana, I love you!!! Why in the world would I stay in a hotel when there's GraceyVille?!!!

Ghana Flag Map

Ghana is, by far, my favorite destination in the entire world. It is actually much more than a destination.  It is my second home, my resting place, my love affair.  I guess it all started back in the 70's when my uncle, aunt (my father's elder sister), and my cousin went to live in Ghana, because my uncle worked for some US agricultural agency.  I was so distraught that I couldn't go with them.  Then my paternal grandmother went to visit them for a whole month.  She brought back some wonderful gifts for my sister and me, including PanAm bags.  My aunt also sent and brought back some really nice, interesting goodies for us, including the book (below), which I've managed to keep all these years...

My late aunt brought this book back from Ghana in 1974.
GraceyVille (Devtraco Estates, Community 18) is the real reason why I'm writing this blog.  I gave a bit above and below because I got excited about discovering how to add pictures to this blog, and then I had the nerve to figure out how to add captions and position the pictures.

It must have been less than a month before I was due to depart the USA for my third trip to Ghana in March 2010. (I was previously in Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and Ghana in October 2008 with a return to Ghana in March/April 2009.)  I was in a bit of a panic, because I had waited so late to make accommodation.  I was determined not to use the vacation rental company from my first two trips to Ghana (that's a whole other story, not worthy of mention here).  So, I kept searching the Internet for vacation rentals in Ghana.  I really wanted to deal directly with the homeowner.  A certain property seemed quite appealing to me.  By the way, I've never stayed in a hotel in Ghana, and I don't think I ever will.  I don't have anything against hotels, but I enjoy the comfort and space of an actual home.  Plus, most hotels are more expensive than renting a vacation rental.  As far as Ghana is concerned, I will always live in the midst of the people whom I love so much.  As I kept digging for information, I discovered the direct website with the owner's information, rental requirements, and plenty of great pictures:  Check the website at your leisure.

March 2010 was my first stay at GraceyVille, and then I returned January/February 2011, November/December 2011, and September/October 2012.  I am definitely trying to break some kind of record here.  Ghana has taken over my life!  Needless to say, I highly recommend GraceyVille, which is a villa on Devtraco Estates.  GraceyVille's owner is simply the best.  I wouldn't trade doing business with Mrs. Grace Yartey aka Maa Grace for anything.  Maa Grace saw to it that all of my stays were wonderful. I like the fact that the estate and the villa are secure and safe.  The neighborhood is full of really great people and plenty shops, taxis, and food.  Food is important!!!

In terms of convenience, Kotoka International Airport in Accra (Ghana's capital city) is about a 30-minute drive to Devtraco Estates.  Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive.  It is always good to agree on a price before entering a taxi.

GraceyVille patio
Inside GraceyVille Compound

Another view of GraceyVille's patio
Sneak peak of living room from dining room
Local, delicious food from Gratia Flavours Restaurant, which is just past Community 18 Police Station (a short walk from GraceyVille)

Bojo Beach is another experience worth going to Ghana for, especially if you like a clean beach with local fisherman gathering their nets, school children passing by on their way to their village(s), and very few tourists.  I prefer Bojo Beach over the crowded beaches in Accra.  Plus, Bojo Beach is quite an enchanting, unique place.  I think I owe Bojo Beach, and a few other interesting spots, its own blog.  When visiting Bojo, Kokrobite Beach is just a short drive west. 

Crossing Densu River to reach Bojo Beach in the background.  What a unique piece of nature! The water is not always this calm, and I have a problem with boats and water, but I made it! Kwame, with outstretched arms, is one of the best drivers in Ghana!!!

Fishermen drawing their nets.  I like watching this.  Maybe I will ask to join next time.
Bojo Beach's Densu River side.  The Atlantic is just on the other side of the sand.  Amazing!!!

The food at Bojo Beach is delicious.  As you can see, it is well-served.  That was the seafood platter.
A nice view of Bojo Beach and the Atlantic Ocean

Ghana is my Home away from Home

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Loyalty, Respect, Integrity, and Love" (Delta Airlines #1762 LAX to JFK Thursday 5 Sep 2013)

¶Loyalty, Respect, Integrity, and Love are the four essential components that I require in a relationship. I would dare say that, if they are not present, there is no hope. I know this does not sound much like a travel blog entry, but I think I have someone's attention (smile). I am loyal to Delta Airlines and SkyTeam.

¶Before I officially switched my exclusive travel to Delta, I had flown with the airline a few times, but I flew mostly with American Airlines and oneworld. However, I decided to give Delta my full attention when the carrier commenced flying to Accra, Ghana (followed by Lagos & Abuja, Nigeria; Dakar, Senegal; Cairo, Egypt; Luanda, Angola; Monrovia, Liberia; and, Cape Town & Johannesburg, South Africa. I was just so happy that an American carrier finally reconnected the USA (via JFK in New York and ATL in Atlanta) with various African nations via nonstop and/or direct* service. Some of the destinations listed above are no longer being serviced by Delta. I hope to see them resurrected (Luanda,  Cairo, and Abuja) and joined by Malabo, Equatorial Guinea and Nairobi, Kenya. Once the revered, historic, and highly-esteemed PanAm went out of service, there was no nonstop/direct commercial service between North America and Africa for many years by an American carrier.

¶Oops, I have definitely lost my way. At present,  I am basking in Delta's Business Elite from LAX to JFK, eating a wonderful omelet due to an upgrade, which is a perk from having Platinum Elite status. This also happened for me a little over a month ago from JFK to LAX, and this one was totally unexpected. The wide body Boeing 767-300ER aircraft is a great improvement and relief from the exclusive use of the Boeing 757 single-aisle aircraft on the nonstop run between my native New York (Brooklyn born and raised!) and my beloved Los Angeles where I currently reside.

¶In the voice of SNL character Stephan, let me tell you why Delta's Business Elite is a treat...the pleasant, attentive flight attendants; the full flat-bed seats; the entertainment system with wonderful headsets; the mimosas and other grown-up beverages; the food; the real-sized pillow and plush blanket; and, the overall service (including the gate agents).

¶Whew! I like mimosas! Regarding the four attributes (loyalty, respect, integrity, and love) of a successful, fulfilling relationship, Delta Airlines has shared all of them with me. I have flown with Delta throughout North America and to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America in all classes of service. I am truly pleased with Delta's way of doing business. When I boarded this flight (Delta #1762, LAX to JFK, 5 Sep 2013), I was not thinking about blogging at all.

¶Oh no! I just came from the lavatory...there is a fresh mimosa awaiting me. What am I supposed to do with this? I am already feeling so happy about everything. I do not intend to offend the flight attendant who made the drink for me (good excuse to indulge). Now it is time to take a journey with C.S. Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet (the first book from his Space Trilogy). Sorry, Mr. Lewis. Once I sank into that full flat-bed seat, I drifted off into a dream about someone whom I love in Ghana.

*Direct service means that the aircraft makes a scheduled stop before reaching its actual destination. For example, if you have the pleasure of flying to Monrovia, the aircraft goes to Accra first.