Jamestown was the first neighborhood we explored in Accra, and upon the conclusion of that stressful but successful day, we thought, “Good! Done and dusted, and that’s the last time we visit Jamestown!” Wrong, wrong, and wrong. During our time in Accra, we returned frequently. Somehow, our path always seem to lead back here to this neighborhood by the sea.
Half of the time we returned to Jamestown, we were totally unsuccessful in whatever mission we had set out for ourselves — the lighthouse was closed, or the museum was horrible. But every single visit ended with a nice, cold stress-beer. What? Have you not heard of a stress-beer? You think it might be the invention of an alcoholic looking for excuses? Well, take a random tour of Jamestown! Try and take photographs! Try to walk around for hours in the tropical heat, breathing air so polluted it’s visible! Try to visit any historic sight, and deal with the simultaneous facts that (a) it’s closed and (b) someone is still insisting that you pay to see it! And then tell me you don’t understand “stress-beer”.
Each visit to Jamestown served as a useful indicator for our African Acclimation levels. The first time, we were shocked by much of what we saw. The next time was much more relaxed, and the idea that kids might want to hug us or pull on our arm hair seemed almost natural. The third visit, I didn’t even blink when a completely naked crazy guy walked past me. Sure, they were around his thighs, but he still kind of had sweatpants on. Whatever, it’s Jamestown!
Our latest trip to Jamestown was the best, because at this point, we were totally inured to the mayhem. It’s just proof that humans can get used to anything. And what made it super cool, was that we even knew people! Accra might be big, but its neighborhoods are small, and when the coach from the Black Panter boxing gym called to us from across the street, it wasn’t a total surprise. And then we ran into Emmanuel from the Gbekekii School… probably because his favorite bar (Zapp Spot) had already become our favorite bar, and 5pm is definitive stress-beer time in Jamestown.
Also on this latest trip, we saw some cool things. One was the Trinity Catholic Cathedral, found directly on High Street. Built in 1894, this gorgeous brick construction predates everything around it, and must have been an impressive sight in colonial times. Nearby, is the Central Post Office, which is stunning from the outside and absolutely ordinary within. We liked most the post office boxes which surround the exterior of the building.
We also spent a longer time in the Brazil House during this trip, chatting with Christina, one of the descendants of the original Tabom people who had come over from Bahia, in the late 18th century. (We wrote more about the fascinating Tabom people in our original Jamestown post.)
The more time we spend there, the less apprehensive we are about Jamestown. Sure, it’s rougher than Adabraka, but it’s no longer scary. From the great bars to the outrageous street life, there are plenty of reasons to return. If you find yourself there, make sure to say “Hi” to everyone from us!