Category Archives: travel

Four days in France (étaient fabuleux)

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I just had four days in France, which felt like ten days away. Great company (my husband), and no agenda except going to two concerts by The Opposition (this is from another concert last year) – and exploring amazing food that we would not get in Accra.  It took us three days to actually have a macaron, we were busy enjoying baguettes and almond croissants and walking for miles. Coming from 32-33C, just walking without being sweat-drenched was lovely, and Paris is lovely, especially with no sightseeing plans whatsoever. Well, apart from looking at food:

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Baguette fillings: you buy your baguette, choose your filling and voila! Lunch! The boulangeries and pâtisseries were such fun, even just to look at. Paris-Brest, canelés, religieuses, pastries I have seen on the Great British Bake Off technical challenges but never in real life: I was thrilled.Maybe next time I will have time to taste them.

We ambled up Rue des Martyrs in the rain the first day at lunchtime and snacked our way from Japanese gyoza to Breton buckwheat crêpes, and never got hungry enough for dinner that day. The next morning we went to E. Dehillerin and fondled cookware, resisting life-sized pear-shaped silicone moulds as they would not fit in handluggage (imagine! all kinds of pear-shaped desserts for the next year!). Silly, but tempting. We settled for some tiny tins for petit fours, and now must research how one makes those. I have a vague idea of layers, or pastry cream and tiny berries. Probably not something we will try in our Accra kitchen, but a fun project to try.

How about a BUCKET of chocolate mousse, labeled “Make love not mousse”? Tempting, again, but we were shopping for a train picnic, and made do with baguettes and camembert, and tart lemon yoghurt. I adore foreign supermarkets.

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Tins of tripe in Normandie, which did not make it back to Accra with me. Some cassoulet might just have, though. And maybe some crottin de chevre, apple jam with Calvados, Roquefort, butter with sel de guerande, and a packet of microwavable cheese souffles. How bad can those be? We shall see.

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This is from a local cheese van near Caen at the Saturday market, the smell and taste was amazing. Imagine having gorgeous cheese like that available every day….. and speaking impeccable French….. je ne peux que rêver. My French was more functional than I expected, which is always good  (or maybe I just had very patient counterparts). It was an excellent mini-break!

 

 

 

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Hopefully not dumsor….

For the third evening, our part of Accra and parts of the country have had power cuts. Not too bad tonight, but the last two evenings lights were blinking and power went on and off, not great for anything electrical. My voltage regulator had already been dusted off, after having laptop chargers fried: it keeps the voltage stable when the network fluctuates, only way to charge a laptop safely. The power company changed from ECG to PDS, and while officials say it is not officially dumsor here, the problems are expected to continue for five more days.

Dumsor. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. In Ghana, a dumsor (Akan pronunciation: [dum sɔ] ‘off and on’) is a persistent, irregular, and unpredictable electric power outage. The frequent Ghanaian blackouts are caused by power supply shortage.

Walking home tonight, the roar of generators across our neighborhood reminded me of our first year in Accra when power outages were the norm.  It’s gotten much better since that, so hopefully it’s better by next week. Not that we can complain, at least we have generators and money to run those.

Meanwhile back in Rome, there has been outcry after an overzealous contractor from the capital’s urban decor department painted over the classic “Vota Garibaldi” grafitti from 1948 in our neighborhood yesterday.  The sign is now being restored.

Before:Vota Garibaldi

Another Saturday craft market trip, Accra

img_20190302_121635289092853.jpgAfter my scouting for groundnuts last Saturday, we went to the monthly craft market at the W.E.B. Dubois centre in Cantonments, Accra. First Saturday of each month. It is so much nicer than the old location at the Goethe Insitute, there is more room and more vendors. Very expat focused, there are crafts and fabric, clothes and soap, black soap, Ghana coffee, jewelery, carvings and paintings and overall a good selection if presents are needed.  Some of the same vendors are at other markets other weekends, but it is easy when they are all on one place this one day a month.  You bump into friends, talk to seamstresses, it is good fun.

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Glass beads. I have not been to a bead making place yet, but that is on my list. You can also find craft popsicles (5 cedi, about 0.9 USD),  yoghurt, bread and muffins, vegetables, drinks….. and yes, bagels! They are actually quite nice, though pricey at 6 cedi each. We always buy more and get a discount, which is very nice.  Today we were late, so they only had two kinds left.

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Mmmmm, toasted bagels….. I know how to make them, but when it’s a humid 33C it is such sweaty work…… My last bagels from New Year’s in London are safe in the freezer, but will be liberated soon to continue my pantry challenge.

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Oh, the colours and fabrics here! Wonderful! As my clothes from three years ago get increasingly ragged, they are replaced with some clothes in local fabrics. We do wonder when we would wear some of these later, but that will be an issue later.

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Batik: what would look good as what? 20 cedis a yard  (3.6 USD), three yards for  fabric for a full-skirted dress, two yards for a straight dress no sleeves.  I will have to think about this.  Same time, next month.