Bill again. Greece and Ghana.
Athens, Greece vs Accra, Ghana; Kythera vs Konongo; Feta vs Fufu. Has our trip to Greece, in reality, been a trip to a parallel universe?
Many things were kinda similar. Happy, loud people living in a louder, hectic community. Greece is certainly substantially more developed, with ‘our’ food and sickeningly beautiful coastlines, but there is still that mild thrill that things can go totally pear-shaped in a few simple steps.
There were moments where you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the other country. For instance, Jock asked if a strikingly malodorous part of Athens was called ‘Ghanatown’. A laissez-faire attitude to bike and motorbike helmets also rates in both countries. Below is the ancient ruin of Olympus. If you squint, it closely resembles some built up areas in West Africa. There is almost always no kettle in hotel rooms in either country (this one is unforgivable!).
There is a big difference on the fiscal front – the Greek economy is rubbish. Both countries have nutso roads. Greek roads are convoluted, windy, narrow affairs (except for the freeways). Ghanas roads are simply an embarrassment. Anyone who drives in either country should have their licence taken off them for a two month cooling-off period on return to Australia. There was a lot more culture on offer in Greece, but it’s not fair to compare a previously developed country with one that is still developing. I think Ghanas data network is faster, too!
But at the end of the day, there is only one internationally recognized method of ranking countries against each other. No not the World Bank, the world game. How do these two countries, Ghana and Greece, compare in the round ball arena? The one international game, played in 1999 returned a … 1-all draw. Bugger.
Content with a draw, we flew home. The local airline threw in a special treat to celebrate our return. The trip from Accra to Kumasi offered ’Orignal Float’ – a devils brew of peach and mango – especially crafted to have chunks of fruit floating throughout the beverage. In reality, it tastes OK, but it’s impossible (thanks to the chunky texture) to dispel the suspicion that you’re consuming a can of luke warm, sweet vomit – and is more than a little alarming the first time you drink it and suck a soggy mango cube through your teeth. The kids were horrified by it, and it was used as an effective disciplinary weapon against our youngest. We could have cut out the middleman and tipped it straight into the barf bag. Could have been worse I suppose, it could have been a can of ‘Orignal Floater’.
Below is the acoustic marvel Epidavros. You can hear a whisper on the stage from the back row – not that anyone in either country knows what a whisper is… Its used for occasional concerts and is the acclaimed finals venue for international ‘Chinese Whispers’ competitions (OK, I made that up).