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Eco-chic 'serviced apartments' in Accra, Ghana: for cool vibes and laid-back business trips!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


A diligent, five minute Google search on property rentals in Accra will tell you two things about finding a short term rental in this city:
1. That short let accommodation in Accra is as rare as emeralds in a bag of chips; and
2. That self-contained housing in this sprawling capital city can be totally exorbitant ($2,000-$6,000 per month, unfurnished, not including utilities.)

So how do you find what you want, at a price you can afford?
The best advice for any new-comer to Accra, particularly a 'westerner', would be to ignore the misleading hype peddled by letting agents to promote certain areas, and to instead use your own commonsense and judgment.

It will quickly become clear to any experienced traveler that housing in Accra is as diverse and mixed as the racial demographic in this city these days. You should expect to find the full range of housing options and quality all within walking distance, and sometimes on the same road! You may even feel pity for the bewitched newcomer paying $6,000 per month to live in undeniable penthouse opulence, but who should not dare to look out of his window and onto, into even, the bubbling dense murk of the open storm drain below him. Especially, when just down the road, he could have overlooked the same magnificent gutter for just Ghc400 per month ($135) from his 2 room combo, aka 'Hall and Chambers'.

The curse of the inner city is already hitting the noses of central Accra residents: the colonial and inadequate infrastructure- such as roads, sanitation and waste disposal- is verging on total collapse under the unregulated explosion in residential construction. High-priced high rises have shot up on every half or corner plot available. The city is dirty, overcrowded, and after a good rain, pretty nasty. The stench from the gutter can be kept out by powerful air-conditioning, but the penthouse prince still has to leave his purple cushion sometimes, even if it is just to get into his air-conditioned chariot.

The deception of western expats goes to even more ridiculous levels when they are bombarded with 'advice' from 'executive residential agents' which warns them, fearfully, against the folly of living outside of specified ‘expat’ areas, and to instead try to rent as close to the airport runway as permitted by airport security. Such areas as Airport, Cantonments, Osu, and Spintex have become mini ghettos, where western expats greet each other with dazed glares and tones hushed by embarrassment as they compare their expense bills for the last month, and wonder where is all the money going? “OMG! Did you really spend $10,000 last month on housing ALONE? Are you living in a Palace?”… “No, it’s a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 7th floor apartment, with a pool...which we share with 100 other residents…”... “Oh!”

Cunning agents are feeding off the irrational fears of Westerners, which they have planted and constantly nurture, and are getting fat off obscene commissions. Western expats are even ignoring commonsense by rushing to live directly under the flight path of the airport runway, and seem oblivious to the damage being caused to their family's health by the noise and deadly jet stream pollution.

      So, what other choices do you have? Many- should be the honest reply. 
      1.Stop worrying about being ‘safe’. Accra, Ghana offers an unrivalled welcome to western expats and is as safe as anywhere you would live in New York, Brisbane or Paris…perhaps even safer.
2. Consider renting in different parts of the capital and outside of the reputed expat ‘safe zone’. Accra is not in Afghanistan, it is in fact nowhere near Kabul. There are other areas to consider which are not that much further, in ‘stuck in the traffic’ time, from wherever you are working or want to ‘hang out’. They are also greener, quieter and smell, and feel, cleaner. Consider: New Achimota, Haatso, Kwabenya, Pokuase ACP, Amasaman and more. There are no thumping nightclubs next door to keep you awake half the night; or bizarrely dressed ladies standing along the streets, and provoking a dozen questions from your amused children; neither are there greedy landlords looking to buy a first class pew in Heaven with your monthly payments…  
     3. Next, also consider your real needs while staying in Accra. If you did not live in a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom penthouse with shared pool...before in your home country, why do you need to live like that here? Simple question. Whatever your budget, you are always better off living well within it, and saving as much as you can.
4.   Never one to miss out on the opportunity for self promotion, you could consider a furnished self-contained flat such as the ones we offer at Legassi Gardens! The monthly rate is at least 1/3 of the lowest ‘expat’ inner city rate, and includes utilities, wireless internet and basic staffing. We also do rentals for any period, from 1 week onwards.
     5. Look for rentals which allow you a reduction in rent in return for you carrying out renovations on the property. Competent and competitively priced workmen are readily available and can put a property ‘in habitable condition’ in a matter of days, with the right incentives…
     6. Finally, be creative and broaden your scope in house hunting. Accra is full of potential, and you don’t have to lose an arm or a leg to live here.

Happy hunting and feel free to give us a call to check what we have available- 00233277522229 or 00233242703312!

Monday, 2 January 2012

“I wish 2012 could be different…”

For those of you wishing 2012 could be a different year for you, think again.
2012 is going to be just the same as every year, with only 1 digit difference, unless you are different.
Yup: “...heard it before and easier said than…”, but taking a different road is the only chance you have of reaching a different destination. So, where to start?

  • 1.    Go get your head back. Feel like you’re stuck in a rut, don’t know how to move forward, feel like you’re going round in circles? Close. You are actually boxed in. Somewhere along the line you put your head in that box, just so you could contain it, and act like everybody else. If you want to have a different life you need to take your head out of the box, cut  the box up and put it out for recycling. Clearly, ‘thinking inside the box’ hasn’t worked for you.
  • 2.     Stop waiting, stand up and go to the front of the line, it is your turn…Life really isn't about standing in line anyway. It’s about doing what you got to do to get what you need to have. You need to stop waiting. Life doesn’t deliver the goods you want to your door. There’s no supermarket service, it’s not supposed to be ‘convenient’. It’s your turn, and if you don’t make a decisive move forward now, the next number will be called.
  • 3.     Give yourself permission slips. Whatever you have been holding yourself back from doing, or being (as long this does not involve harm to the multifaceted layers of other beings) write a memo to yourself officially authorizing that formerly denied course of action. Want to write that Blues song, or compose the poem in Cantonese for your best friend? Yes, but there is always going to be something else more deserving of your time- like the ironing, or paving the drive-way. What you really want to do somehow always has to wait, until…But ‘permission’ becomes real when put in writing- something about concretization of intent, or proof for later challenges. Whichever. You will not only feel permitted, you will now feel positively compelled to buy those yellow and green 5 inch heels, and wear them to your graduation dinner.
  • 4.   Stop hating. Stop wasting time killing your body from the inside out. Why flood your endocrine system with poison when what you really want is to detoxify your self/spirit, and be free. You need to stop hating all the other haters and leave them where you keep finding them. Put the burden of hate and anger down; laugh it out of your system; blow it out with the breeze; if you like orderliness, file the people or experiences away under ‘been there’, then hurry off to your next appointment with glee.
  • 5.   Be ostentatious with your aptitudinality, revel in your uniqueness, explore your predelictions and challenge your attitudinality…What I mean is: enjoy being who you are. Every day give yourself a treat. Indulge your mind, body or your spirit. Never lose sight of the miracle of your creation. Correct me if I’m wrong, but scientists say that it takes 5 billion chemical processes to make a human being, and yet no-one knows how life is given to the flesh. Remember that your life is precious, so celebrate it. Celebrate you.
  • 6.    Believe the hype, especially if it’s about you! Hold up and your head and strut yo stuff, because that’s why you got so much of it! Other people be strutting with less than half a what you got. Those people run the world and define and control you, because they believe their hype. Stop apologizing, stop bothering about the scene behind your back, and make sure your face is the one in focus. No apology.
  • 7.      Edit edit edit- Make the perfect movie of your life, cut out the crap. If you want to make a little DVD of amusing out-takes go ahead, but only if they really make you laugh. Otherwise bin it all.
2012 will be however you make it, so take it how you want, and never fake it.

See the crew at Legassi Gardens:
skype us: legassigardens

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Hands up if ‘gap year’ just sounds like a year ‘off’ to you?! Travel Time for the lucky ones who can afford it. An unnecessary and obscenely extended tropical holiday? Indeed. The traditional view of the gap year is that it represents just that: a ‘gap’, a gaping hole in your c.v, the unexplained time out for idle travel, jaunting off to spend your liberal parents’ hard-earned money somewhere exotic, meeting other lucky strangers, drinking to excess, and … basically idling.

Naturally, that would be just a sinful waste of your time and talent. Instead, the first way to make that most pivotal of times in your life count for something is:
  1. To see the gap year as filling a gap in your life, not making one. Use the time wisely to fill the gaps in your personal and professional profile, learning new skills, challenging your own stereotypes. Get that work experience you could not find locally, overcome that phobia of creepy crawlies…
  2. Be honest about your motives. Do not deny yourself. If you want to use the year to gain some practical experience of working as a journalist abroad, do not go and volunteer in an orphanage. It will not mean that you are less worthy. You do not have to feel guilty for not making the trip entirely altruistic.
  3. Learn about the culture and history of the host community before you travel. This will help you to integrate and understand faster, and reduce the time spent adjusting to the ‘newness’ of the situation. This will allow you to become a participant for more of your time, instead of just an awkward on-looker. The idea is to get involved, not to analyze.
  4. Keep a record of your contacts and not just your experiences. So often the people we meet play an almost secondary role in our recollections of all our exciting adventures. That is not the purpose of interaction- we are not explorers discovering, or script writers arranging our set- we are guests, visitors, intruders for a time in real people’s lives. Make them centre stage, listen to them, hear them, connect genuinely with them, and then do not just discard them.
  5. Remember that this is not your one and only chance to expand your horizons! THE GAP YEAR! What a burden on it, and on you! Plan to fit in more time to travel and explore, researching the world beyond your ‘social village’. Enrich your life and that of others by continuing to travel, learn and share.

See the crew at Legassi Gardens:
skype us: legassigardens

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Wimbledon’s Leggy Blond Catfight!

And it was awesome! Long, slender bodies, taut limbs stretching, racing across a treaded, lined lawn. Lip gloss, eyeliner and even wet t-shirts! Shouts of anxious passion and competing exertions, sweat bands soaked. Tennis, not football, is now ‘the beautiful (and sexy) game’. With power and precision they battered each other, up and down the court. A blond bomb battle. Girls in short skirts going for the eyes and the baseline, in cunning tactical assaults. They stepped up, the girls really stepped it up.  “That’s shockingly good” said McEnroe… and he really should know.

I was not sure what to expect from the ‘leftie’, but she impressed. In her first ever ‘Grand Slam’ final, on The Centre Court of the most respected and lauded lawn tennis club- trying to win membership amongst the elite of champions, we could see what makes a champion. It is all about belief unclouded by doubt, unchallenged by fear. Clearly, it’s how the pressure is managed that answers the whispered question: can you do it? So many favorites fall at the last hurdle as they pause to whisper back: I’m not sure. So tighten up, slow it down, with leaded feet, breath held, you are distracted even by silence. You stare back at the headlights and you are frozen.

Pressure: it’s how you handle it that makes you a winner. So why not let nature fill in the gaps in your psychological profile, and try some anxiety reducing herbs!
·         Valerian
Valerian extract can be used as a treatment for both general anxiety and panic attacks, as well as insomnia.
·         Kava
Kava is also used for treating anxiety by quickly calming the nervous system and creating feelings of euphoria. The herb also acts as a sedative and muscle relaxant, and so is useful for the treatment of tension and insomnia.
·         Chamomile
Chamomile is a beneficial in alleviating nervous tension, insomnia and gastrointestinal problems.
·         Passionflower
Passionflower has been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat anxiety, calming the nerves, and letting you get a good night’s sleep.
·         Ginseng
This herb improves your mood, memory and attention, as well as lengthening physical and mental endurance, and easing anxiety. 

·         Yerba mate 
This herb has the effect of stimulating the mind, increasing concentration and easing depressive moods.

In any sporting success, but particularly where you stand and face your adversary alone, bravery is key, and a little arrogance is also helpful. Kvitova? A new champion is born, or self-made. “Pressure is a privilege” she says. Gotta memba dat. So take some herbs to still the nerves and ace your way to greatness.

See the crew at Legassi Gardens:
skype us: legassigardens

Thursday, 30 June 2011


Yes, Wimbledon fever is here again- ok, more like a mild temperature amidst the chilled strawberries and champagne- but it’s here again anyway. No Henman, no WILLIAMS SISTERS  and now NO FEDERER (we really are in the ‘last days’). But there are some interesting contenders…whose names send my spell 
checker into a frenzy, so let’s just stick to the ‘big, pronounceable names’ –Nadal, Murray…ok.

Thrill to the seismic force of the serves; gulp and gasp as rapid-fire balls find remote pinpoints barely caught by the naked eye; surge forward in unrestrained roars of sheer delight, and share in a moment of collective live- telecast ecstasy: no Murray hasn’t won it yet, but that last rally was awesome.

It’s great to admire, to even feel some shock and awe at all that brilliance. But what we ordinary folk need to know is: how do they do it? Is it really all just training, practice, $10,000 sports shoes, and hand-made $30,000 fibre-glass rackets? There’s got to be something more, something they might be taking even…?

Without suggesting for one minute that their achievements are chemically assisted, (they just look super-human from here) it might still be fair to say that they are adding to what nature gave them. And what better way to do this than by trying a few African herbs.

For a start, like::
  • 1.    Coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, that’s right. This 'oxymoronically' well-loved but grossly abused ancient African herb is indigenous to Ethiopia, and is fantastic for improving your physical performance. When you drink a small amount of coffee WITHOUT SUGAR before exercise, your body releases fat into the bloodstream which is then used to fuel your exertions, making you burn up fat, conserve carbohydrates and endure longer. Great for those 5 setters at Wimbledon!
  • 2.      Kola nut. This under-rated stimulant, native to the tropical rainforests of Africa, but now found in almost any market place across Africa, has similar effects to caffeine, but mega-dosed! Use this if you don’t plan on an early night.  Chew the pink/white bitter nut, swallow the juice, then spit out the balance, if you need to keep your concentration and physical endurance levels high for that early match, first out on Centre Court... Preferably, all spitting should be in private and over with before you get on court.
  • 3.      Aloe vera. This is believed to have originated in the Sudan and has justifiably attained ‘wonderplant’ status. The shockingly bitter and deceptively clear gel that comes from the centre of the leaf quickens the healing process, which is essential for the successful, intensely competitive sportsperson. What ‘No number 1’ wants to be ‘out injured’ while their rivals’ success knocks them off their throne? Or worse still, while a herd of unpronounceably-named newcomers rush the party…in last year’s fashions?
  • 4.      Devil's claw, originating from the Kalahari and the Savannah desert, helps the champions push through the pain to yet another record-breaking victory, and heals inflammation (as well as arthritis).
  • 5.      Myrrh, of North African origin, is a good natural herbal remedy for inflammation, and can help the No.1 keep fighting to the glorious end.
So, there we have it! Don’t just sit and wonder about how those Tennis stars reach and keep those stunning levels of skill and endurance. You too can go out, get some African herbs and gain an added edge over the competition.
And you won’t even get ‘done’ for it.

See the crew at Legassi Gardens:
skype us: legassigardens

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Sex, Lies and Police Crime Scene tape: Metaphors & Carnivores

Dominic Strauss-Kahn, the former Managing Director of the IMF, is charged with attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching, and faces from 5 to 25 years in prison if convicted. He says he is not guilty. We are astonished. But has this alleged conduct created an interesting metaphor, or just another example of one of those microcosm/macrocosm whatsits? “Powerful, privileged westerner apparently attempting to dominate, exploit and ultimately violate an economically vulnerable, non-western woman.” Is this just a different camera angle on the story of the impact of the IMF on Mother Earth? When we heard the story it sounded strangely familiar, we just couldn’t put our finger on it. Now we see the bigger picture in close-up, with all the vulgar, personal details.

Two main questions arise:
A.     How is it possible for someone with a reputation for allegedly sexually exploitative and predatory behavior, land such an extremely powerful position, and get to keep it?!
B.      How could the health and lifestyle of such a person contribute to their alleged behavior?
The answer to ‘A.’ could not be found on Google. But the answer to the second question suggests that there may be light at the end of a very dark and dismal tunnel:
1.      Eating meat regularly as part of the diet has been said to lead to “aggression, violence and moral insensitivity” –many sources including http://www.purifymind.com/MeatProtein.htm.
Vegetarians would argue strongly that eating meat is not only unnatural to humans, but also engages them in immoral and violent practices. If DSK had changed to a vegetarian diet his alleged conduct may not have allegedly happened…
2.      Regular, cardiovascular exercise has been shown to lower sexual libido. As well as hormonal regulator, exercise produces the self discipline that is required to train the body for fitness; while also training the mind- for self control in social relations. DSK does not look have the body of a man who likes jogging or playing tennis. If he does exercise, he needs to do more, a lot more.
3.      Meditation has been shown to be a helpful technique for controlling sexual urges, and also the arrogance that leads a man to allegedly believe that he can assault any woman he chooses, whenever and wherever he chooses.
4.      Yoga is essential. If DSK had practiced ‘ashwini mudra’ – contracting his anal hole and pulling it up as high as he could then gently releasing the hold, 20 to 60 times per day- then we might not be sitting here…he might not be sitting there…anyway, there might be less disgraceful allegations on the table.
5.      The hardest one for DSK , as a challenge to his ‘Frenchness’, would be in having to avoid those pillars of French dietary tradition: garlic, onions, coffee and chocolate!!! Apparently, an excess of these can also lead to libido control issues…no kidding…!
6.      It’s another tough one for DSK, but it looks like he should really have gone ‘veggie’ and tried eating more Soy or Tofu based foods, which contain the natural plant estrogens –phytoestrogens, and lower the male sexual drive. 
We do not want to let DSK off the alleged hook here, but the average French diet clearly did not help him with his alleged libido and arrogance control issues.
Would it be going too far to say that the carnivorous diet does not help with self control or morality? Perhaps not.

But maybe what Is most important to humanity right now is the answer to question A.
How is it that predatory, sexually colonizing, bullying and exploitative behavior is tolerated from people in positions of such responsibility and with the power to affect so many lives?
In this, we are all at fault: obsequiously pandering to, and fearful, of ‘the bully’, looking down at our feet as yet another territory is plundered, complicit members of the commonwealth of excuse-finding fatalists. 
Guilty as charged.

See the crew at Legassi Gardens:
skype us: legassigardens