The jingle bell season had a group of friends block a day out of their tedious routine to relax and revel nature’s beauty; the location was a coded tourism resort by the bank of the serene Volta River in Ghana. ‘A delightful escape it would be’, they all thought; with hopes of going home with a remarkable getaway experience. By the way, the name of the resort had an escape in it.
Thanks to Google and Technology, these friends got to their coded escape location. Nature did her best by welcoming them with her rendition of Akwaaba in the melodious chirping of birds in the forest around the resort and a dazzling cool wave of fresh air from the riverfront. There were a parliamentarian and his family in one of the apartments. This gave the team hope with smiles, proof of a good location for a one-day getaway.
The Real Tourism Akwaaba
As part of the welcome package, one of the water hoses connected to the radiator and engine of their car exploded, spilling hot automobile coolant on the floor of the car park. This happened a few minutes after their arrival and removal of some belongings from the car. Was this a sign or could nature’s warm welcome still be foiled by circumstance around? By the help of an area mechanic, the car was fixed. A great relief!
Let the relaxation begin!
The resort had a serene ambience of greenery and the quietness of an eastern monastery. The noise one could hear was that of nature; chirping birds, insects and the wiggle of tree branches.
They quickly got into their rooms and got ready for the swimming pool. Fun it was as the Michael Phelps amongst them showed his prowess in the water. They danced, took pictures making the best of the pool moment till the going down of the sun. Midway through sunset, they began going out of the pool one by one, each person to his room to freshen up for dinner.
Only two types of food were available on the menu—banku with tilapia and jollof rice; tourism wahala in the making.
They started a mental comparison whether their meal would be at par with the tilapia joints of Tema Comm 10 and Agbamaame or the tasty Jollof of Hunch and the like.
Fasten your seatbelt people.
To their dismay, the tilapia was fried instead of charcoal-grilled and it was dry as hardened tea bread. The banku and pepper was nothing to write home about; but no yawa, boys for just swallow am like that.
Jollof rice as we know has its own look and presentation—tomato red and savoury. But this one looked ‘poor in complexion’ and unpalatable to the eye. The accompanying salad and sauce were not good either. Nonetheless, the reason for their escape was to rest in nature’s arm away from the troubles of Accra.
By the way, let me give you a view of the dinner setting. It was a long table for seven in an open space on the green grass of the resorts bar close to the river; oh yes, by the river they sat to dine, like Psalms 137:1, they remembered the good meals of home.
The evening had its own share of fun which I will share with you someday.
The melodies of their heart were in sync with the tune “yesterday is gone, another day has come do something new”. Breakfast was a bomb and ‘boys’ begun to agitate; some even swore never to recommend anyone to that place if it was the only resorts and getaway places left in the country.
The team packed drinks and biscuits for the trip so they resorted to it after the disappointing breakfast. The team, made up of four ladies and three gentlemen, had some playing table hockey and tennis; others played oware and cards while the photogenic amongst them were busy taking pictures at the riverfront. In that process, good news surfaced to which all of them cheered heartily. IT WAS A BOAT RIDE…
The Cruise Boat
This was an assurance of a good experience which got the ladies polished and fittingly dressed for the cruise with their big hats and sunglasses on. The girls were ready to cruise with life jackets fastened. While they waited, they looked and saw two cruise boats hoping one of them would be carrying them to experience the Volta.
After some minutes more, they saw a green boat approach the bank of the resort. The green boat docked at the bank of the resort and the pilot went to have a chat with the caretaker. Here comes the lady caretaker to tell them the cruise is in. They asked where it was docked since they couldn’t see any cruise boat. Your guess is as good as mine; the green, roofless, seatless, non-cruise looking boat was their ride. This was the tiny straw that broke the camel’s back.
The team got furious at the high customer insensitivity and professionalism exhibited by the caretaker of the resort. This was a construction boat with a hydraulic forklift used to transfer and lift part of dredge boats for maintenance. The boat attendant was even in his overall coat, a proof that he was working but came to make some Cedis from the gig.
Afrikiko To The Rescue
In that state of anger and disappointment, they went into their rooms, checked out before time and left never to return. They went straight to Afrikiko River Front Resort for a consolation of a great meal and drink which Afrikiko did easily. Their jollof rice, banku tilapia and the beef sauce were on point (Afrikiko needs to pay me for this advert).
My advice to revellers is, always make room for disappointment and don’t expect too much from any resort; your comfort is not entirely their concern but the money. Have fun and gather your own experience.
Did I mention the famous escape location, has the best pictures on Facebook, which convinced the team in the first place? Tourism fraud is a subject for another day.
A Tourism Diaries: Forklift Cruise Boat post by Courage Ayittey
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