My German and Austrian friends are wonderful. They ask me questions like: “Becky, the proper pronunciation….is it ‘koo-kum-ber?'”
And point out my idioms: “Grab a beer?! This whole time I thought you wanted me to steal you a beer!”
And ask me to explain how the Ghana education system differs from the US education system and the UK system, which all differ still from the German system I must reference to make them understand. All good fun and not without a little mental gymnastics.
But when we stay at Hans Cottage Botel, north of Cape Coast, I have no answer when they ask me “What in the world is a ‘botel’?” [It turns out this is simply a boating hotel or hotel on water, but truly, who would know such a thing?] This turns into a prolonged game of contriving other such hotel options: aerotel – a hotel on an airplane; submotel – a hotel only accessed by submarine; tro-trotel – a hotel inside one of the highly uncomfortable tro-tro minibuses.
At GH¢55 per night for two guests (roughly $27) this is the most expensive hotel I will ever pay money for in Ghana. The hostel I had my eye on before arriving in Cape Coast was a mere GH¢15-20 per night for one bed.
The three consolations I took, however, were the following:
- Crocodiles – they lived in the pond after which the ‘botel’ was named and were easily seen in the morning
- Coffee – real coffee, not nasty Nescafé instant crap.
- Community – Not only was I traveling with friends, but a lovely British family I met at Cape Coast Castle was staying at Hans Cottage as well and we had a merry time late into the evening playing drums and keyboard
And the birds were fairly fun to watch as well.
Side note: I wish I had a West African bird book. Any number of these could be a swallow…though none I’ve seen have gripped any coconuts by the husk. I would have no other way of knowing.