Posted tagged ‘Hotel d’Bull’

“In movies, everyone is always surprised the door is unlocked.”

July 16, 2019

The air is still. The leaves just sort of hang off the branches. It will be hot and the humidity is returning.

Last night we had a wonderful movie night. The air was cooler than it had been. We feasted on cheese and crackers: Kerrygold Cheddar and mango ginger soft cheese on a variety of crackers. We had movie candy and a cake to celebrate opening night. The movie, Capricorn One, was excellent, so was the cake.

In Ghana, I went to the movies. There were two theaters in Accra. The sitting areas were outside. The entries and the refreshment counters were inside. One was close, walking distance, from the Peace Corps hostel. My favorite time was when it rained. We’d move our chairs under the overhang and stay dry. I remember watching Is Paris Burning and West Side Story.

During my live-in in Bawku, I saw a couple of movies. The local theater was owned by my host father. It was outside, right near the house where I lived. I remember a spaghetti western when reel 3 was showed before reel 2. I think I was the only one who noticed.

In Bolga, the Hotel d’ Bull was the entertainment center for the whole town. It had the cold room, one with air-conditioning, and drinks though I didn’t drink liquor because all they had was whiskey and gin. I did have coke with ice, a treat. The hotel showed movies, really bad movies, but I didn’t care. I loved sitting in the expensive seat, on the roof, and eating kabobs and drinking coke. They’d bring a bowl of water before I ate so I could wash my hands. That was common in Ghana as most people used their hands, not utensils, to scoop their food.

Watching a movie on the deck reminds me of those movie nights in Ghana. We often see a really bad science fiction movie. We don’t care. It is the fun of sitting outside in the dark munching candy and laughing with friends.

“I don’t take the movies seriously, and anyone who does is in for a headache.”

February 24, 2019

The rain is heavy at times. It beats against the roof and windows. The wind is getting stronger. The pine trees feel it the most, and their tops bend and sway.

The Hotel d’Bull, the best place to stay in Bolgatanga during my Peace Corps days, had a huge courtyard. I saw a boxing match there once. They erected a ring right in the middle of the courtyard. The boxers had names like Kofi Mohammed Ali and Sugar Ray Atiah. Mostly the boxers just danced around the ring throwing only a few punches, but in one bout a boxer got hit more than a few times. All of a sudden from the corner came a towel thrown into the ring. I always thought throwing in the towel was a metaphor.

The back wall of the courtyard was white so they could show movies. I saw my first Bollywood film on that wall. I don’t remember the name of the film, but I do remember how awful I thought it was, but awful didn’t matter. I stayed for the entire film. Entertainment was a rarity in Bolga. The scene I remember the most was a shower scene. Our hero was lathering and singing. I had no idea what he was singing. The songs had no subtitles.

The most expensive seating for movies was on the roof where a few small round metal tables and chairs were the orchestra seats. The roof overlooked the courtyard. The seats didn’t cost much, maybe 10 or 20 pesewas, so we always sat there. We’d order drinks and some food. The waitress would bring us water and soap in a small bowl so we could wash our hands before dining. I always ordered coke. The Hotel d’Bull was one of the few places where they served cold coke. We’d eat kabobs: some were beef and a couple were liver. They were cooked over charcoal, as was most Ghanaian food, but I figure I can call them barbecued anyway. I didn’t even mind the liver.

My outdoor movie nights remind me of Ghana. We have the best seats, and we’re sitting at a round table. As in Ghana, the movies are sometimes really awful, but we love them. The big differences are I never serve liver, even barbecued liver, and clean hands are up to you.

“Begin each day as if it were on purpose.”

June 9, 2016

This morning I heard the first bird greeting the day. It was around 4 or 4:15 and still dark, but the bird knew. The sky started to lighten. I tried to go back to sleep. I couldn’t so I got of bed around 5. The papers weren’t even here. I decided to get coffee and a donut. I saw one truck at the red light. Dunkin Donuts was the only place open, but that was all I needed, two coffees and a butternut donut.

It’s a chilly morning. Even now at 8 it is only 55˚. The sun is shining, but the breeze is strong enough to rustle the leaves. I can even hear them.

I started watching The Gathering Storm. Winston Churchill is warning England about the rise of the Nazis. The plot also touches upon the relationship between Winston and his wife Clemmie. Albert Finney played Winston, but his acting reminded me many times of when he played Scrooge. He even looked and sounded like Scrooge. I kept waiting for him to say bah humbug.

I can hear Gracie snoring from her crate. Fern took her place on the couch so Gracie’s routine has been up-ended as has mine. I figure, though, we’ll both adjust.

My laundry finally got done. It is one of the chores I dislike. I think it is the folding and the hauling up two sets of stairs which puts me off.

I also watched Sergeant Preston of the Yukon on Grit. The picture was a bit weird looking as they had stretched the film to fit the screen. All the actors looked short and the trees stunted. King, the dog, looked elongated. It was winter in the Yukon.

The hot spot in Bolgatanga Ghana when I lived there was the Hotel D’Bull. Its outside walls were painted like the black and white body of a Holstein cow. Other than that, I have no idea as to the name. D’Bull doesn’t sound at all Ghanaian but sounds as if a Ghanaian thought it a wonderfully fancy name. It had an inside bar with air conditioning, but it was usually so full you couldn’t feel the cool air. That was called the cold room. The hotel had a huge courtyard in two parts. The upper part was where the bars were, the cold bar and the outside, windowed bar with tables and chairs. The lower part, a couple of steps down, was where they showed movies on the wall. I saw my first Bollywood movie there. It was subtitled, and I was amazed at all the singing and the glitter. The clothes were spectacular and colorful. The singing sounded odd to my ears with the jingle jangle of lyrics. I saw an old western there, one from the 30’s in black and white. I usually got the expensive seat, on the roof, a patio table with chairs. We usually ordered kabobs for dinner. The first time I ever ate liver was on that roof. It was one of the pieces of barbecued meat. The room were spartan but clean, all with their own bathrooms. They had ceiling fans, not AC.

When I went back, the building was still there but its name had changed. It is now the Black Star Hotel. The cold room has been removed and a small internet cafe has taken its place. The rooms are air-conditioned but still a bit shabby. I think they lost a lot when they painted over the cow.

I was just warned by the deputy chief of police not to be alarmed if I hear gunshots and bomb blasts. They are having a drill about a mile from here. It’s a good thing to have a warning.