For better or worse, Freetown is now developing an upper crust scene typical of what you find in most African capital cities.
This occurred to me last night, as I sipped passable white wine and ate an artfully arranged plate of barracuda and mashed potato on the balcony of the Country Lodge, while a live jazz band played in the background. The tinkle of glasses and silverware mixed with the muted strains of Ella Fitzgerald, heat lightening brightened the sky over the coastal city far below, and a well-dressed crowd of the well-to-do – European, Lebanese, and African alike – chatted away.
This is not Freetown, I thought. This is Abidjan before the war. Or Dakar. Or Durban, for that matter.
But it is Freetown. It is now. It is again, because certainly Freetown had these kinds of places before the war.
Maybe tonight I’ll flash back to 2006 and seek out one of my old haunts, like PB’s restaurant on the side of Spur Road, separated from the traffic by a woven thatch screen. Burgers and pumping hip-hop. Pools of florescent light and vast stretches of darkness. The occasional smell of garbage or sewage. Raw and real.
Or maybe not. The jazz band is playing again tonight, at the Aqua Club, a members-only boating and sports club. Sunset cocktails by the sea.