Very early in the morning, Circle (as its name has been crudely sawn-off to) is a calm and tranquil plaza with a silent, sleeping fountain, fenced lawns (I think) of thinning brown grass, metal railings around pedestrian walkways and wide-open, potholed car parks where scores of big and mini buses are tightly ranged like sleeping seals.
Circle has many wooden-box-and-cardboard shacks – cramped homes at night and vibrant stores in the day, deviously deriding the tall office buildings standing sentry all around them. Parts of the pavement are rudely reserved by their homeless owners as sleeping bunks or see-through bathrooms :)
The hustled horde comes hurrying through at hell’s hour. Cars, buses, big trucks and unrecognisable vehicles grope blindly and harum-scarum like a flock of senseless sheep following whatever looks like them and moves in front of them. Office workers in transit, louts and loafers scouting for a half-chance to commit a daylight crime and screaming vendors wrestle one another for the narrow strip of pavement that remains passable.
When the sun shunts directly overhead, this is the most sultry, sticky and stupefying place to be in this wicked world :) At this tedious time, beauty and politeness are beaten back and all that remains is what is in, and what emits from, the ugly belly of the city of Accra.
Creatures of the night are the fiendish features of a dark Circle, ghosting and floating about in the form of muggers and thieves, drunken or 'high' semi-humans, vile, nauseating, self-denying she-devils pretending to have something attractive to sell :) and perspiring hustlers with nifty gadgets, without boxes, going for a song.
Cars drive by with windows rolled up, and pedestrians assume a bullfrog puff to appear more menacing than they really are. Commuters stand in endless miles of fetid frustration wishing for a bus or car or bike or horse to come and take them home, away from Circle.
In its splendour and squalor, Circle hosts big-company headquarters, banks, nightclubs, restaurants and chopbars, churches, petrol stations and a multi-purpose garden paradoxically christened ‘Holy’. Maybe it is a terribly great idea that it’s lost the name of Kwame Nkrumah :)