Back to Accra
Trip Start Feb 13, 2011
30Trip End Mar 14, 2011
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Tom Clark has worked out a new travel schedule the day before, so he and I would be parting ways. He had other congregational visits to make so as to be able to answer questions from members; I was going to go back to Accra in preparation for my onward journey. So at 12:00, as planned, Eddie, the driver Tom has often used and who had driven us to Elmina, arrived at the hotel to take me back to Accra.
Tom and I shook hands and wished each other well on the remainder of our trips, I checked out and Eddie and I loaded my bags into the trunk (here it's called the “boot” like in England). It took almost 4 hours to reach my destination, the Shangri-La hotel near the airport in Accra.
As we started this day’s trip, we negotiated a price for him to take me to the Togolese border the next day. He’s a good driver and it’s usually safer to work with drivers one knows.
On the road again...
Road travel is colorful in Africa. At every slowdown, toll booth or security checkpoint, of which there were quite a few, vendors swarmed the vehicles hawking their wares. It’s a fascinating ballet every few minutes.
As the trip progressed Eddie and I conversed. There were some amusing moments of the kind one has when accents cause misunderstandings. I asked the name of a large tree we passed, and he said he didn’t know the name in English. I told him I recognized the tree but only knew what it was called in Gabon (a country in central Africa.) He misunderstood and asked if I was from Japan. I said I was not, and he said he didn’t think so, I was too tall….
When I told him I was American, he said he particularly liked driving Americans. I asked why. He said that Americans are always cheerful and friendly, and they don’t cheat you and they are careful that you don’t cheat them. “That’s very good,” he finished. I asked who he didn’t like to drive and he said the Lebanese. There are many Lebanese businessmen in Africa and they are often successful and sometimes even dominate the local business economy. I asked him why they were difficult. “Their salary is very small” Edward answered “so they will cheat you if they can because they need to get more money.”
As we arrived in Accra and moved slowly through the congested streets, vendors walked in between the lines of cars selling an amazing variety of things. If it looked like they might have a sale, the vendors would run alongside the vehicle for long distances holding out their wares and collecting their money in exchange. I pulled out a slip of paper and began making a list.
Finally around 16:00 we arrived at the Shangri-La. After paying Eddie for the day, we agreed that he would come back at noon tomorrow, earlier if Paul Tia arrives earlier and I call, to start the drive to Togo. I had Jollof Rice for dinner. The spicy red rice dish is one of my favorite Ghanaian dishes. I talked briefly with Marjolaine on the phone, no Internet access so no Skype tonight. I'm pretty tired and will make it an early night.