Mama and I woke up early prepared to take the 7 am bus from Accra to Nzema (Takoradi specifically) however we didn’t arrive at the station until 9 am. The plan was to take a private bus but Mama was concerned for our safety because these buses speed (that’s what makes them reliable), so she opted to take STC – state transport buses. Hmmmm!
When we got to the station, we learnt that the 7 am bus had not yet departed, so we bought tickets for it and waited…and waited…and waited. Every now and then, a bus would come out of the lot, get hosed down, and it’s insides swept before coming to load passengers – yet in the time we waited only 2 bus loads of people had actually left. A couple hours into the wait, Ghanaians sitting in the heat begun to grumble about the unfairness of the situation and the tardiness of the state transport workers. Ghanaians are paid a monthly salary so they have no clue as to what their hourly worth is. So they take their time. No rush. For all we knew, the drivers were still in bed.
Anyway, someone must have complained to the authorities (Mama had gone missing for about 20 minutes after all), because an apology came over the loudspeakers and 15 minutes later, at exactly 11:45 am, the 7 am bus was ready to board. Mama, who has not yet gotten a grasp of the many zeros behind Ghanaian currency tried to tip “the boy” helping us with our bags after I had already told her that her proposed amount was not enough. True enough, the look the guy gave her, you should have seen! She then pretended that all along she had planned to give him the “full amount” once we and our baggage were securely on the bus. LOL!!!!
At noon, we departed Accra. Finally! The trip wasn’t too bad. There was a little road work near the Cape Coast area. I had kebab and Fan Yogo at the Cape Coast rest stop and took pictures of villages and landscape along the way. Aah, a true vacation!
We arrived in Takoradi around 5 pm. A taxi cab took us from the STC station to the local transport station. It was all trotros (a form of share-taxi) and the one waiting to go to Half Assini wasn’t in too great a shape. Are they ever? As for this one, I’m not sitting in it!, Mama said. Hilarious, because I wouldn’t ever dream of taking a trotro EVER, but we weren’t in Accra and I at least was prepared for the worst sorts of amenities out here. I had no idea Mama would have reservations, as she grew up in the village, yet she didn’t want to pay the 400,000 cedis the taxi driver said he would charge us to drive all the way to Half Assini.
In any case, we let the trotro load up and leave. The next one came not too long after, fairly decent, but still a trotro you know. We sat down, and waited…and waited…and waited for it to fill up with passengers. It took hours! In that time-frame, I had countless hawkers – men, women, children – come up to the window where I was sitting and scream in my face e ye 6000, Fanta ye 6000….e ye 2000, biscuit ye 2000 or the price of whatever else it was that they were selling. Biscuits, soft drinks, belts, mobile phone accessories, bread with “hot” cocoa, roasted plantain with groundnuts, all being carried, quite diligently I must say, on the head. They would come by hissing, sssssssssssssssssssss, or making kissing noises trying to draw attention to themselves, and once you made eye contact (and how could you not turn to see where these strange sounds were coming from?) they would rush to you to try to sell. Oh what a headache!!! Noise pollution is on another level here.
Well, after sunset, the trotro had finally filled up and off we went into the darkness with the radio station blasting music (not bad) but my goodness, the noise level! Why didn’t someone tell me it would take about three hours to get to Half Assini? My goodness!!! My butt hurt, my knees were locked against the seat in front of me, I was all hot and tired, the automobile exhaust from outside was finally beginning to overcome me, and the music was STILL blasting from the radio. To top it off, the girl behind me decided to join in singing her favourite songs! Oh, my head! At least the roads were not bad. But now and then, we would reach a police barrier and the driver would stop, get down to open the boot for inspection, and (I suspect) pay a bribe.
How Ghanaian police like to collect bribes, hmmm! At each of these stops, a police officer would shine a bright torch into our tired faces, waking those of us who had managed to fall asleep in the cacophony, including a baby who would then add its chorus to the background music. Oh my head! It was almost 10 pm before we arrived at Old Man’s house in Half Assini. It seemed that the driver and others in the trotro knew who he was so we got personal service. The driver dropped us off right in front of his door. Nice! Various family members met us rushing to give us our Ah-too’s and Akwaaba’s. We did our Amane-e or rather Mama did, partook of a meal of attieke (fermented cassava couscous basically) and fried octopus (delicious!!!) and off to the hotel to lay our pretty heads to rest we went!
What an adventure!!!!!! All day, Mama has muttered something about taking a plane back to Accra so we don’t have to deal with this hassle. We shall see!