Ghana had one more kick to give me. On the way out of Accra, I had more experiences which made me begin to believe I was never going to leave the country. I had a couple of days work in Accra. I was due out on a late night British Airways Flight direct to London. I busied myself trying to locate some aerial photos and visiting a software company in the suburbs. I came back for a sandwich at the North Ridge and a Sprite. While I waited, I bought a newspaper from the receptionist and sat on the terrace. The water from the atmosphere condensed quickly on the outside of my glass and I kept having to wipe it on the soggy napkin I had. I turned the pages, not really concentrating on the usual stories about strikes, ruin in the maize harvest and more deaths on the roads. Then I found a full page advert from British Airways. Due to Industrial Action by Cabin crew staff, many flights are cancelled on Wednesday, including Accra to London – the flight I had intended to take. Alternative arrangements will be made where necessary.
I rang the number in the paper (the Accra office I had already visited twice without getting any service). This time they came up trumps. They said that there were three options. Take a Ghana Airways tonight, take a KLM via Amsterdam the next day or wait for the next BA flight in three days time. Knowing the reputation of Ghana Airways and my reluctance for staying in Ghana any more time, I thought I was given a choice between cutting my throat or hanging myself. I decided that I could live with blood on my collar and booked myself in on the evening Ghana flight. It actually took off slightly earlier than the original BA one.
Then there was the taxi on the way to the airport. One good thing about Accra is you can check your luggage in hours before your flight. I had already settled up at the Northridge hotel so called a taxi man over. It was very much a wreck and the suitcase wouldn’t go in the small boot (I doubt the boot would have taken the weight either). I asked to go to the airport and haggled him down to 3000 Cedis. We got in and drove out to the main road. We got about a mile from the hotel , when his beaten up taxi stopped, he had run out of fuel. I was a bit suspicious, we were on a fast road, but close to a set of squatter huts. He told me to call another taxi. One drew up. I was still quite wary, but he lurched my suitcase out of the back seat and into the other taxi. I felt confident so tried to negotiate a lower rate from this taxi man, but they were both in the union and they agreed that they would split the original 3000 fee. I got to the airport and checked the luggage in. Then I tried to get back to the hotel. I was collared as soon as I walked out of the terminal building.
“Here sir”, a small man with a smile larger than his face” Taxi sir. Where you go”
“The North Ridge”
“Ah, only 10000 Cedis, sir, very good price.”
I suppose I was a bit rude as I laughed directly into his face. He had seen me come into the airport and come out again. What a cheek. I took him down to 3000 again. I was sick of being duped in this country. I got back and read by the pool. Then Lawrence came back from the University of Ghana where he was working and we went out in his little project car, a small sky blue Datsun owned by ODA, and to prove it a small stick on Union Jack was in the centre of the bonnet.