If you want to read the first post in Oware, Click here.
We drove up to the Shangri La and I had another good meal in Ghana – Accra was a great place to eat. He scared me half to death with stories of Ghana Airways. I joked with him, but my tension was still rising. I was so close to getting out and yet there was a big obstacle in my way – my hatred of airports.
Accra was the worst airport I had come across for bureaucracy. I was first checked that I had a ticket, then second searched by airport security. Third I checked myself in at the desk, then fourth hand my boarding card to a man standing right behind the desk to see that I had been checked in. Fifth was to pay for Airport tax, and a sixth a man standing right by to check that I had a stamp on the back of my boarding card saying that I had paid my airport tax. I then went up a long escalator to the passport control. Seven was the passport control, relatively easy now I had an extended visa. Then eight was someone checking my passport had been controlled. Nine was a man checking that my currency exchange had been checked. Ten was further security X-ray machine at the entrance to the gate, and eleven was a man who asked me whether I had any scissors in my hand luggage. I struggled for a few moment s as I extracted a pair of nail scissors from the deepest recesses, at which he tutted and waved me through. Twelve was the gate desk asking me for my ticket and thirteen was a further passport check. Fourteen was the woman at the end of the hall way who saw our boarding passes.
My usual paranoia about airports had been stretched to the limit, and once sitting in the gate with all the other passengers, I just wanted to get on the flight and go. We waited in the hot humid atmosphere for so long. Then an announcement to start boarding. I was at the front and near run down the stairs, only to be pushed back by a stewardess. “She has made a false announcement”. This happened once more.
I wanted to go home now badly, and each pause was painful. Eventually they loaded us onto the plane. This is usually where I relax and enjoy the real pleasures of aircraft and flying, but this time we waited, and waited, and waited. The Air conditioning worked intermittently and there was a further wait. Eventually we were told that we were waiting for a British Airways passenger who had deposited her bags in the airport in the morning but had failed to turn up for her flight. They were trying to contact her hotel. We waited. Still no passenger. Eventually they announced that they would have to offload her bags. This would take two hours as they were at the back of the aircraft, having been loaded first. They did it faster than that (the first time in Ghana something had happened faster than someone anticipated), but we still didn’t take off till near one in the morning. I wanted to sleep but they insisted on serving us dinner. I drank several large gin and tonics and tried to sleep. At last I let a smile creep across my lips and a thought I had pushed to the back of my mind bubbled up to the surface.
I’d got out.