Monday, 18 July 2011

Ghana and Nigeria

I just spent over a month in Ghana and loved everything about it. I would go back there again without question. Wait, everything? Okay, traffic sucks, so do most roads, hotels, and people relieve themselves everywhere in public. But the rest is good.
I was there for Republic Day, July 1. It's a long, long  party- like our 4th of July. Lots of whites in Ghana, including Americans. Ghana is English speaking. In time I got used to the humidity and skin that feels as if it's covered with a sticky can of spilled coke. A beacon of hope for west Africa, Ghana is on the move, wanting change faster than its corrupt leaders can provide.  I see possibilities for a great future for the people. Like most places I have been to, cell phones are everywhere, people are very connected. - on top of global news, and politics.  The streets are full of vendors, way too many cars, and motor bikes. And happy faces always, and I mean always …. People were always stopping me on my bike to chat and have visits.  I used to just wave and smile when onlookers would scream, "Hey white man, " but after a month in Ghana, I would have to stop because I would sometimes hear, “ Hey Anton” or “Hey Washington” ... so another cup of coffee, or beer later I would be off again.

NOW !! well …..let’s go swimming

There is absolutely no way I can describe riding a motorcycle in Africa, and doing it in a city like Lagos, Nigeria with about 15 million other people! It is crazy! The bike fell in a hole yesterday.  Not my fault - the hole was covered flush with the top of the road with water. ( Google "Lagos News" for the rain report !!) The bike went down into the hole hard, but kept running submerged in a good 4 feet of water. Quickly people were there to push as I stood beside the hole and leaned down in it to throttle it back up onto the blacktop, and then I was off again.
Lanes do not exist really, and cars and bikes all fight for space. I have been wedged  between cars in traffic. The bike couldn't  fall over or  run into traffic. I've dodged oncoming traffic at 50 miles an hour as thousands of cars, tired of waiting in traffic, would cross over the median and drive on the wrong side of the road.  It is really like a real life video game of cars coming at you from the wrong direction, but it somehow works.
My face is so black after a day’s ride, I am wet from riding in knee deep water, but somehow I like it!!
It’s the high fives I get as I pass a buss , or people running after me in traffic just to ask where I am from, or the kindness of others to go in a 4 foot deep hole of water to help push my bike back on the road again.
Peter, the Slovenia rider is with me again, and follows with a smile, and a whole lot of caution!!
In the end - Nigeria known for its scams, dangers, and bad reputation. But it can surprise!  It did me.
Stay home if you haven’t been to Africa before, but if you’re a little seasoned, it can be fun !!
Photo taken by my friend from Slovenia

1 comment:

  1. Awesome pic of you on your bike! We can tell you are having fun.
    We are having company ... Glenn's brother and family. Irene read your entire blog and enjoyed it. She said she loves hearing about people's first hand experiences.

    Hey, if you want to send some of your hot weather our way we could use it.

    Take care and keep safe!

    The Harneds