5 days, 1 Ghana! – Day 1: Road trip, Hotel Check in, chop, baff and tins!

Road trip from Lagos to Accra with mid afternoon arrival. Checkin, relax. Quick taxi ride to La Palm Beach to hang out for the rest of the day. (Thai massage at La Palm Beach Hotel is said to be the best in Ghana!). One minute away from the hotel is the Artists Alliance for a variety of souvenirs & all types of art from paintings, sculptures, postcards, etc.

I set out at about 5:30am that morning. I had purchased a round trip ticket on the second bus to Accra for N12,900 and was scheduled to depart from the Amuwo Odofin Bus Terminal at 7:30am. For some strange reason, I thought our estimated arrival time in Ghana was at about 2:30pm but that was not the case at all. I should have known I was in for an interesting trip when we ended up in the middle of Festac after obtaining directions from some area boys. After we drove around in circles for about 15 minutes, we employed the use of a third world, turn-by-turn GPS Navigation system (Okada) to get us to the bus terminal. (Sidebar: I was surprised at the number of people jogging early that morning in Festac!). I finally arrived at the terminal and was instructed to go confirm my ticket and weigh my luggage before departure.

Oga, dis na virgin passport, you have to pay N400 for stamping.

What do you mean? I have used this passport many times before. See now…

Have you ever travelled to Ghana… by road?

Um.. No.

You have to pay for the stamping. It is N400.

Ok.

Oga, do you have yellow card?

No.

Oga, you need yellow card to enter Ghana but you can pay N400 for medical clearance.

Ok.

Shortly after, I completed my weigh in (yes, they charge for excess luggage on the bus o!), security and luggage search and boarded the bus. As we idled, a young well dressed man came onboard and introduced himself as Associate Pastor Humble. He was here to pray for safe travels and journey mercies. He led us in praise and worship, shared a quick sermon and then prayed. Some other passengers requested personalized prayers and for a small “gift” he would pray for them.  About 20 minutes later, we finally left the bus terminal two hours after the scheduled time.

Good morning passengers. My name is Euphemia and will be your hostess today. Our driver will be Mr Calistus. We also have an NDLEA officer on the bus who will accompany us to Seme Border. We shall be crossing three borders today: Seme Border between Nigeria and Bene Republic, the border between Bene Republic and Togo and the border between Togo and Ghana.

Please be advised that the toilet is for urinary purposes only. Please do not go there to defecate. Be mindful of what u consume on the way. If u are so pressed, please alert us and we will stop somewhere so you can defecate.

Shortly after we departed, we were each given an ABC Transport branded travel kit containing toothpaste, a toothbrush, a comb and some other stuff. An hour into the journey, we were served with “brunch” packs containing Jollof Rice and two pieces of fried chicken. I was starving at this point and quickly wolfed it down. I chased the meal with an Odeku and had some Imodium for dessert. By now, we were well on our way and Euphemia put on some Nollywood movies and we all settled down amidst the all the side commentary for the rest of the journey.

At the Seme border, we had to get off the bus and walk across the border to the Bene Republic side. As expected, there were lots of border hustlers trying to sell you all sorts of stuff. They had everything from cheap fabric, bootleg perfumes and CD’s, shoes and chewing gum to migrant brand condoms and cigars. I actually had quite a bit of fun at the border…

Dis one na fake!

No o!  Oga, I swear, this one na original Isi Miyach.

Ok. I believe you. What of dis moccasin? Na real Sebago?

We all boarded the coach and continued our journey through Bene Republic. I slept through most of this leg of the journey and didn’t wake up till we approached the Togolese border. We were given the usual instructions to disembark and walk across the border. MTN’s roaming service promptly announced our arrival into Togo… Y’ello! MTN Nigeria wishes you a safe and productive stay in Togo. TG-Togo-Cell.

Dear passengers, we have just 15 minutes at this border. Please make it snappy. If u take more than 15 minutes, kindly find your way to the next border. If you need to ease yourself, please don’t just do it anywhere to avoid custom embarrassment. Your vehicle number remains 567.

This border seemed to have a lot more going than the previous one. It had the usual border hustlers calling you names like “Scholar” and “Yellow”, money changers and even more bootleg stuff and lots and lots of Mark Ecko t-shirts. (BTW, I am far from yellow but I guess it’s all relative. Lol!). They also had quite a lot of food for sale and I got curious…

Fried chicken, fried yam, fried turkey wings and… and…

Madam… Wetin be dis? Na nyansh?

Oga, Na Nyansh o!

I passed up the turkey “nyansh” and negotiated for some wings instead. I ducked behind a wall to take a whiz and we got back on the coach and headed for Ghana. Overall, Togo seemed a bit dry but I did notice some really beautiful and undeveloped ocean front views as we drove through the country.

I dozed off again, full of turkey wings and the last of the Odeku and woke up when we got to the Togo/Ghana border. We we required to take our luggage off the coach for a search by the Ghanaian customs. Once we had cleared customs and got back on the coach, I was shocked to find out that we were still about four hours from Accra! I promptly asked Euphemia about how to get a refund for the return leg of my trip because I quickly realized that this adventure would only be fun if it was a one way trip.

We finally made it into Accra around 8pm and I took a taxi to my hotel. A hot shower, massage and change of clothes and I was as good as new! Clearly, it was way too late to start looking for souvenirs as per my original plans but the night was still young. A friend picked me up from the hotel and we kicked off the night by having drinks at the African Regent Hotel (check). I ran into my brothers friend there and they were on their way to Bella Rosa to get something to eat so we decided to tag along. (I actually ran into another friend at Bella Rosa!). I overheard someone talking about going to “Efos” to get some chicken and rice and signed up for that instead. That was a meal that I won’t forget in a hurry. It was nice man!

Overall, a great Day 1 in Ghana… Check!

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2 Responses to “5 days, 1 Ghana! – Day 1: Road trip, Hotel Check in, chop, baff and tins!”

  1. Some of “we” lack the requisite vivid imagination to wholly accompany you on this 5-day jolly-fest, erm…I mean “trip”, simply guided by narrative: Arakunrin, where di fotos na?!

    p.s. There is a session of Awon Boyz Court with your name on the defendant’s docket: (Happy-ending-less) “Thai massage” indeed!! Associate Pastor Humble may be called as a (character) witness.

  2. Some photos dey come but you know say scarcity dey cause value. As per the court session, I shall submit supporting and mitigating evidence offline.

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