I woke up early on Saturday morning to catch a taxi to the bus station to travel from Accra to the northeastern town of Bolgatanga. To avoid the stop-and-go morning traffic, my taxi driver took several “shortcuts,” which involved passing through pedestrian walkways, driving across fields (who knew there were fields in Accra!?) and getting stuck amidst a herd of cows. You can buy just about anything through the window of a taxi—watermelon, toilet paper, a cell phone, some jeans—but I saw a guy taking street hawking to whole new level by weaving among cars and motorbikes, trying to sell the exercise bike he carried on his head…hands down the best workout anyone has every gotten from an exercise bike!
At the bus station, I waited for an hour for the driver to show up and another hour for the bus to actually arrive…although still managed to almost miss the bus because my bag was put in the wrong pile. The first few hours of the ride were typical—a blaring radio program, passengers playing music on their cell phones to block out the radio, other passengers yelling over the combined noise, the A/C breaking within 20 minutes of leaving the station, and a screaming fight with the driver over the broken A/C. During a few hours of relative silence (the radio was switched to cover a soccer game), I managed to get a bit of sweaty sleep…the kind where you jolt awake every 15 minutes sure that you are snoring and drooling ☺. The ride from Accra up through Kumasi (Ghana’s second largest city after the capital) was painfully slow—a trip that should take 2-3 hours was stretched to 7 hours because of construction, bumpy dirt road, and horrible traffic. We were moving so slowly that people selling hot dogs (I don’t even what to think what makes up a Ghanaian hot dog) and bananas could hop in and out of bus door as we crawled along. In have learned to zone out and settle into a place somewhere between daydream and actual sleep, helped along by putting my travel playlist on repeat…a combination of Jack Johnson and the Lion King on Broadway soundtrack.
After 18+ hours, we arrived in Bolgatanga sometime just past 4am. I crawled out of my seat and managed to fall over a full fledged banana tree that had appeared in the isle (we’re talking trunk, braches, hundreds of bananas) and the impressive collection of pineapples, bread and fish that the women sitting next to me had accumulated throughout the trip. At that point, I was beyond regretting the late night I had spent out with friends in Accra the night before, and SO ready for some actual sleep!