Sorry for the slow blog. I had a couple of, lets call it interesting days.
I left Douala relieved that I was on my way again. Not my favourite means of travel but at least making some ground after being stuck in Douala. I left Foyer du Marin and headed for the airport. The bike left for Addis Ababa and Accra the previous day.
The airline refused all my luggage and wanted me to pay and said that I could not take 4 items onboard as hand luggage. Fair request as there isn’t enough space onboard for everything. I checked my other luggage in and went to the lounge waiting for boarding.
I got my seat and looked around and saw that we were only 25 people on a Boeing 737. So much for my hand luggage taking up to much space. I settled in and waited for take off. We were stopping over at Lagos, Nigeria and then short flight to Cotonou, Benin.
Flying over Lagos made me understand why people said its crazy. Its HUGE! people everywhere and very few roads can be seen from the air.
After take off at Lagos, I arrived at Cotonou’s small airport. immediately I experience the change between Cameroon and Benin. They were more organised and much friendlier. I got in touch with Dominique and Natalie who are friends of a friend I have never met. They picked me up at the airport and took me out for dinner at an Indian restaurant. I was stoked!
After a great dinner we headed off to their home with air conditioning, wifi, clean spacious room with all the luxuries one could want. I was really into the african adventure now!
The next morning I had to arrange a bus to Ghana so that I could collect my bike at the airport. They offered me the help of Seido (spell check), he is a great guy with passable english and so we set off on a moto taxi scouting for a bus service too Accra. We stopped at a few places and it was a great way to see Cotonou.
We found a bus company and bought a ticket for the following morning. I went home had a swim and uploaded all the outstanding videos to the blog. The guys went shopping for the day and I awaited their return. Dominique the cook, cooked up a storm, we had some beer and chatted until late at night.
The next morning I headed off to the bus station, the bus was late so we decided to burn some hours and go shopping. Eventually the bus arrived and we said our good byes!
So we were off on the 10 hour trek to Ghana. It was an interesting ride with not one car or bike passing us the whole day. The 2 drivers took turns at the wheel as if they were playing a video game. The drivers must have pressed the horn at least 2000 times to warn oncoming victims that if they don’t move or watch out they will most probably die in a horrific bus accident. I plugged in my ipod and listened to some music while trying to block out the pain from the most uncomfortable seat in the world.
The sights were great and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to travel to Ghana by road and not air. Driving along the coast with amazing views and thinking and praying that my bike was in one piece. I was also considering buying something from the “Thank you Jesus” store.
We arrived late in Accra, I met a Nigerian guy and we shared a cab to my hostel which he paid for. Damn Nigerians wont make you pay for anything(thanks Femi). As we were driving into Accra you could see it was by far the most developed city so far. Shopping malls, tall buildings and new cars where everywhere. I arrived at the disappointing Pink Hostel in Accra.
I had a good nights sleep and headed of the next morning to the airport’s cargo section to start the process of releasing my bike from the grip of the Ghanaian Customs hands. I am not going to go into detail about what happened. There was however shouting, swearing, banging of tables and waiting involved. The Ghanaians have too many rules, that they dont enforce and everything is sorted out with a bribe. I dont pay bribes so I reverted to plain South African aggression and table banging.
10 sweaty and long hours later I was reunited with my steed and we blasted down the main road in Accra!
I met up with Femi late the evening as the useless hostel’s internet never worked and I only got to email Femi very late. We met at his hotel and had a couple of beers on the roof top bar.
The next morning I started to piece my bike back together and doing some general maintenance. I gave him a good wash and pulled of all the stickers that the airline and customs agent had stuck to it. I also needed to fix my Burkina Faso visa as the dates were wrong. I jumped on and headed to the embassy. I was helped by a friendly gentleman, he said that I had to pay for a new one which I did. 30 min later I was out of there with new visa in hand. Thumbs up BF!
I got in contact with Dave, the aussie biker and he told me that he arrived in Lome. I was only going to meet up with him the next day but decided to pack and ride the 6 hours to Lome. I reach the border as the sun was setting, I got a fixer as I didnt want to waste time running around in the dark. I met up with Dave only after 9pm. He advised me that he had some issues on the bike he needed checking out, so we agreed that we will head in to the KTM dealer in the morning.
We headed out this morning after a good breakfast at the hotel we are staying at. We rode down the main road next to the ocean and located Tony-Togo. He runs the KTM shop in Lome. He told us to return later…
So all and all a good day. I am riding again which is good and looking forward to the north. I am sad that I didnt get to see more of Ghana, but so it goes. Cant see it all! Thumbs up to Benin and Togo I enjoyed my time in them and thumbs down to Ghana and the rules that make no sense and the famous phrase “give me something”…
We will spend a couple of days here before we head North.
See you in Northern Africa!