Addy and Nunu’s Excellent Road Trip Across West Africa To Ghana
Oh My Word We Are Definitely In Another Country
Crossing Seme Border was almost surreal but not quite. I mean this is the famous Seme Border that many people get yabbed and dissed over. Technically you can’t really ‘cross Murital Mohamed Airport’ to go to another country. You’ll end up in Ikeja or Mafouluku. But when you cross Seme border you have actually physically crossed over a map to another country. In fact what only separates you from being in another country is a long Bamboo stick on a metal barrel. We were fortunate enough to actually meet some nice customs officers who let Nunu and I take pictures and pose at the border. I can tell you that was the only border crossing picture we got. When we drove across the border into Benin Republic, I felt a little discomfort that made the ride just a little bit abnormal. When I realized what it was, the next thing that came out of my mouth in the most southern American accent is “Oh My Word We are DEFINITELY in another country.!!” The road was so smooth that the bus was not bumping around. It was too strange for my body, which is now quite used to dancing Ajasco and is very sensitive to ‘unbumpy’ roads. Unfortunately for me we were not in a personal car so we could not stop over in Cotonou to do some Vintage/ Thrift shopping. Cotonou is very famous for high-end second hand clothes or what we fashionistas call 'Vintage'(saying it with a french accent) for those of you who don’t know. Many have been known to find some fabulous designer items there for really cheap. It’s like Africa’s very own Flea Market. Anyways we drove past Cotonou’s less busy but clean streets. It was interesting seeing women on Motor-bikes/Okada/ scooters. They even had bike-lanes, something Nigerian roads lack. Enuka meanwhile had started sleeping but I was bugging her to stay awake. I on the other hand did not close my eyes at all because I wanted to SOAK up the sights of West Africa. We stopped along the road to buy GIANT LIVE CRABS (the driver did…crabs stink). One almost clamped my finger with its PINCERS (not claws). There was so much beautiful coastal landscape to behold. It is a shame that we have totally destroyed much of ours in the Lagos Met with trash, sand filing and reclaiming land to build homes and stuff or blocked it off with high rise buildings (BOY do I have beef with the Hotels, Banks and other springing development on the waterfront side of the Lekki Express…why deny me the pleasure of enjoying God’s gift of nature…shameful. Not to even mention those folks on stilt homes inching closer to 3rd Mainland Bridge. I am so feeling Fashola on his recent campaign to clean up the beaches. It’s a start) We hadn’t eaten and considering the fact that this was a highly unplanned trip, we did not buy any snacks to munch on in the car. We were so hungry that we bought FAN-YOGO (frozen yoghurt in a sachet) at every opportunity. We eventually got to Benin (pronounced Beh-neh), which is the border town before you get to the Togolese border. Here you could buy items with Naira, CFAs and Cedis. There were all sorts of things there on sale but mostly deep fried in palm oil (which I don’t like). Normally I would do some shakara and go hungry at that type of place BUT since i decided that we were going to experience the culture of West Africa, I was down to eat at the Border Buka. We ordered the normal regime, Rice and stew with meat. I was hoping the meat will speak French to me but it tasted like Nigerian meat. Lol. Not much difference. For the oddest reason one of the hawkers kept following us around with ‘bon-bon’ chocolate, as if it was by force for us to purchase it. I guess we looked like chocolate eating type.
Bonjour Mon Ami… Oui Oui … Huh Huh
When we got to the border between Benin Republic and Togo, Hilla Condi, it actually looked like a border. Trust us Africans to have a colorful gate. It was sort of funny and interesting at the same time. The border patrol guy came up to our van and tried to show us up with his French. I mean dude clearly saw the license plate read ‘Lagos-Nigeria’ and ‘MUS for Mushin’. So where the hell will we learn French from. He came up to the door and said something in French (which he translated as… you guessed it… What is your mission). We were like ‘Huh? Je ne parle pas...I no speakidi french’. He laughed and spoke in English for the rest of the conversation. Togo is truly a beautiful country. At least the areas along the coastal highway with the azure blue ocean. Much of the landscape is pristine and looks untouched. I am sure the damage lies beneath the trees and the sand.
Lome is also very ‘antique’ and ‘colonial’. In my head I was already picturing an independent movie being shot there. I am sure there are so many places like that in the country. I am sure Nigeria has some places like that but they might be mostly in the north (point of destination for another trip).
Oh Chaley…Is nat Werking Fer Me
We continued on, taking pictures along the way stopping at the Lome border to buy batteries (which didn’t work) and more FAN-YOGO. Lome, the Togolease capital actually is very close to the border. On the other side of the border gate is Aflao, Ghana. The immigration process on the Ghanaian side was the most organized and they actually search instead of just collecting your money and letting you pass. I was hoping the border would be cleaner that the Nigerian side ‘I wes on di-defence, bet it wes ok’ (Lol…that’s how Nana on WA Idols talks). Our bus driver took the scenic route up the coast of Ghana. The main Ecowas road that is a straight shot from Aflao to Accra is under construction like many routes in West Africa. The 2008 Africa Nations Cup is coming to Ghana and as such every one is fixing and face-lifting. Many Nigerian bus companies are even extending their route to Liberia, Senegal and Niger. The driver took a road called Keta Road. The interesting thing about Ghana that noticed is how clean, calm and serene it was. Ones environment is truly a reflection of the soul. They even had mile markers/ kilometer markers. All the signs were in place along the roads and there weren’t any ‘Vote for Me’ posters obstructing the street sign. Hardly any unsightly billboards or heaps of garbage. Even by listening to the radio you could tell that these people were of a peaceful nature. Imagine flipping through the radios stations in Lagos. On Cool Fm 96.9 you will hear Olu Maintain blaring ‘Oh Oh Yahoozeee eeee Yahoo…’. Then on Rhythm you will hear Tony Tetuila crying that he’s in love with two women and he doesn’t know what to do. You might even stumble upon ‘Wildchild’s Party’ every Friday night and JAJ's jim-jim rap music on Top Seven at Seven. Then you change to Brilla FM and all you hear is ‘Iz a GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!! The Golden Eaglets have served the Spaniards a bowl of Spanish Rice….Unbelievable’. I mean WTF!!!Lol!! Anyways let me fast forward. We had not booked any room in a hotel or anything. We were being like ‘white folks’ and doing ‘crazy shit’ like going to another country with no living arrangement. We decided to go from one hotel to another hoping for a good deal that will fall within our $80 /night budget. Now the following incident must have been God intervening to ensure that we had a swell time in Ghana.