The days click by but fortunately we now at last have a departure date from our hotel. Tuesday 14th.
I think Jen articulated pretty well, the difficulties we have had obtaining our Ghana visa. However, with the wonderful and understanding help from Adam and also Alexander and Sebastien, we got the application over the line. Just. By doubling the fee we were able to shrink the processing time from five working days, to 24 (working) hours.
Jen mentioned we have been using Poki as the dining car but yesterday we went down for breakfast to find the battery flat. As she is parked underneath the building with limited sun exposure on the solar panels, there was not enough charging going on.
Seb. & Alex. departed the hotel, having aquired thier Ghana visa, they need to get cracking.
A run out to Grand Bassam, 30k’s east of Abidjan was sufficient to get the batteries back to a full charge. The visit was to meet Chloe, the administrator for the West Africa Overland Forum. Chloe is an Irish national but has lived here in IC for the past sixteen years. Like Jen, has also worked in the airline industry for most of her working life. Chloe was also able to give us some intel on the best border to cross.
This is, as mentioned earlier, a big city. Both in population and area. Spread out along the coast and around an inland harbour, gives it an attractive visage. Sadly, vehicle and industrial pollution detracts from the splendour of the view.
Some of the journey was along a toll highway. Yet despite that, people are climbing over the barriers and walking and running back and forth to each side, The speed limit of 110k’s means little to some who are moving at nearly twice that speed. The journey home in the dark was fraught
At every road junction or set of traffic lights, there is a hoard of people selling everything imaginable. Footballs, glass ornaments, cutlery, pillows, tissues, food, They don’t hassle you, if you don’t want to buy, they quickly move on. Girls with piled fruit on their heads, running, transacting and giving change while vehicles speed by.
Visit to the hairdresser.
Jen has been complaining about her hair, so while wandering uptown we saw the salon that Sebastien had sought for a haircut. “Let’s check this out”, said Jen. Inside the airconditioning was oppressive but her mind was made up. After looking through several books to choose a suitable style, the stylist showed me one that looked great. So, now after about two hours, Jen emerged a new woman and looks great again. Me, I’m hacking mine with a shaving razor, and it tells…:). Sarah would be horrified.
There is a significant middle class here. Houses around our hotel reflect wealth and sophistication. However, there might be a palatial house behind the high electrified wire topped fence, outside the fence there is filth and disorder. There seems no appetite for clean order. Slums on the outer edge of the city are truly horrendous.
To his credit and as observed so far, the African does not seem to harbour anger or aggression. This is certainly the case when driving. If cut off there is no expression of discontent. I guess there are too many of these challenges to be responding to each one. Likewise walking on the street, we have never felt anything but completely safe and never threatened.
How we are looking forward to the next phase. Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria. Each one will have its own difficulty but once completed, we will be on the home run, due south. These hotel stays are purgatory.
Adam visited the Nigerian Embassy here and was told, the only place you will get an entry visa will be from a border country. Benin. Lets see what happens!