Sunday 22nd March 09 Pram Pram
The worship starts early today and rattles on all morning at high volume. It is the start of a strange day. A guy comes to visit one of the guests. He drives a big Mercedes 4x4 and is obviously quite flush with money. Just on the strength of the poster on the car he buys a CD and then says he will buy one for his friend. He gives me cash and says keep the change. This is good as it will cover a few days here even after the money I give to the charity. Later in the day I suggest to the others it may be nice to have some fish for dinner and they agree. Kev, Lorraine and I head into the village and find it fairly quiet. There is one lady with some fish but they are very small so we leave it. A bit further on we find a small factory that processes fish. I half jokingly suggest they may have some fish for sale. Lorraine asks and the guy in charge (I think his name was George) if they sell fish here. He says they only sell by the 10kg box but come with him and he’ll see. He gives us a block of Tuna (about 5kg) wrapped in plastic straight out of the freezer (it has apparently only just gone in a little before) and says he wants us to have it. We ask how much and he says it is a gift. Literally 5kg of boneless Tuna for nothing. We thank him and wander off not believing it. We dine well this evening with Tuna and pasta having cut off a third of the block to use over the next 2 days and the rest goes in my fridge which is now set to freeze. That should give the battery a hard time. Kev shows off his chefs prowess as he cooks the tuna beautifully. As we a sat there a guy goes past in a Landrover and comes to have a look. His vehicle has Supermaritime on the side and surprise, he is in shipping. We arrange to speak with him tomorrow in case he can do better for us.
Monday 23rd March 09 Into Tema and Accra
The three men on the party head into Tema in my motor to try and tie down something for shipping and also try and get some flight prices. We go to Michael from Supermaritime first. He hasn’t a direct link for clearance in SA even though the company has an office there. Seems strange. Also they have to find a ship. He will have a quote on Wednesday morning. We go to DHL and the guy gives us his quote. It isn’t cheap but is around what I expected. No decision is made but I am prepared to go with that quote as things stand.
We head to Accra and end up going the back way up many tracks to avoid congestion on the roads. We come out by the airport and see the sign for a travel agent. Checking here the others find it is cheaper to only fly to Johannesburg and then get a train to Durban. Their flights aren’t cheap being one way. I brace myself and the guy comes up with a good price from Royal Air Maroc. I think I will go with this but need a shipping decision as I need to get booked quickly before the price changes.
We head to a mall we have seen and I buy a few little things while Marc does a weeks shopping as they are low on provisions.
We head back on the highway paying the huge sum of 8Gp for the toll. (About 5p).
Guess what, it is tuna for tea and not quite as much fun as yesterday as the rice isn’t quite as perfect as the pasta was.
We have been asked to move a bit and I now have the joy of the singing security guard who has a radio which sounds like it has Jerry Springer on it. The joy just keeps on coming.
Time for an attempt at sleep.
Tuesday 24th March 09 Pram Pram
Another day in limbo starts with the staff being entertained as usual to gangster rap which keeps going on the most boring loop in the world. It starts shortly after 6 but not before the sweeping lady does the car park at around 5.30. Sleep is beginning to be a problem here. I don’t want to be too tired when I go home. Must do some practise today as I want to get the chops in shape in case I can get any gigs in the fortnight at home. Could do with some to boost the funds. Will put the feelers out as soon as I have some dates. No news today and time is spent doing internet stuff and generally wandering around exploring the metropolis that is this village.
We have some steak for tea but it is horribly tough and a shame. No real thought for the day except that I am not sure how to take the sign ‘Blood of Christ Beauty Salon’. So on to tomorrow
Wednesday 25th March 09 Pram Pram and Tema
We hope to have news today and head into Tema. There is a quote for us but it doesn’t cover the SA end of the clearance. We are also given an honest appraisal of the situation at Lagos. Ships are currently being delayed there by a minimum of 3 weeks so the ZIM line quote isn’t looking so good. Supermaritime have a quote from MOL for us but it is a bit higher. We are a little further on but still without a complete solution. DHL don’t seem to want to give us anything on getting a ship so we are left with some choices depending on the SA quote that Marc will ask for when we get back to Pram Pram. We call at a filling station for Marc to top up and we also take on water. I have brought along 2 jerry cans as I am also low on water with there being no running water in Pram Pram for 2 weeks. It takes a good long while as the water is very slow. When we get back we measure Marc’s car again for height. I think we will be alright.
This evening we have some of the other steak but Kevin has marinated it in olive oil, garlic and orange juice to break it down a bit. It turns out to be a huge improvement.
Thursday 26th March 09 Pram flipping Pram
Still here and no joy on replies yet so no movement. I am getting frustrated. To take my mind off this I head into the village and am tasked with finding limes for Kevin’s next creation. Something with tuna tonight and then I will soon get my fridge back. I find limes and some other strange veg which don’t end up helping the cause. I see a few interesting signs today. One board has a hand pointing and Polling Station Here on the one side. On the other it has Polling Station There!!!. Another good one is that this village turns out to have the head office of the Ghana Canoe Carvers Association!
We are asked if we can move into the Motel part of the hotel tomorrow. We don’t mind but it is the way we are asked that is a bit off. They really don’t do themselves any favours here. They run out of beer for 2 days, only have 1 dish on the menu, don’t have the component parts of the inclusive breakfast that Kevin and Lorraine are paying for and the staff would come last in the tortoise race. Add to that the fact that there is still no running water and you have a stunning place. (Not really going to recommend this one).
Friday 27th March 09 More Pram Pram
So we get up and move to the other side of the hotel. The day then gets more annoying as we have no good news on the shipping front as Marc wants to get back to DHL to see if they can get us on the ship and clear both ends. This would be a good clean solution but doesn’t help speed things up as if we don’t hear today it is into another week and getting tighter for the ship we want to travel on.
True to form we don’t hear and so we have a weekend to sit through. I am going to scoot off this weekend and this is pushed a bit when, after we have been served alcohol and couldn’t possibly drive off tonight the manager sends someone to say that he now wants us to pay 10Cedi a day from now. We tell them that this can only happen from tomorrow and we will all leave and then they will have none of the extra income of our bar use, the food we buy on occasion, the daily charges for Marc’s family using the pool and Lorraine and Kevin having a room. They don’t seem to care and would rather be completely empty so we will all leave tomorrow.
Saturday 28th March 09 To Big Millys
I get up early and pack up. I am quite happy to leave here. I decide to head to Big Millys to experience the music on a Saturday night. As I arrive Manfred is on his way out. It is good to see him again as I think that, although we have a different overview of Africa we are both fairly straightforward in our approach to things.
I settle in and relax. Strangely, shortly after I arrive, a motorbike pulls in and the British side of our container are reunited. The evening is good but I am tired and need to catch up on sleep so the music going on till 3am isn’t in my best interests. I am not convinced (if this really was highlife music) that this type of music is anything other than function band stuff and not even as interesting as that. The band is good but end up with 3 singers all trying to add their own thing and it doesn’t work. They each have good voices but not always the best idea of a lone to sing.
It is quite a buzzing place at the weekend.
Sunday 29th March 09 to Cape Coast.
I planned to pop back to Cape Coast and this seems like a good opportunity. The journey in uneventful and I pull into the Oasis Beach Lodge. The owner changes some more money for me and I head into town for some cheap food. I get a banana milkshake and the proprietor has to send 2 boys off to change a 5Cedi note. Crazy. I then walk past one of the many varieties of Christian church and it seems like they are running a food stall. I ask and get a Coke and 2 hotdogs on sticks each with one slice of onion. Strange but quite tasty and cheap. Back at the Oasis I get a bit of hassle from a couple of guys separately and decide not to stay. I head back to Kokrobite. On arrival I am too late for dinner but Kevin and Lorraine ordered food which has a portion the size of a family meal and so I get some burrito to keep me going. Early night as hope for news early tomorrow.
Monday 30th March 09 Big Millys and Tema
A call from Marc early in the day is disturbing. He says DHL cannot get a container on the ship we are asking for as it is full!!!!!!! Oh dear, or words which I wont write in case children are reading. He is getting back to Genevieve from Supermaritime to see what she can come up with. It is an annoying and frustrating wait as we had a potential solution in place before the weekend if we had just gone for it. No point in thinking like this as we are now in deep water with the others having their visas run . out before the next possible sailing date. We have a worrying wait. Around 2pm Marc calls. There is no problem as Supermaritime had provisionally reserved the container for us and we are back in business. We have to head across to make the agreement so I pack up and Kev and I enjoy a relatively traffic free journey across Accra. All is sorted and we have to come back Wednesday to pay the agents and finalise the contract.
Our journey back across Accra is at rush hour and is horrid. It is impossible to describe how difficult the driving conditions are here. It takes 3 hours and is only 40 miles.
We have them keep our food for us as we pre-order on the journey.
Tuesday 31st March 09 To Accra
I have to go in to book my flight. The journey in takes 2 hours. I call on the way to make sure they have held the reservation I made on Saturday. They say they have. I get to the Royal Air Maroc office and the girl says my reservation is not there and the tickets that are available are $100US more than the one I had reserved. I am not amused and get her to look at other dates to travel. While she is doing this a guy comes in and shows her that my original reservation is still in place and I am temporarily happy again. Why temporary? So I go to pay with my VISA card. The machine says card denied. We try again. CARD DENIED. I don’t understand this and go to call the customer services line. I get through and explain my problem. The chap says that they have had no request to deny and so it is probably a problem with the Airline’s system. I go back in and one of the guys runs a test to communicate with the host. This fails so they call for a technician. I am asked if I can come back but I prefer to stay as I can’t easily commute this journey. The 1 hour quoted turns into 2 and the technician arrives. He plugs a phone into the line and declares no dial tone. He gets another cable from a working phone and plugs it in. The machine is fixed and my card goes straight through. 3 hours to book and pay for a flight. This means I am now back into rush hour from Accra. I have another lovely journey back and am very happy when I get my evening meal. Not so happy when we get the call that we are to be at Supermaritime around 11am as this means the trip from hell at the wrong time of day. Oh well, needs must.
Wednesday 1st April 09 To Tema.
True to form the journey is horrible and we even take the coast route to keep in moving traffic. It takes 3 hours. We get paid up and then go for the others to buy their flights. While they do this I get some rice and beans for lunch. I also pass over my water jerries to Marc as he will be using them for ballast to get his vehicle lower on the springs.
We make the journey back to Big Millys early enough that the part from Accra is done in less than an hour. 10 minutes later and we would have caught the traffic, phew! On arrival I see the pick-up from Green Turtle. Tom and Jo have been to visit her sister in the Volta region and are stopping here for a couple of days to relax. I take the opportunity to return the book from their library that I left in my tent by mistake. It looks like it is all falling into place but not counting chickens. The fat lady is gargling!
Thursday 2nd April 09 Rest Day
No driving today.Updating this and then probably going to upload this to the internet. I will also try to back up my photos to DVD. Not sure how to do that yet. Picked up eggs from village and made own breakfast. Back to money saving now. Will also try to catch up on some e-mails that need doing. Haven’t had any luck with that yet so apologies to anyone who has mailed me without getting a response.