It is 4am. My eyes are heavy with sleep. My hair is heavy with dust. I have five hours before my next hope of a lift and for the first time since leaving London I am alone. Kind of. I’m in a bus depot in a backwater town the name of which I never learned. […]
It is 4am. My eyes are heavy with sleep. My hair is heavy with dust.
I have five hours before my next hope of a lift and for the first time since leaving London I am alone. Kind of.
I’m in a bus depot in a backwater town the name of which I never learned.
Passengers are milling around a collection of low buildings. Against the side of one lean panels of corrugated tin. For want of a better option, I bed down beneath.
A few feet from my makeshift crib, a lady from Ethiopia is breastfeeding her infant son. Nearby, a collection of grandmas brew up in a cauldron.
A hawker I’d seen earlier, board laden with sunglasses balanced on his head, picks up my guitar and whimsically strums a tune.
Another man, dressed in a shell suit, chews liquorice root (he calls it ‘gak’) to clean his teeth, and taps a foot while casting an evil eye my way.
The bus should be here at nine but arrives at 11.
As I clamber on to this rickety old thing I can almost hear my fellow passengers thinking: “Who is the mad foreigner?”
I’m not feeling chatty, but that hardly matters as everyone else is.
The boneshaker stops intermittently to drop people off and collect others.
There is plenty of food available at stalls on the road side.
It is not appetising - and comes with a guarantee of the trots - but I am starving.
One dear old Malian lady spots me warily eying the culinary possibilities, and offers me some of her bread and fish.
She is with her daughter, mid 20s, who is a beauty. When I speak to her she throws back her head and touches her hair, oval eyes smiling, laughter on her lips.
The signals are straight from the dating textbook. And I’d be lying if I said there was no attraction on my part.
But, amid the noise and diesel fumes, this is not exactly the time and place for striking up romance.
Nor am I feeling my sparkling best after so long on the road. In fact my tongue has more fuzz than my chin.
The jalopy bus pulls into yet another terminus and the girl, having probably just learned the words from her mother, tells me: “You come to Accra with me – I make sure you good”.
I’m tempted, it’s true. Yet there are important matters at stake here. Namely a Group C game and too many miles to mention between The Thumb and it…