So I have a question that I really need an answer to: Who really is the giant of Africa? Well, I must admit it was indeed a long journey from Lagos, Nigeria down to Cape Coast, Ghana after opting to go by road even though my boss advised that I go by air.
But I was scared of the only option available to me so I had an interesting road trip with GUO transport.
First things first, we were all given breakfast – jollof rice, plantain and chicken with bottle water for the journey ahead. It was a smooth ride all the way to Accra only that the driver insisted we allow him blast music in the car as it was the only thing that could keep him awake and that also made it difficult for us to sleep.
Fast forward to Accra, where I changed my “plenty” naira to a few Ghanaian cedis because =N=1 is equivalent to GH¢74.5. You see why I asked the giant of Africa question earlier?
Anyway, apart from the gulf in value, I’ve also had to deal with their coins i.e the Ghanaian pesewas which is like our own kobo. I hate carrying small denominations like =N=5 or =N=10 and the likes but when you want to take a cab and you hear GH¢1.30 pesewas it means you have to keep the coins because they will come in handy.
I remember when I was to take a cab with a colleague from GUO transport park in Accra to Cape Coast around 6pm on Friday evening and the cabman said GH¢300 which is =N=22,350. LOL…. What we do is, each time we hear the price of anything we bring out our phones and punch the calculator to see how much it is in naira. So when he said GH¢300 we did the same thing and screamed. But it was our GUO transport driver, Mr Ebuka’s reaction that killed me.
He just said: “don’t try it!” LOOOOL… He was like we should stop converting to naira everytime we are told the price of anything. Well, we eventually paid GH¢125 each which is about =N=9,300 from Accra to Cape Coast which is another 4hrs drive. Eventually we arrived the hotel at 11:45pm in the night before taking a shower and crashing for the night.
Aside the press conference on Saturday, the other highlight of the day was the exploitation by cab drivers the moment they noticed we were strangers. I mean, at some point, myself and four other colleagues took a cab for GH¢100 and every other Ghanaian we spoke to like some volunteers at the stadium and our hotel owners said no where in the city should cost that much. But we’ve paid that much so we move.
We however became wiser with each cab we took and every movement we had subsequently and somehow we started paying about GH¢5 for our trips but we had to do it individually and not make it seem like we were hiring the cab.
On to game day! I walked into the Cape Coast Stadium feeling very proud and ensured everyone that cared to know knew that I was a Nigerian journalist before that very beautiful volley by Kgatlana broke my heart.
I can’t end this diary without a mention of the students from the University of Cape Coast. Those guys lit up the stadium with their energy only that they didn’t allow us take pictures or videos of them.
17 hour drive from Lagos to Accra and Accra to Cape Coast; despite the warning not to be too quick to convert the price of goods and services in Cape Coast to naira, I still can’t over the temptation to punch my phone calculator whenever the Ghanaian cedis is mentioned.