Usually the fastest way to get around Accra, occasionally the most ridiculous.
I wasn’t going to write about this here, but how can I deny my gentle readers such a thrilling tale? A terrifying taxi ride, a reliance on the bonds of friendship, and an escape from an uncomfortable situation. Basically, some friends and I went to get Thai food on Saturday, and I was lucky to survive the outcome long enough to enjoy my resultant diarrhea a few hours later.
The Thai food was delicious, and I took advantage of the fact that vegetables were available to order the vegetable rice thingy that upset my digestive tract so much later. I also took the opportunity to wax nostalgically about my sister, who is in Thailand at this very moment. I’m sure my lunch companions were thrilled to hear me talk endlessly about how cool she is and how good she is at writing and how even her hair is superhuman. Anyways, the meal was lots of fun, and it was punctuated by funny statements made by my friend Kelly. For example, she wondered aloud, “What’s the difference between prawns and chicken?”
We all enjoyed our lunch with no foreboding as to the great danger we would encounter afterwards. As we digested our rice, etc., we wandered around Osu and shopped at an NGO that supports local women. Then we decided it was time to go home, so we went to catch a taxi. Evan ended up negotiating the price, and we all agreed that 6 cedis was certainly reasonable to get us back to ISH, disregarding that brownish powder on the driver’s upper lip- it was probably food or something.
We piled in the taxi, chattering about our post-college plans. Soon, however, our talk died down, replaced by significant glances at each other in response to our driver’s behavior.
The driver was snorting something. He had a rag in his left hand, and it was streaked with brownish powder and grease. He kept using it to wipe his nose. Whenever he had an opportunity, he dipped his right hand into the baggie between himself and Evan and snorted a pinch of whatever powder it was. Every time he took his hands off of the wheel, they shook convulsively. His eyes, visible in the rear view mirror, had a strange, not-really-there quality. The 30-minute drive was a little surreal.
We got to campus, and Evan reassured the driver that no, he could just drop us off at the gate, no need to take us all the way to ISH, no no definitely not. We paid and got out as fast as we could.
On the walk back to ISH, I found out that the powder was heroin. Our driver was snorting heroin. What? Yes, that’s right. He was, you might say, totally strung out. Later I looked it up, and apparently Ghana is a junction for the heroin trade in Africa. Who knew?
Anyways, that was the most exciting 6 cedis I’ve ever spent. But I think the driver should’ve at least given us a discount.