Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Taxi Drivers

Being flexible is a wonderful thing. We arrived at the Miklin Hotel on Wednesday night after the Egypt v Zambia match to discover that we'd been assigned rooms in another hotel.

The receptionist explained that the rooms that had been reserved for us had developed terrible faults which hadn't been rectified during the day.

I wondered if the difficulties had anything to do with the Senegal football team and attendant delegates staying in the hotel and thus needing rooms which had been allocated to someone else.

Pierre sat down in the foyer and refused to go to another place. I felt it best to leave him there. I'd only anglicise his gallic strop and it would lose its potency.

I said I was going up to the studio to start working and told one of the in situ RFI people that I was more than happy to stay in the studio for a couple of nights.

The studio has a double bed and internet. I'm availing myself of the internet right now. And I intend to snuggle down as soon as I finish this.

Last night it meant that I could harvest a modicum of normality by listening to the BBC World Service through the night. Only thing was that I was too tired to take much in and there was no 23-month-old boy to wake me up for world news bulletins. I miss my little cuties.

I woke up and did some more work before asking Foster to take me to the airport so I could buy a ticket for Monday's Accra-Kumasi trip.

It was quite a long way from the hotel and the traffic seems immense. At jams like this I notice bad driving.

And I'm particularly impressed by the taxis which have scripture passages on the back window.

Unfortunately the more fervent the message, the worse the driving. The chap with: "Jesus is Lord" nipped hastily into a space and the car which undertook on a sandy bank to get ahead sported: "God Lives".

The subtext being, the way I'm thrashing this motor about you'll find out for yourself fairly soon.

I'm not too chuffed about meeting my maker due to a traffic accident in Kumasi. And in truth it's unlikely as there are so many vehicles around it's a virtual standstill.

Not helped by traffic lights being out on the approach to the stadium.

I would have thought that with a match at a soccer tournament, you'd have got a few traffic cops to sort the thing out.

No that's obvious. A few people from the Ghana Tourist Board dropped by at the hotel in Accra last Saturday and asked about my impressions of the place.

I was positive about my experiences outside the Africa Cup of Nations but the structural issues of the event leave a lot to be desired.

I've seen loads of matches. In this afternoon's one Senegal and South Africa played out a 1-1 draw here in Kumasi.

In Germany during the World Cup, coaches were laid on from the station to the stadium. There's nothing quite like that here.

In Germany I relied on taxis to take me around.

Thank God that's not the case here.