Friday, 1 February 2008

The Pineapple

Getting petrol in Kumasi was a production. The pump attendant also doubled up as a forecourt cashier which meant that she was forever stopping to give people their change rather than filling up the vehicle.

Thirty minutes out of the city we were on a road under construction. I like these kind of dirt tracks. It makes me think I'm in some kind of sweaty jungle adventure starring Clark Gable.

But no. This is not a film just me trying to get back to the capital in one piece and not trying to save some luscious maiden from the perils of the savages.

The car was not built for the journey. It shuddered and shook. Foster coughed as much as the car juddered. He said he was pulling over and bought a coconut by the roadside. Pierre did likewise and they slurped the milk from the insides.

I think they were following fashion as about 15 minnutes earlier I asked to pull over because I liked the look of the pineapples.

There's a logic to the interminable roadworks. The queues allow hordes of traders to skirt along the vehicles and offer various wares.

You could call it hustling. Maybe they're being entrepreneurs. It would be economic hari kiri to shun a captive market.

I didn't succumb to such hard line tactics, I preferred the soft sell and bought the pineapples from a lone trader by the wayside. I got out of the car with Foster and she gave us five for 3 cedi. She gave Foster one on the house so to speak.

By the time we reached Accra I was nauseous. Pierre's much hyped shorter journey was nothing of the sort. But I guessed that was going to be the case. I have to say that I've never felt so depleted after a car trip.

My hotel room wasn't ready so I went to the RFI studio to prepare for the broadcast. I felt awful but after a sandwich I started to perk up.

I did a tiny bit of yoga and freshened up for my evening meal. Supper was fish and chips. My dessert treat was the pineapple from this afternoon. The waitress asked me if I wanted the kitchen to cut and peel it.

I said not necessary because I only wanted a tiny bit. She gave me a knowing look as she brought out a sharp knife from the kitchen.

I lopped a tiny bit off, took a bite and had a religious experience - not surprising really since the Living God had been kicking around a few days earlier. I sliced off some more chunks and savoured the sweetness.

It was the most palatable part of the journey.