Is that cash in your pocket or are you pleased to see me

Day 49… Saturday 20th May

Set off for Accra with a 2.5 hour drive planned. Passed several Police check points but not stopped. There were around 200 mamils (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) on their bikes, all part of an organised race heading West. They must have been hot! Driving into Accra there was the usual traffic, slow but moving amongst people weaving in and out of cars selling drinks, food, and fabrics. The car in front seemed to be doing their weekly shop, buying up everything all adding to the traffic jam. They then stalled and one of the passengers jumped out to push the car down the road. Minor incident involving a missed red light right in front of a Police officer on his motorbike who pulled us over. He threatened Allen with court on Monday, a fine of 2,400 cedi (£180), and we would need to follow him to the nearest Police station. Allen was very apologetic. A second officer then turned up who had not seen a right hand drive car before and it became apparent that he was willing to accept payment by the side of the road. As this would avoid all the hassle, a negotiated payment was agreed. The officer hoped in the back of the car where 1,000 cedi (£70) was handed over. This seemed a suitable but expensive compromise, annoying but the relief of avoiding more hassle and the expired brown card insurance coming to light was huge. Our first bribe paid and probably not the last. Our hotel had a panoramic view of Accra and we sat in the garden with some chilled beer, laughing with relief that the officers had offered a bribe which got us out of our predicament.

Allen’s perspective

All I can add was that whilst I was already sweating heavily from it being very hot and humid, encountering a police officer yelling at you and then threatening court action made me sweat to a whole new level. On the other hand it’s good for weight loss! I’ll add that whilst we did pay a bribe, something which every Ghanaian we’ve spoken to treats as normal everyday activity, I did commit a genuine traffic violation, so it’s only half a bribe.

Proceed Booking