Driving in Accra and Cape Coast (the two cities I visited) was nothing like driving here in the UK or anywhere else I have ever been - including the autobahn! The rules appeared to be:
'there are rules, but not everybody knows what the rules are'
'if you know the rules, it doesn't really matter if you don't follow them'
At one point, as I sat nervously in the back of the car I asked 'ummm...is this a 2-lane or 3-lane road?'. The response:
'this is Ghana, the road is whatever you want it to be!'
With the same driver on a different day, I witnessed something that could either have left me in hysterical laughter or hysterical fear! My body chose laughter, but believe me, my mind did not! Through my hysterical laughter (seriously the fear manifested as uncontrollable laughter), I just had to comment - 'No way! Are you serious?! You just overtook 5 vehicles, and there are a couple of lorries amongst them! You couldn't even see the road ahead!'. The response:
'ahahaahahatehehehahahaa, we told you! This is Ghana - everything is possible!'
Goodness me! These comments were not lies! Just when I thought I had seen the worst of Ghana driving, we did an emergency stop at a level crossing. I don't understand why it called for an emergency stop?! The red lights were flashing from some distance away and the sirens were quite clear. Even I knew it was a level crossing, that a train was coming and we needed to stop. The Ghanaian pedestrians knew this, but didn't seem to care! They approached the level crossing, took a super-quick-can-barely-be-called-a-glance look at how far away the train was, and then skipped nonchalantly across the train tracks! A LEVEL CROSSING, lights flashing, sirens blarring and people crossing it!! I couldn't believe my eyes, so I just closed them.
I closed my eyes - this was serious for me. I'm the same girl who didn't even want to sleep, for fear of missing exciting events in Ghana! The truth is, I just didn't want to witness any tragedy on a level crossing on my holiday! When I opened my eyes, there was a guy on a moped who had stopped next to us. He appeared to be waiting for the train. WRONG!
He ducked his head and rode UNDERNEATH the barrier! The ironic thing is that he was wearing a helmet!
Again, go figure?!