“Enter ! I want to hear a story !”
I look to my right.
Straight into a big smile.
For a second, I have a question mark hanging above my head.
It is Saturday late afternoon.
I am walking my relaxing walk from the main road to the house.
The request, or should I say command? comes from a taxi-driver with three women on the back seat and a free seat in the front.
After that first second, I recognise the driver on his white earphone hanging besides his head.
The type of ear plugs you use to listen music on phone or laptop.
A few weeks ago, when I just arrived in Ghana, I was standing at the road side, waiting for an available shared taxi to town.
After six full taxi’s, my Western mind takes over: “Waiting time is waste of time”.
In that same moment, I see a taxi stopping and off-loading a lady at the other side of the road, going in the opposite direction.
I ask the driver: “Are you going to the taxi-stand and back to town?”
His answer is a solid: “Yes”.
So I step in and we go.
Just when I conclude that I am satisfied with my creative solution……I see a taxi with two available seats passing the point I was just standing. And a little bit later……we pass the taxi-station.
I am quite used to unexpected happenings here and most of the times things have a good ending.
So after a short ‘grumblll’ I let it go.
It is clear to me that this wasn’t the fast option to town that I hoped for.
But that is just what it is.
So in the mean time I try to enjoy the rural scenery and discover an area I didn’t know.
But we keep on riding and riding.
The paved road stops and is replaced by a sandy road with lots of bumps and holes.
And letting go is not that easy for a person who grew up in the Western world.
So at some point I ask: “where to?”
“Dropping the lady”.
There is a lady in the back, so that sounds logical.
After 15 minutes we finally stop and make a turn.
The lady steps out and the driver stops the engine.
In the middle of the ‘road’.
“Taxi station”? I ask.
Again, a solid ‘yes’ as answer.
The driver starts asking me some questions. Where I am from, what I do etc.
And as always, I take time to explain and am open in my answers.
When we continue the trip back to town and finally arrive at the main road to town, I discover that I am in the car of the worst taxi driver I have ever had in all these years in Ghana..
Speeding, passing, sticking his bumper to the cars and motor-bikes in front.
But that is not all.
He is the first person ever that is aggressive in traffic, where others are just driving what I call ‘in organised chaos’.
And to make it complete, he adds F.ck you! F.ck you! F.ck you! every time he is annoyed by anything around him.
And that is numerous times…..
I doubt if I should step out, but I am also curious to witness the whole experience till the end station.
I am also having fun with this whole happening, because I am discovering the lesson learned in this day: If you want Western time planning, you will get stressful Western driving.
When we arrive at the end station, I am not really regretting that I have to get out of the car.
The driver says: “Thank you for a great ride. Cu you soon!”
I respond: “Yeah, until we meet again” (but don’t expect me to be your customer again)
This Saturday, we do meet again.
Apparently I am in the driver’s memory as the one telling stories.
I respond that I like walking and he should do it without my stories today.
“So I should go?”
“Yes, go, but thanks anyways.”
Whilst he continues the ride, I am laughing again about the memories of the adventure a few weeks ago.
I wonder what story I would have told him if I would have stepped into the car just now.
I think it would start with…..”One day I met a taxi driver who was a bit agressive in traffic and shouting f.ck you, f.ck you….”
It is Sunday.
I walk the same road after I went to a restaurant to spoil myself with chicken and to write this story. I take my phone out of my bag to take some pictures that could accompany it.
Too bad I did not capture the taxi yesterday, but I will find something as alternative.
Then I hear: “Hey, get in!”
I look at my left and there he is again.
My white earphone f.ck you! taxi-driver with a big smile.
I thank him once again for the offer and ask if I can make a picture of him and his great car.
The rest of the walk, I enjoy the scenery even more.
No Western mind and planning for me anymore.
I have chosen an easy flowing life and adopted the believe of many people here: “Be thankful with what is, share your happiness and allow things to happen. What you ask for will come to you”.