King Appiah showed up!
And we are off on our second Ghana Surf Trip to Kokrobite.
From East Legon, we head towards Kotoka International Airport, and then through an area called Lapaz.
Traffic on this section of the highway is usually slow-moving – Lapaz is busy – with lots people visiting market stalls on either side of the road.
We motorists don’t need to feel left out, because the vendors weave in and out between the cars bringing the market to us as well!
In South Africa, we have traffic-light-trade as well, where you can buy the odd license disc holder, sun visor, and superglue.
But Ghana takes this to a whole other level.
Here, you can buy loaves of bread, hard-boiled eggs, cooldrinks on ice, home-made millet smoothies, bulk loo paper packs, sugarcane, Boflot (Ghanaian doughnut), groundnuts (peanuts) in transparent cones, handkerchiefs (to mop your brow)… and that is only the first couple that come past the window.
There are women who carry entire stores, with products packed tightly around large cylinders, balanced on their heads.
Boflot (Ghanaian doughnuts) are carried in square, glass display cases.
The displays are awe-inspiring, and the packaging ingenious. According to King Appiah, Ghanaian motorists are very picky when it comes to vendor’s product packaging.
You do not just buy grapes in a bunch. You buy washed grapes, picked off the tendrils, packed in single-file-grape-towers in tidy mini cellophane tote carriers.
And the packaging does not stop with the product. It is noticeable how well-dressed the vendors are. King Appiah explains that this is because potential customers are more likely to purchase from someone who looks the part.
The women wear dresses and aprons, and some of the men wear collar shirts.
Collar shirts. In a place where the sun is so hot, I could not sit on a rock for more than 5 minutes! (See Day#13)
This is not an easy way to earn a living.
But landlords in Ghana demand 2-3 years rent upfront.
You heard right, folks. 2-3 years.
And we lament a 3-month deposit in Cape Town!
Imagine having to put down 2-3 years worth of rent in one go…
…Now imagine doing this on an Uber Driver or Groundnut Vendor’s salary.
Note to self: Take as many Uber rides and eat as much Groundnut as you can, while you are here.
When we get to Mr. Brights in Kokrobite, Brett (the owner) asks whether I would like to join a surf session to “The Point”.
He mentioned this last Saturday, but I promptly block it out.
Thing is, “The Point” break is 200m away from the beach. And I am not a great swimmer. (I grew up in the Free State.)
I have been dreading this since last Saturday.
Luckily Jack, who is visiting from Zurich and super-excited about his brand-spanking-out-of-the-box board, mentions that he is nervous too.
This makes me feel better about feeling nervous, becuase if Jack is nervous, with paddling arms like those, then…
Wait… now I am really nervous!!!
The five of us (Brett, Gabby, Jack, Nelene and I) set off along Kokrobite beach towards Muuston beach.
Ok, not quite like that. We had to stop to climb over a lot of fishing nets a lot. And we sweated a lot.
I was reminded of the fact that 243.83-Centimeter-Long-Surfboard weighs 5.73kg (See Day#1).
5.73kg x 32 degrees heat = heavy
Within 2 minutes the wax on my board had turned to water and was running down the side of my leg.
Gabby, the very charming young Spanish-Italian surfer, who is walking with me, has to remind me that I should turn the board over! Dah.
I think he is trying to distract me from my fear of impending doom by, every couple of meters, calling out the remaining distance as a percentage of the total.
23% there! 77% remaining! In the most charming accent imaginable.
(Future Ladies Of Kokrobite I feel sorry for you!)
At 83% he says he saw me (try to) surf last Saturday.
I mumble some excuse about not being used to 2ft waves with unexpected “fast”, “barrel” and “shallow” bits (See Day#13).
He says, yes, he saw me paddle for a wave and thought I was going to nosedive because he would not have surfed that wave with such a long board.
(Note to self: Next time, ask yourself “what would Gabby do”?)
“But then you took it, and you went low and the next thing you were at the beach.”
(Turns out he saw my one (and only) successful wave-taking attempt. Before I had to go sit on the rock to wait for my nerves to grow back (See Day13).)
I walk much taller for the remaining 17% of the way.
When we are 100% of the way, we put our boards down an put our leashes on.
I purposefully don’t look up, as I walk into the water, to see how far away the @&$% break is from the beach. Would rather not know.
I start to paddle. And I don’t stop until I am, in my estimation, 53% of the total distance.
Where is everybody? I turn around.
I had completely overshot the break!
In my mind, the 200m had become 2km. When in actual fact, it was no further than the Bailey’s Cottage backline in Muizenberg, which I paddled to every Saturday. (You were right, Meg!)
There is a lesson in this: How often do we worry about unnecessary things, allowing our minds to turn 200m into 2km?
From now on I am going to worry 87% less of the total.