Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Gas

After additional disappointments of when the gas would actually come, see “No More Gas!”, we finally were able to get gas last Friday. Like most things in Ghana, it was an odyssey.

We started at a logical place, the Royal Gas Depot outside of Kumasi. Upon arriving, we were overwhelmed by the number of other people who also thought Royal was an obvious starting point:

Realizing that - even if we succeeded in getting gas - the wait would take us the better part of a day, we decided to move along and see what other options might arise.

Our friend, Richie, had a friend, Isaac, who worked at a filling station in Kumasi. We drove to his house to see whether he had any leads on gas in town. At Isaac’s house, we also met the matron, Auntie Margaret. Auntie was a gracious hostess, offering not only her son to accompany us on the trip to find some gas, but a place for Kacey and Townes to hang out while we went searching for gas.

We familiarized Townes with a few children around the house and headed out of Kumasi to see if we could find some gas. After about 30 minutes of driving - we hit the jackpot:

The line was reasonably massive. Much shorter than Royal Gas, but there were still about 50 canisters waiting to be filled. I did the math: at about 2 minutes to fill each canister, plus the obligatory shuffling and changing of fittings, we were going to be there for a while. The wait wasn’t improved by the fact that a well-to-do Ghanaian in his Forerunner dashed the owner a few Cedes (dash- v. meaning tip or bribe) and was able to put his 5(!) tanks to the front of the line.

With a collective sigh by those of us waiting in line, we watched as the guy took 20 minutes of our time to have his tanks filled at the head of the queue. When Richie pushed the owner to understand why this was allowed, he simply responded, “This is Africa.”

2 hours later after finally filling our tanks, we headed back to pick up Kacey and Townes from Isaac’s house and headed on home. We made a quick stop in Kumasi for a celebratory pizza lunch at the famed Nick’s Pizza, “Best Pizza in Town!”. And indeed it was.

Richie was in total agreement.

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