Click, click that was all one could hear when turning the key to Lipstick to start the engine and this was a clear sign of a totally empty battery system.

The cause of this was most probably the fridge which my mistake was kept running at full power over the 2 day stay in Accra.

With rain clouds assembling directly above team Lipstick was immediately offered assistance by the staff of the hotel who immediately organised a vehicle so that an attempt could be made to jump start Lipstick.

This attempt failed as they batteries were simply to empty and the extremely friendly staff organised another vehicle to also assist but every attempt to jump start failed even after leaving the jumper leads connected for some 5 minutes.

It was then eventually decided to remove a battery from the hotel car and put it in place of lipstick’s main battery….

Experts at work under Andre’s supervision to junp start lipstick…

Experts at work under Andre’s supervision to jump start lipstick…

Experts at work under Andre’s supervision to jump start lipstick…

 

Voila!This exchange did the trick and Lipstick started at the turn of the key where after the battery on loan went back to its original car and the empty battery was put back into Lipstick whiles the motor was running so that it could be charged during the drive to Togo.

 

Without further hassles but some 50 minutes later than expected Lipstick was on route to Togo on fairly good roads.

Many street lights in Ghana are powered by solar panels … South Africa take note

Many street lights in Ghana are powered by solar panels

Many street lights in Ghana are powered by solar panels

 

Coffee time before proceeding to the border between Ghana and Togo

 

Coffee time before proceeding to the border between Ghana and Togo

Coffee time before proceeding to the border between Ghana and Togo

 

The main event for the remaining day was again the border crossing which indeed was a new experience.

For information to the non-over landers one should know that on many borders in Africa you can obtain the service of a Fixer.

A fixer makes his living by assisting people arriving with motor cars with the procedures of customs control and passport control on both sites of the border.

The fixer often is in cahoots with the border officials and share some of the money between fixer and official. He will spot you on arrival at the border run to your car and then waves you through the crowds from one office to the next.

Lipstick’s “Fixer” guiding them through the border between Togo and Ghana

Lipstick’s “Fixer” guiding them through the border

Lipstick’s “Fixer” guiding them through the border

 

Note the German word Zoll – maybe a left over from when France and Germany still had customs control between the 2 countries

 

The main task at border controls is also to get ahead of many trucks

 

The main task at border controls is also to get ahead of many trucks

The main task at border controls is also to get ahead of many trucks

 

Team Lipstick tries to avoid this action whenever possible but sometimes one has to weigh up extra time to be spent versus extra money to be parted with.

The fixer will tell you that one needs to pay 80, – Rand for the stamp of the carnet de passage when in fact it is for free. Willy of team Lipstick challenged this and told the fixer that he will go with him and pay the custom department directly and request a receipt.

On arrival at that office the custom official took one look and then was extremely sorry to advice that one needs to wait for his boss who needs to sign the carnet.

“When is your boss back?”

“In about one hour “

At this point the fixer then advises to go back to the car where he tells team Lipstick that it will be faster if we give him the 80 Rand so that things can be speeded up.

Reluctantly this was done and within 10 minutes the fixer was back with a stamped carnet and obviously both he and the customs official shared some of team Lipstick’s customs contribution.

This carries on with passport control, custom control and police clearance on both sites.

Border controls like the map at the back of lipstick in disbeliev about such a long journey

 

Border controls like the map at the back of lipstick

Border controls like the map at the back of lipstick

 

The maximum anger to team Lipstick was caused when parking in front of the police clearing office. From the site another self-appointed money sucker appeared and introduced himself as Chief of parking and that the parking would cost R 100, — in this spot.

The team members then let fly with all available swear words known to them at a much higher than normal loudness and amazingly the car guard retracted obviously having some fear of real policemen uncovering his ridiculous behaviour.

 

Once all procedures are finished the fixer smilingly advises that he now needs to be paid for his services denying all sharing of fees between him and the officials. To save time team Lipstick parted with another 40 Rand …………..

Right across the border Lipstick arrived at the capital of Togo called Lome where they will attempt to receive a visa for Gabon the next day.

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