Monday, February 18, 2013

#VimRide - the story of my first car so far

In October 2012, I bought my very first car. I hadn't planned on buying one but a Google colleague was leaving for a different job in Europe and was selling his car. The car didn't make it to Google Trader, the news was spread amongst a few people and when I knew of the price, I just had to buy it. It was a great deal. Nissan Sentra 2006 model with a new engine and shocks for a shockprised price of 9500 GhC. Yeap, I am one lucky SOB. This car has had quite the interesting and dramatic relationship with me. I want to share its story, the story of the #VimRide. I'm still looking for a cool name for my car, I'm taking suggestions. My friend Fiifi already has taken Vera for his, so that's eliminated. My friends don't like Vero or Victoria. If you win this car-naming contest, I'd take you for the ride of your life. Ask about me, I can really take you for the ride of your life ;-)

Judging from driving my mother's 4x4 many times, this Nissan Sentra doesn't chop as much petrol. So bizzie bee! I could care much less about fuel price hikes. But I do empathise with my fellow Ghanaians on the fuel prices we have in Ghana, I wish they could be nicer on our pockets. But seriously, taxis dey cost! Transportation used to poke many holes in my pocket but those costs are under control cos of the VimRide. When my car was at the mechanic for one reason or the other, I took trotros. Yes, I take trotros.  I am a man of the people, I love taking trotros. Kwame Nkrumah would have done the same thing, and I bet Nelson Mandela did too. So there :-)

If I didn't appreciate the traffic go-slow situation in Accra, I fully appreciate it now that I drive myself. At least, I could whatsapp and tweet all through the journeys in the Google car but I can't really do that when I am driving. Where's the voice-enabled whatsapp app? Where's the "speak and we'll summarize your speech in a tweet" app? Someone should please work on this at the next Startup Weekend event. Since I am always in a hurry, I am particularly annoyed by traffic. Hence, I have studied all journeys I take regularly and figured out the quickest less traffic routes to save time. I'm so calculating, I am inculcating angles, traffic patterns, etc into my drives. Booya! Booyaka! Oh shoot, wait, I just bumped into a car!

People always talk about how it's scary and difficult to drive in Accra. Cos inadequate road infrastructure, traffic and indiscipline do am. So I am guilty of cutting corners to get where I need to get to quicker. It's gotten me in a couple of accidents, but hey, I've learnt my lessons. No more jungle ball with the car :-) Yeah, I can see some of my family members and friends nodding their heads and smiling from ear to ear. If you come and say one more bad thing about my driving, you won't drive in my car you hear! Obiba JK. Just Kidding. I'd drive much better. A major thing happened in my life which has literally forced me to decide to do so. You can read about it here.

I've been caught by the police a number of times. Thankfully, Ghanaian police don't write tickets like their American counterparts do. I was once driving around Labone and I came up on the Morning Star junction and I thought, "Wait, my sister might be closing from work at Police hospital now, lemme pick her up". I whipped out my Nexus to call her and a policeman saw me. He told me to pack by the roadside. I couldn't even bring myself to say the F word. I was so sad and apologetic. The policeman sat in the car and made it known to me my offence. I told him I was in a hurry to get home. I asked him for a "spot fine". He had no idea what that was. "Spot Fine, Spot Fine!" (Isn't that what you people collect? Or should I say bribe?) Eventually, he accepted to take 5 GhC from me but he didn't get out of the car. He said he'd show me where to pass so I didn't face much traffic. He rode with me for a good 20 minutes and got down to join more policemen. We chatted heartily and I took his number. Ekyena bio. I've had 2 other police stoppages which didn't go as well but still cost me about 5 GhC each.

My good friend Paa Kwesi came up with this idea of "I Made Ghana Better Today" after we had done of our Google visits to an organization and given them a lot of free advice and consultation. One great way to showcase IMGBT is to give passengers free rides to save money and time spent waiting for public transport. I love doing this. I must have given rides to more than 23 people since I came to Ghana. I love giving people rides. Because when I am waiting for public transport, I wish someone would stop and give me a ride. I was running late for a meeting tonight but I stopped at a bus stop to pick up folks who were going near my destination. I made one or two calls and continued and waited for folks to board my car. 3 people joined, and the front seat was open. I waited for the last person to join before I set off. #IMGBT.

One good turn deserves another. I've had a couple of cases where people have helped me when my car wouldn't start cos I left the lights on etc, etc. It's been a storied experience having this car. I suspect it's going to continue but I hope for more #IMGBT stories and very very very few bad stories. So you're reading this as attentively as I am watching this Reading FA Cup versus Manchester United, I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Goal!!!!! And I'm not lying about this one, but ManUtd finally scored the very first goal of this game. I just knew it would happen when I started typing the previous sentence. Lemme finish this game as it has less than 23 minutes left. Be safe out there, folks. :-)

Oh wait, Manchester United just scored again. Maybe I should keep on writing hehe. Yeap, another blog post on the way. 
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