Published: July 3rd 2012June 1st 2012
One man calls and the others respond as they pull in synch with the waves
(Hi guys! Internet access, yippee! I've a couple days here in Yaounde, Cameroon to try and get everything up to date but uploading photos is slow. Apologies that this blog isn't split up into smaller digestible blogs but it's better than nothing - I hope!)
Rain overnight meant we packed away wet tents which is never fun (they're smelly!) but sometimes unavoidable. We were in the truck before the next shower hit and sat ready to pull down the sides when it did. It very quickly became hot in the truck but there wasn't much we could do (except take a spoonful of cement and harden ... up - something we say to each other quite often!). We were heading for the Ghanaian border which was exciting because we could speak English again(!) but also sad because we knew we were losing Brian, Ben and Steph in the coming fortnight (though we were also gaining three new passengers).
The trip was uneventful and we cleared the Cote d'Ivoire customs with ease before having to present ourselves to Ghana officials. We saw several females police officers for the first time whilst waiting in line for
Fish sizes are small, rubbish is plentiful
our 'interview' and photos. It was an easy process and after changing money, we pressed on towards Busua further down the coast.
After turning off the main road, the streets narrowed and electricity lines drooped across our path, slowing us even further. Hanging out each side of the truck with brooms, we held up the wires so we could pass without causing any mayhem. We were definitely the talk of the town that night though! The campsite is situated on the beach with three different monkeys kept as pets and tied to trees in separate areas which I still find sad but... Mmm. Listening to the waves, most were anticipating a swim the following day.
Slept great but the minute the sun came up, it was time to get out of the tent. Ben and Steph had spent the night in the hotel across the road and Justice and I decided to move across as well, primarily for air con and wi-fi (yes, I'm not ashamed to admit it). Sadly, the wi-fi was lacking and we ended up paying the guy probably the equivalent of a month's worth to buy more credit which got us
Kids using planks of wood to surf on
by but didn't allow me to upload photos like I planned. Happily deciding to ditch the technology for the waves, we changed and headed for the beach where most we already in the water. It was the warmest sea water I've ever been in; it was like a giant bath but with waves. The tide was out around midday but there were decent waves to body surf on or dive under if they broke before we could reach them. A few of us toyed with the idea of swimming to the island offshore that seemed less than a mile but in the end, a new found fear of sharks deterred me from an attempt. That and the fact that I'm nowhere near as fit as I was when I swam most mornings in New York!
Lunch was had a little further down the beach and we snacked on ginger plantains (yummy!) while waiting for our burrito or burger. Okay, so a burrito might not a local dish but it was delicious and made me happy.
A beach volleyball game was in full swing as we walked back and chilled in the room. The three guys who have been growing beards
Hide and seek
There's a boy somewhere under all that netting!
since the start of the trip finally shaved/trimmed to everyone's amusement (and their relief) and then it was time for an afternoon session in the ocean. With the tide in, the waves were bigger and more frequent and I spent more time ducking than riding and still managed to tumble and end up bruised. We tread water and floated on our backs and played ball with a bunch of local kids and then one by one drifted back to the showers to change and wait for dinner.
The next morning before we left we did a huge truck clean. Everything was pulled out from under the truck - crates of cups, bowls, cutlery, utensils, pots and pans - and scrubbed. Food was taken out and itemised so we knew what was available when shops were few and far between and people reorganised their bags and found 'lost' items. All kept an eye out for one of the monkeys who was no longer tied up (and I think we all secretly wondered if one of us untied him but the staff weren't fazed so it makes me think it happens regularly). The sun was high and
Bucket showers, clean toilets, a restaurant, bar and beach. What more could you want?
hot and we were all dripping with sweat by the time we finished so one final swim was a welcome relief before we set off for the drive to Kokrobite, south of Accra.
Big Milly's was full of locals, volunteers down for the weekend and travellers and pretty much all turned to stare when we rocked up. Cars parked on both sides of the road blocked our way until owners could be found so we jumped off to check out our home for the next week or so. An upstairs seating area overlooked a beach with fishing boats pulled up high on the sand and men fixing their nets... An undercover restaurant area was nearby filled with a lunchtime crowd... A circular bar sat amongst chairs and tables and tall palm trees dotted the area... Beyond a picket fence were cabins of various shapes, sizes and colours and amongst the shrubbery was a place for tents, already sparsely occupied. The reception area sat at the back, next to a well and a water tank with filtered water. It was definitely looking promising!
With the truck parked after much manoeuvring around the trees, six of us decided to splash out on
rooms and upgrade. I bunked with Denise and Brian, relishing the thought of sleeping with air conditioning AND a fan and having an en suite bathroom! Alas, the power kept cutting out and it took a while for the room to cool down so we stayed outside at the bar but we definitely slept well!
And that is where my blog kinda went kaput. A combination of laziness, exhaustion, sickness and a lot of fun meant I didn't write as often as I have been. I did keep notes though so here's a few highlights of the time we spent in Ghana, served with a decent sized dose of anecdotal rambling...
We spent a fairly lazy/relaxing eight days at Big Milly's, putting any lost weight back on with excellent food in the restaurant and losing years off my life on the road to The Barrier. It is the most potholed, bumpiest, bizarre road I've ever been on and I feel sorry for the locals who have to travel up and down it day in, day out. It takes 30 minutes from the turnoff at the main road to where we are on the coast and we saw more
than one car with a broken axle, left where it fell waiting for its owner to come and fix it. Cars swerve the holes and seem on track for a head on collision before swerving at the last minute. Trips to The Barrier (so called because there used to be a barrier there!) were necessary for the majority of food or decent internet or to get to Accra, making the road impossible to avoid. And when it was wet it was just... You had to laugh.
The handful of us that didn't already have Nigerian visas applied and received one (for a ridiculous amount of money, especially for the English but at the end of the day it's still cheaper than flying over!) before filling in more paperwork and handing our passports over for an Angolan one. Angola is notorious for refusing visas and reasons are varied. There's a huge black market trade for diamonds as well as several thousand land mines still littering the country after years of civil war. But, after a week and a half, they issued us visas! That means very little until I tell you that the last time 30 day visas were handed
Men who didn't behave were left in here to starve to death with no air or light. Heartbreaking.
out was in 2007 and that was for Suse's trip also! Since then, they've issued 5-7 day transit visas for a couple trucks but refused most. How cool is that!! Then on the same day that Suse picked them up, she had Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) issue within 3 hours - and theirs is also a somewhat difficult visa to obtain! We were suitably impressed and excited and have heard reports that we're becoming known as 'that Trans trip' owing to the fact that we were also the first truck to cross Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire. I realise I wouldn't know any different with another driver but I'm so happy things turned out the way they have. We waited a couple more days and also had Benin visas issued, Togo being able to be organised at the border
Other than trips into Accra for a bit of a wander, a few attempts at the internet cafe and some time in the rough waves (nowhere near as nice or safe as Busua) , I spent the first week hiding in the room. Then the day we were due to move on to Cape Coast (we were dropping our passports
at the Angolan embassy and taking off for the week before returning to Big Milly's), disaster struck. Steph (who hadn't been 100% for some time) and Brian had a miserable night and both went to the hospital for a check-up. Ben rang and confirmed that both had malaria. What a wake up call for the rest of us. Brian had to stay in overnight but Steph came back after several jabs, armed with pills. We delayed our departure and a few of us went up to visit Brian. Poor guy. It was a clean modern hospital but he was in a room on his own with nothing to do but stare at the four walls. We sat and joked that it was all planned so he wouldn't be able to leave us but had to leave him with reading material, still needing to go food shopping for dinner.
We spent two nights in Cape Coast which is where many slaves spent their last days on the continent before being shipped overseas. Cape Coast Castle was the biggest slaving base in the area built by the Swedes before being taken by the Danes, given to the Dutch and finally being
taken by the English in 1664. It is one of eleven major forts and castles that dot the coast and now form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The guided tour was obviously sad but informative. Men and women were kept separately in appalling conditions for up to three months. Unruly men were sent to the Cell which was pitch black with no air and left to starve to death at which point other slaves would come in to collect the bodies and tell others what they'd seen, ideally deterring further bad behaviour. Women who refused the guards' advances were also separated and treated worse until they agreed. Through 'the door of no return' they would go, loaded into smaller boats which ferried them out to slave ship where many didn't survive the journey across the Atlantic. Estimates are that for every one hundred slaves that arrived alive, fifty to one hundred died during capture, en route to the forts, awaiting shipment in the dungeons or at sea. Regarding the total number shipped from the Gold Coast (so called because of gold in the area) to the Americas, it is thought that around one million slaves were transported between 1600 and
The view of town from Cape Coast castle
the mid 19th century.
From Cape Coast we took taxis to the nearby Kakum National Park with its treetop walk. Some 30 metres above the ground are a series of rope bridges suspended between the large trees that grow there. Denise, not so eager to overcome her fear of heights but determined to do so all the same, was flanked by Toni and Ben who encouraged her all the way, as did we. It turns out I wasn't overly keen either, not because of the heights but because of the way the bridges swung and bounced. All you're really walking on is a ladder with a plank of wood (usually!) secured to it and a tonne of rope to hold onto. No one has ever fallen or been hurt but, there's always a first... Supposedly there is wildlife there but during the day all we saw were beautiful butterflies and heard the different calls of birds. A fun way to spend a couple hours.
We drove to Kumasi and spent two nights at a Presbyterian missionary, using it as a base to explore West Africa's largest market which was an easy walk away. The market was a huge
Male slaves' holding cell
Approximately 200 men would be kept in this room in the dark for up to three months before being shipping across the Atlantic
mass of organised chaos. As Suse has warned us, the crowd moves as one, making it sometimes difficult to stop if you want and requiring you to start edging over before you reach the stall. Britt, Denise, Maria and I went in together and bought jewellery, make up and new and second hand clothing. I picked up a couple new singlet tops for $US1-2 and a light long-sleeved shirt to wear in the evenings when the mozzies are out. I also picked up a new pair of sandals, paying more than I probably would've at the original store in London!
A couple of run-ins with stall owners (coupled with the heat) meant we lost patience and pulled out at lunchtime. A woman selling long skirts that I was interested in told me she was charging me American prices because I was American. At first I laughed it off and continued looking, settling on two different ones but she was asking too much. Bargaining didn't get me very far so I thanked her and walked away, stopping not far away to see if I was called back which is the norm. As expected she hissed (the local way to get someone's
attention) and I made my way back to state my price. I felt it was still well above what the locals would pay but she wouldn't budge, instead berating me for wasting her time. I think I've been pretty good at not getting too frustrated along the way (although it has happened a few times) but this was silly. She had no other customers except us standing in front of her stall which was maybe four feet wide and not much deeper. I tried once more but gave up and waved her away from me, bummed that it ended like that. After a similar incident with Denise (who had been looking at t-shirts; if she's asking for a specific size, how is it our fault when we don't buy clothes that don't fit?), we managed to get out - though via the meat section in the heat wasn't ideal and I was gagging with the smell (most sights don't faze me anymore!).
Ghana is very religious with most places not opening until midday (if at all) on Sundays after church services. Many shop names also incorporate their faith as the following examples prove...:
The Rock of Ages metal works
Guards could look down on the male slaves as they moved through the dark tunnels towards the boats
God is King motors
God is One Estate Agency
Rite Place Catering Services
Salvation Chop Bar ('chop' here means 'take' so it's a takeaway place)
One Life to Live corner shop
God is wonderful tea shop
God is Still With Us deli
Thank you Jesus beauty salon
Holy God driving school (I think this was my favourite!)
(I managed to actually sit and write again!)
The humidity in Ghana is proving to be the biggest obstacle so far on the trip. I know I keep going on about it but ugh. And out of the two and a bit weeks we've spent in the country so far, I've had an air conditioned room for ten nights. Screw toughing it out or my budget, I'm trying to preserve my sanity!
We pulled into Big Milly's around 2pm yesterday having left Kumasi at 06:11am (precisely. We were 11 minutes behind schedule!). Thankfully the traffic wasn't too chaotic at that time but we wouldn't have wanted to leave it much later. Roads were smooth and we coasted along, Talbot and I sitting up front with Suse. We passed the Ideal University (their motto: how could you possibly
fail?) and various other brilliantly named businesses and finally left the outskirts of town and found ourselves back amongst the shades of green I've really come to appreciate. Sadly, passing through one village we saw a man holding a live armadillo by the tail, offering it up to the passing traffic and skinned and roasted ones in another village. They're endangered and it is actually illegal to eat them but who would be out here policing such a thing? I would've liked to have bought it and let it go a few miles down the road but I knew it would be pointless; they'd most likely catch it again - if I could convince them to sell it to me live. I was really unhappy with the helplessness of the situation as I'm a bit of a sucker for the animals but, this is Africa and I'm a guest...
At The Barrier most people jumped off to get lunch, go to the internet cafe or bank but I continued on, back to Big Milly's and the warm welcome that greeted us. It was also the first time we met Japanese Yoshi and Danish Cecilia, the newest members of our
The biggest markets in West Africa. Crazy, hot fun
gang, joining us to Jordan and Cape Town respectively.
We'd been watching the clouds roll in as we drove and sure enough, only minutes after arrival, the winds gusted and it started pouring. Staff told us they'd received phone calls from Accra saying it was a huge storm and to be prepared. We grabbed drinks from the bar and sat in the restaurant for lunch with the majority of the guests, watching huge waves being blown sideways by the wind and palm trees lose their coconuts and branches. People came back from The Barrier with tales of trees falling only metres in front of their car and other vehicles careening off the road or into other cars. Not to mention the state the road was in after the amount of rain...
It was time to say goodbye to Brian. Lovely train driving Brian was heading back to Germany a week before his birthday and so we ordered a piece of cake from the restaurant and sang him happy birthday. We're hoping he'll rejoin the group on the east side so fingers crossed!
We've been using taxis a fair bit for runs into embassies and
the like and two drivers definitely stood out: Francis and Mattias. Childhood friends who have always done everything together, we more or less adopted them and vice versa. The previous week on a run back from town we drove past the football stadium and it just so happened that the second last game of the season was playing the following Sunday. So today, off we went to see Accra City Hearts play... The Mighty Jets? We were cheering for Hearts which happens to be Francis and Mattias' team and really didn't take notice of the others (though quietly, I preferred their green and white jerseys to Hearts' blue, red and yellow)! But first, I needed to change money. Using a man who came recommended, Francis confirmed the meeting point and we were surprised to find an older man on a bicycle who we followed through several streets in the heart of Accra before being waved over. He parked his bike and greeted several people sitting around before coming over to the car to do business. His rate was much better than the rate when we crossed the border and with everyone pleased, we headed for the stadium.
Steph and I
paid for Francis and Mattias, also shouting them a bottle of water and a FanIce (think I've mentioned it before but if not, it's ice cream in a small plastic pouch. There's also FanYogo (strawberry yoghurt) and FanChoco (chocolate milk) which is my current favourite) and giggling that it felt like a date with the roles reversed! With the seven of us seated, the game started soon after. The game drew 1-1 which upset the crowd who had been shouting at the players the whole match. It was great fun and we were already hoping to see the final match the following week.
A mid morning swim with Toby and Rhys was refreshing and we watched as men, women and children pulled in the fishing nets. It seemed a lot of work for very little reward. Overfishing is seemingly a huge problem in the area and the size of the fish supports this. Unlike the fish market in Nouakchott where they fished deep and the sizes were healthy, here I was looking at fish that were only inches long, possibly due to shallow fishing. I don't pretend to know much about the situation, it's comments
made by people who probably know more. Anyway.
Denise and Justice had left early in the morning with Brian and Steph who were going to get a check up at the hospital. When both came back positive for malaria, followed soon after by Nico with the same results, Suse suggested we all go and get tested for piece of mind as the facilities here were good and might be less so once we crossed the border. I had lunch (I ate the beef stir fry with rice for days on end, it was so good) and in fairness, dragged my feet. I didn't have any symptoms and although I felt 'off', I put it down to my eating wheat and possibly dehydration and exhaustion. But off I went, in my dress under the hot sun to the village where I picked up a shared taxi. Not even halfway down the road and seemingly out of nowhere, it started pouring and with the windows up, the taxi become very hot, very quickly. At some stage, my companion next to me struck up a conversation which followed the now usual way.
"What is your name?"
"Ah, it is a
Kakum national park
I'm not afraid of heights but I am afraid of swinging rope bridges!
biblical name. Very beautiful"
"You too are very beautiful. Are you married?"
"Yes. I'm going to the hospital to visit my husband". (This part of the conversation varies. Not sure why I stuck him in hospital)
"Ah. That is too bad. He is a lucky man. Can I have your phone number?"
"I don't have a phone"
"Ah. How about your e-mail address and I will write you"
"I don't think my husband will appreciate that"
And so it goes, usually on a daily occurrence. A couple of the others have handed over their local numbers (if only because after they leave the country they'll get a new SIM and number) and received text messages you would expect from someone you'd 'known' for longer than 12 minutes...
I sheltered at The Barrier until I decided it wasn't going to stop and I'd just have to move. I crossed the six lane freeway and took a cho cho (small minivan) and then crossed back when we reached the hospital. My dress was glued to me and the air conditioning freezing but I didn't have to wait long to find out I had malaria. Or actually, the lab
guy said I did and the pharmacist said I didn't. It was all a bit confusing but I left with meds in hand so it's safe to assume I did. What a blow. Seeing as I was on anti-malaria pills, tried to be diligent in covering up of an evening and sprayed my tent with fly spray before bed every night, what on earth was going to happen when we got into worse areas like Malawi and Uganda where there's cerebral malaria?? I was a very frustrated camper that night.
By now we had 13 cases of malaria (with another suspected case) out of 16. Pretty bad stats, hey. Only two cases were severe but it's still very much a shock. Some showed no symptoms at all so we assumed our anti-malaria pills were working to some degree. Thankfully, after we finish our rounds of antibiotics and get the all clear from another blood test, it will leave our system and give us yet another opportunity to get it again!
We headed north east to the Volta region and arrived in Akosombo mid afternoon. Situated on Lake Volta which is one of the
largest man-made lakes in the world, some of the guys stripped and jumped straight in, using the rope attached to the tree branch to swing out as far as possible. Jareb, Rhys and I eyed the other side of the lake which didn't seem far at all and took off, alternating between strokes and lying on our backs and kicking while we relaxed (somewhat!). Being a dammed lake, the undercurrent was pretty strong and changed directions meaning we had to keep an eye on our destination - and ignore the cries of 'shark! crocodile! hippopotamus!!' that were coming from our departure point. We made it across and waded through the seaweed to the sandy bank and discussed our return strategy. With that decision made and after a bit of exploring, we jumped back in. It felt good to be swimming (but would've been better with goggles!) and get a bit of exercise and earn dinner for once!
We had pitched tents under mango trees and spent the night listening to the thud of falling mangoes, awaking suddenly when one hit the tent or fell nearby and finding it amusing at first but that soon wore
The drive to Wli Falls where we were hoping to actually see a waterfall with water for the first time in Africa took us through scenic lush landscapes with rolling hills dotting the area. Workmen paving the way for new roads waved as we passed as did many people in the villages we drove through and we repaid in kind, several people sitting facing outwards to catch the breeze and stay cool.
At some stage, we saw the waterfall in the distance and cheered when we saw that water was indeed falling. There is a tourist information centre where you pay and pick up the mandatory guide who then led us on the easy 45 minute walk to the falls which were pretty impressive at around 90 metres. Bizarrely, hundreds of bats had made their home on the cliff face next to the falls and their calls could just be heard over the roar of the water. I didn't go in much more than ankle deep, content to sit on the rotting pier and take photos for people.
We were camping in the small area outside the tourist information area and as we put up tents, it started spitting.
Most taxis have a religious saying printed on their back window in either a local dialect or English
Dark ominous clouds rolled in from the mountains but I wrongly assumed I'd beat the downpour. I was saturated by the time it was up and I made my way over to the covered area where we were having dinner, squelching through mud and puddles feeling kinda sorry for myself.
It rained again overnight and in the morning but we got our tents down once it cleared and waited for the three who had left at 6am to climbed to the top of the waterfall. From there
We went to a nearby monkey sanctuary where we saw cute little Mona monkeys, even having the chance to feed them bananas. Their strong nimble fingers meant you had to hold onto it tight while they sat on your arm and peeled back the skin and broke off the fruit, their eyes darting around for any incoming competition who might steal their prize.
We ended up back at Akosombo in the same campsite so tomorrow's return drive to Kokrobite wouldn't be too long. As it was Ben and Steph's last night with us, we asked the staff where the best restaurant in town was and they directed us
Room with a view
View of the beach from the upstairs seating area at our campsite, Kokrobite
to a petrol station in town! It's not uncommon to find restaurants and the like within the grounds of a petrol station and sure enough, there were chairs and tables set up in front of a band doing their sound check. Happy for the change of scenery, we sat and waited for the menu Suse had requested and looked on in interest when a piece of paper the size of her palm was handed to her. On it were our options: chicken, gizzards, fufu (made from cassava - yuck) and tilapia, rice or jollof rice (spicy vegetable rice). Hmm. Most saw the funny side of it and giggled but wanting something as little more...exotic, we ended up back at the campsite eating steak and chips in their restaurant. Impromptu speeches followed, coupled with much laughter and some tears as we reminisced about the previous ten weeks. I'm more or less a quarter of the way through the trip and having done so much already, knew there was sooo much more to come. Here's to the next ten weeks to Cape Town!
Some managed to get a quick swim in before we made for Accra, in
search of what can only be described as one of the weirdest things I've ever heard (maybe I haven't heard much). Custom made coffins might not be the most unusual idea, but what if the coffin was shaped and painted like a fish? Or a camera? Or a giant corn cob even?! It seems they're unique to Ghana and we met a man who carved these works of art and whose team was currently working on a Bible (with the coffin opening as if it were a book) and putting the finishing touches on a semi-trailer truck, complete with battery, steering wheel, handbrake and windscreen wipers. This obviously led to discussions about what each of us would choose to be buried in but seemingly no matter what it is, they can do it. So if you want your final send-off to be in a bottle of Coke or a steam train or your favourite animal, let me know and I'll tell you how to get there....!
Today was also the day I found out I was malaria free once again, yippee! Unfortunately not all of us got the result we were looking for but at least they knew what they
An upgrade, that's what you could want!
needed to do next.
It's Justice's birthday today and there was a fun-filled day (and night!) ahead of us! While the majority of the group took off around midday for Labardi beach, Nico, Talbot, Denise and I headed back to the stadium to see Hearts vs Arsenal (a local team but with the English Arsenal uniforms!.) We were hoping for a good game as Hearts wanted to end the season in the top four and at the same time, Arsenal would be relegated if they lost. Sadly they did, going down 4-0 but it was a fun game all the same. Then it was into a taxi and onto the beach. Labardi beach is a stretch of beach lined with bars, restaurants and shops and it was filled with locals and the occasional group of tourists. Once we got through the queue to get in, we followed clear directions and found everyone easily enough, settling into a deck chair and just watching. There were prostitutes, transvestites, performers and people selling their wares, not to mention the crowds who were riding horses in the shallows, smoking sheesha, dancing, drinking and preening. After the sun went down
Only in Africa?!
Pigs going for a late afternoon trot along the beach!
and we'd eaten more than enough meat skewers and finished our drinks, we beat the crowds for taxis and headed to a bar. The rest of the night...well, everyone was well behaved and we'll leave it at that!
I didn't realise it was raining until the power went out at 06:45. Once the a/c and fan stopped (the fan has been noisy ever since I hung Denise's skirt off it to dry...) I could hear people pulling down their tents in the drizzle. By the time I dragged myself up and out fifteen minutes later to start making breakfast, the rain had set in and soon puddles were forming.
We were leaving for Togo today. The past few days had been even lazier than usual, most running short on cedi (Ghana's currency) and realising nowhere else would we travel 30 minutes in each direction to an internet cafe - or I did anyway!
Monday we'd said goodbye to Ben and Steph and it became more apparent today as we prepared to leave. We waited out the rain, ordering breakfast in the restaurant or attempting to cook our own near the bar on the gas
burner. Thankfully once it stopped, the puddles disappeared quickly and we were on our way to Togo only three hours later than planned!
And that is Ghana! It could've been better/longer/different if I'd written every day as I had been previously but I was off having too much fun! I will leave you with some quotes:
Random guy at taxi window to me (in a language I didn't understand): "Are you an exotic dancer?" Me: "No, I'm an Australian". Obviously I was totally off the mark!
"The police at the border, they are nincompoops" - Police at a checkpoint who told Suse her steering wheel is on the wrong side of the truck and that she shouldn't be driving in Ghana. Their response came when Suse said the border police obviously saw and still let her in.
At a different checkpoint:
Policeman: "where is the chauffeur?"
Suse: "I am the chauffeur".
Policeman: "where is the mechanic?"
Suse: "I am the mechanic"
Policeman: "but, you are a woman!!"
Suse: "yes, yes I am. Thank you for noticing"
There are more photos below