Flunky's Taxi Ride in the Ghanaian Twilight

I still remember that taxi ride in Ghana clearly. It was around 8-9pm at night. We had dismissed our driver for the day when my boss got a call from a business contact to meet for drinks at a hip new club across town. So we hopped into a local taxi that looked like it had seen better days in the last century. 

It was my first time stepping out of the safe confines of my hotel at night, and I was amazed at how the taxi navigated around the multiple potholes (some bigger than the length of the car) of the quiet unlit roads. 

I noticed our taxi slow down and through the darkness, I could make out a small shack among the tress by the side of the road. And a man with a large gun strapped across his body walked out towards our taxi as we came to a stop. 

I had watched enough movies and TV shows to have my blood turn cold with fear in that instant. Keenly aware that as a small young Chinese girl, I would be the weakest, easiest prey if anything went awry. 

Saying a prayer, I looked anxiously over at my boss, who was seated calmly as if we were just going through a car wash. 

The taxi driver wound his window down and exchanged some quick words which I did not understand with the man with the gun. The man with the gun then proceeded to peer through the rear windows at my boss and I. I wasn't sure where to look- keep looking ahead, or turn to him and smile? How could I hide my fear and not look suspicious? I was pretty sure he could hear my pounding heart.

After too many seconds of his eyes piercing through my soul, he stood up and waved my driver off. 

I heaved a sigh of relief as my heart rate began to stabilize. And my boss turned to me to say something about this being a police roadblock which was routine in this part of the world. 

I was glad that was the first and last such "routine" roadblock I had to experience. My little flunky heart wouldn't have been able to bear it. 

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