It’s a few minutes to 4 p.m. I weave precariously through Accra’s ill-fated gridlock, en route to the South Korean Embassy. The decision on my visa application is ready, per the Embassy’s call over an hour ago. Ordinarily, this should be a leisurely twenty-minute ride, a far cry from this Friday’s madness. I called the Embassy to inform them I would likely arrive late.
In moments of great hurry, the red traffic light conspires against you. Or so it feels. How did a standard two-week process morph into a nine-week debacle? I am struck by the disconnect between the seamless process outlined online and the serpentine inefficiencies experienced.
At four minutes past 4 p.m., I arrived. A Ghanaian security guard, oozing with hostility, informs me, “They have closed. The lady is gone!” I walk up to a Korean gentleman. He echoes the words of the security guard. In the tense exchanges that ensue, he learns about my scheduled flight that is already a day late – a ticket change that will cost me $700 later.