Monday, September 3, 2007

Lagos my beloved Ex

So I’ve officially fallen out of love with Lagos.

It hasn’t changed one bit in 4 years. More people, more cars, more commercialism. After 10 hours on a drama-filled Chisco “luxury” bus coming from Abuja, (another story for another day,) I was not ready to face Lagos.

But thank God, we get through Ojota, Ikorodu and finally to Jibowu, my destination, and I notice passengers getting down. I look around and see we’re in the middle of traffic. Absolute standstill. He can’t really expect us to begin unloading our luggage in the middle of this? I sit back in my seat and decide to wait until he pulls into the motor park. A few minutes later, one of the bus passengers looks out the window and shouts,

“Driver, Jibowu dey! Where you dey go!”

To which the bus conductor replies: Maza-maza!!!!!!!!!!!!

MAZA WHERE? Never heard of the place, talk less of know where it is!

Three of us jump up and yell for him to stop. He obliges and pulls over beneath the Ojuelegba bridge. I drag my ghanamustgo and suitcase from the cargo hold and look around: Under a bridge. 9 p.m. Pitch black streets. No electricity anywhere. Insert this tiny girl with two big bags and yell: Will all the thieves out there, please come out?

Rather than admit fear, I give my passenger friend a puppy dog look that begs him not to leave me here by myself. He reads my mind and offers to stay with me until I get a taxi. PRAISE GOD! Real men still exist, I think. Until another one drives up and shatters this theory. Two taxis have already refused to go my way, and this third guy says I should pay 1,000 naira for a 10 minute drive.

600 naira I say. 800 naira he says. I fling out angry Yoruba and ask why he wants to cheat me. He says I should stay there by myself in the dark, dangerous area and starts driving away (His words, my people, His words). I storm away too. Utter wickedness! What happened to men who protect women and look out for their safety? (Mind you, I had one standing beside me which is why I could make all this shakara)

The driver stops, backs up his beat up car and chides me fighting over 50 naira as he loads my luggage into the boot.

Believe me I couldn’t have imagined a more authentic way to arrive in Lagos.