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Published: December 26th 2014
Lagoon CanoeBeware Nigeria has Friendly People!
Canoes with sails made of rice bags make their way into Lagos' harbours.
When one tells people that you will be visiting Nigeria, the first thoughts that are released from their mind are that of Ebola, kidnap, evil oil barons and bombs. And in a way they can be forgiven as CNN and BBC tend to overcook these topics. As it turns out all of these things are (or in the case of Ebola, were) things found in Nigeria (also true for the USA and Spain), but not by me.
My first week in Nigeria I was not kidnapped, but I did walk through a rather normal market known by many as quite perilous. And I have to say there was one woman who was menacingly wielding a banana. Unperturbed by this potential bandit dressed smartly as banana seller I walked on and as the sun went down I realised I had to get back to my accommodation for some dinner lest the scary night monsters were to crawl from their dark corners. Then the biggest danger of Lagos came, no not the machete waving maniacs looking for oil in your innards but traffic. Traffic can bore you to death in this city. It has huge swathes
of cars all tightly packed on round-a-bouts that allow no individual off or on, big long metal chains that trap the city from anyone escaping. On a side note it completely levels the playing field for punctuality - simply put - no one knows what time they will arrive, invariably it is late.
So instead of taking some sort of boring traffic orientated death like carbon monoxide poisoning, where robbers reputedly go from car to car collecting valuables in a rather dull non-swashbuckling way of handing over of ones possessions. I decided on the alternate Don't
of Lagos, walking at night. As I rounded a corner I was confronted by a deepest horror, overcome with fear, I turned tail and scampered away. What I saw... my imminent death had I taken the another step as the pavement abruptly became vertical and gave way to swampland. No doubt an infestation of deadly malaria and dengue fevered mosquitoes and a few Ebola amoeba's were creeping around looking for a satisfactory Oyibo to infect. I ran as fast as I could where I jumped into an unmarked taxi, (except for the mandatory football flag). And told him to step on it. As
I sat with Peter in the toyota waiting for the trail of cars to disperse somehow I realised two things. A evil taxi driver would have a hard time kidnapping you, unless of course they called the kidnappers, they then walked to where you were, pulled you out of the car and then walked you out of town. And secondly Peter doesn't have any phone credit. With this I was able to sigh with relief as to having averted the risk of death or kidnap three times already within the past hour.
Back at the hotel CNN was telling me that if I travel to the north, I will be sure to be kidnapped or blown up by crazy fundamentalists. Next stop Abuja and Nasawara...
Peter is a good man, so good it seems that when we eventually arrive at the hotel and having left my phone on charge in his car, came after me to give it back, whilst simultaneously we both forgot that I hadn't paid him anything for the 4hr - 10km trip. Luckily we had made a strong bond and I would be able to repay him the next day. Such friendship, trust and
gentlemanly behaviour is considered locally and internationally as one of the rarest commodities, one might say I was lucky to run across it in this den of the purest evil. I on the other hand would conjecture that I am not the luckiest man to travel but perhaps most people just want to get along day to day.
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