“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.” ― Bill Watterson
I should have taken the ride from Abeokuta as an omen of what was to follow in Lagos. To say it was rough would be an understatement. The driver sped whenever he had a clear run on the road so for the first hour we were holding on for our dear lives, he came off road when confronted with traffic driving on the bumpy grass and knocking us out of our seats at times. If that was not bad enough he refused to turn on the AC. I arrived dizzy and nauseated, but it did not diminish my excitement. I looked forward to the hustle and bustle, the noise, the colour and general mayhem that you get in major cities and to seeing parts of the city that I had read and heard so much about. The problems started at the hotel where they would not accept my foreign credit card. I had enough cash to pay for the two nights but it was in dollars and the rate that they were offering me was terrible. Earl my a friend’s cousin who was going to be my guide, minder and driver for the three days very kindly agreed to use his card and for me to refund him later. Having settled in and rested for a bit we decided to go and grab a bite.
We went to a local restaurant that had food that looked fine to me but after five minutes waiting for the plantain to be fried Earl decided that he was not happy with the selection of food and that we should go elsewhere. I was quite happy with the restaurant because it had a wide selection of vegetables but I reluctantly agreed to leave, a very big mistake as I later found out. The place we ended up in although had more food, did not have any vegetables I was not pleased.
Over lunch I told Earl the things I wanted to do and see in Lagos, he did not comment much, I assumed that he was still trying to recover from the jetlag and that he would get as excited as I was in the evening. Hours later as I was trying to shower in preparation for the evening outing there was no hot water. I called reception to report the issue, it took them thirty minutes and two more phone calls to send someone up. When he came his suggestion was to leave the water running for a while, it would warm up. Five minutes later the water was still cold so I called again and this time the guy asked if he could boil water and send it to me in a bucket instead, I was shocked. I was paying over a hundred dollars a night and they wanted to send me hot water in a bucket? I told them in no uncertain terms that I expected the problem to be fixed in half an hour or they move me to a room where the shower worked. The plumber who came up ten minutes later pointed out that there was an issue with the plumbing and not the hot water. The cold water tap operated the hot water and the hot water tap cold water. Imagine that?
After all of that was sorted out I climbed into the bath and before I could get my second foot in I slipped and fell hard onto the floor ending up flat on my back with my legs in the air. My head narrowly missed the marble sink which, if it had not cracked my head open, would certainly have left me concussed. Dazed and in some pain it took me a few minutes to pull myself together and try again. Half an hour later, I was ready and we set off for what I thought was a bar on the Island, I was not about to let anything get in the way of my fun night out.
As we drove Earl pointed out different places that he thought would be of interest, some from the list I had earlier given him. The bridge, I cannot remember which one of the three, running from the mainland to the Island was very impressive, as were the hotels, flats, hotels and everything else on the Island. I had seen images of Lagos on TV and knew that there were parts that were very affluent but I was still pleasantly surprised.
After driving around for an hour with Earl pointing out different buildings and establishments and asking me to take a picture of each, including Christmas decorations at a roundabout. I thought that perhaps we were going back to a bar on the mainland and so did not say anything. Ten minutes later Earl started falling asleep on the wheel, not wanting to die just yet, I persuaded him to pull up and rest. Whilst he snored, I stared at the traffic, after fifteen minutes I had seen enough so I woke him up and asked if we could continue. By then my spirits had dropped and I was not in a party mood any more so I was relieved when he drove me back to the hotel. I went to bed hoping for a better tomorrow.