Interesting is a very... interesting word. I can see all of you rolling your eyes at me, and my teachers, I see y'all cursing my name but I dare you to find a word that encompasses all the meanings and nuance contained in that one word. But much as I respect teachers, I am not one and this is not a class. This is a collection of some of the things I heard yesterday, this list is by no means exhaustive, just a representation. With no further ado, in no particular order, here are a few interesting things I heard yesterday.
“Don't put your hand there, it'll get cut off” says a father to his daughter as the daughter attempted to touch the baggage claim carousel. The daughter must have been used to her father's hyperbole because she just giggled and sat on it, leading to said father nearly tearing out his hair while chasing her. And she was laughing the entire time. Awn, kids right?
So the second thing is also about the little girl and her father. While she stood quietly (for all of five minutes) in a corner, a very helpful older porter, Igbo, approached the man and asked in the language “Is your wife white? You're so lucky, your daughter will be pretty”. This was pretty interesting because a. how are the child's looks related to her mother's race? b. is it getting married or getting married to a white woman that makes the man lucky and c. how on earth did the old porter guess the man's tribe? So many questions, so little willingness to ask them. This life.
“So you want me to offer kola before I talk to you? Woman stand up from that carton, have you forgotten you have weight? See if you spoil my market by sitting on it ehn...” said a man to his female companion who must be related to him somehow (wife, sister, cousin, girlfriend or something) because what followed can only be described as a family disagreement in three languages - Igbo, English and Pidgin - (all of which I happen to understand) that was a true beauty to behold.
“It's Nigeria” I heard so many times I stopped keeping count. From when the air conditioning in the airport failed turning the terminal to a half-assed sauna to when a representative of the customs and immigration service held up the line for 20 minutes because she felt someone disrespected her to the luggage claim where chaos reigned to...sigh. No need to belabour the point.
“Igbo people everywhere” grumbled a man next to me in Igbo language. Then he went on a diatribe to explain how Nigerians but especially Igbo people and to a lesser extent Yoruba people are the most annoying people to ever walk God's earth all the while reiterating how he doesn't hate Igbo people, he is one after all. Bros, how na?
It's so great to be back home said absolutely no one on a plane full of Nigerians. All I heard were complaints and grumbling including the one that stuck in my mind, a man who parodied that old Nigeria 99 song only instead sang “E bata go n'obodo ojo”. So instead of singing, you've entered the land of good sang you've entered the land of ill. My country. Sigh.
“Wait, that's Nneka!” I squealed in a voice anyone who knew me when I was around the age of 10/11 would have recognized. Still, pretty unexpected to run into her and pretty cool too :D
“Blanjksluhfadowjfojwemfkiaherfuhakeflmahwefiwjrfoprpo”which is all I got from the 'conversation' I had with the man I sat next to in the airport shuttle. Not my fault, the gentleman was speaking a combination of accents American+British+Welsh+Australian+Arabian+Chinese+Yoruba and a little bit of airport thrown in. The really funny part is I spoke to the driver in English and Pidgin and this heavily accented young man spoke in fluent Yoruba and pidgin but would revert to the accented gibberish when talking to me. Like I said, interesting.
“Oh shit” said I to myself when I realized just where that beautiful pocket of rain I admired from the plane was. Because well, I did not come to Lagos to count bridge, I turned that those oh-so-helpful airport cab guys offering to take me home for 'just' 6,000 naira (like Alex would say, their daddies). So I took a bus and got to Yaba to discover that that lovely dark sky over a particular corner I saw earlier, was rain over my house and other houses in a 20 minute radius. Sigh. I got wet. And then the rain stopped just after a thoroughly soaked me entered my house. Just sigh.
So, entirely by accident (lie), I went entirely out of my way. And I ran into my favourite habib and fura guy. So I hear something interesting, not 'ah where have you been', not 'customer how na', which were all good things of course, but “fura dey” which meant that Habib yoghurt and fura were sure for the day. And all of you in the corner hating on my habib and fura, please allow me to stick my tongue out and say ntoi in every language in existence.
That's it for now. Should any other interesting thing occur, I'll be sure to inform you but until then, my habib and fura awaits.